The 2014-2015 field season is about to begin for the Cold Dirt team—we’re sitting in Sydney at the moment, waiting for our flight to Christchurch, New Zealand, and then down to McMurdo Station on Tuesday.
Before I get into the science next post, though, I wanted to mention that this is a special field season for me. I first was sent to Antarctica as a graduate student in 2004 to work as a field assistant for Dr. David Marchant at Boston University. I was bit by the Antarctic science bug that year, and have been back every year (but one) since then. Ten years is a long time to be working in one place, but the natural laboratory of Antarctica really is a place like no other. It’s a place where we can learn about the ancient past or the rapidly-changing present. It’s a landscape that transports us to other planets and distant moons. But most importantly, even though it is often out of sight and out of mind, Antarctica is a keystone in Earth’s climate system, its oceans, and its geology. Research in this far away place gives us a chance to take the Earth’s pulse and to understand our place in it better.