Leaving work on Tuesday at 15:25, we finally arrived in Rio Grande on Thursday at 13:00. That translates to roughly 45 hours of travelling time…

Leaving work on Tuesday at 15:25, we finally arrived in Rio Grande on Thursday at 13:00. That translates to roughly 45 hours of travelling time… Three hours train ride, 13hrs direct flight from Frankfurt to Buenos Aires, 5.25hrs transit time, 3.5hrs flight to Ushuaia, 5hrs jetlag followed by spending the night as we were too tired to drive the final 5hrs to our final destination…. Rio Grande. As always, things could have been worse, as the flight was overbooked, some of us (including me) had no seats. Luckily there was space on a higher class, and we got upgraded to Premium Economy. So for those who have wondered (like me); what’s the difference between economy and premium economy flight class… It is very much the same, just more legroom, slightly wider seats and EUR 200 if you have to pay the upgrade yourself!

Nevertheless, there is a turmoil of emotions upon arrival. What is the cause of these conflicting emotions you might wonder? Well, it’s a combined feeling following two years of intense planning, finally arriving at your ‘home’ for the next three months, the magnificent picturesque views entering Ushuaia offset by the realization that you are in the small village 400km away, one of the most untouristic, dull places in Patagonia… Well, it seems like fate would have us focus on science as opposed to sightseeing.

Back to science… 😉 We have dreaded this, but seems like an exceptionally rare event is unfolding within our study site. A sudden stratospheric warming! Although frequent in the Northern Hemisphere, this has happened only once in the Southern Hemisphere… Ever! For everyone not familiar with sudden stratospheric warmings, this greatly endangers our first phase campaign goal. So in short, we are on a tight schedule to obtain the data we need, with no room for error. Within a couple of days, the vortex can either break down completely or restrengthen… As always, there are complicating matters, our container is stuck in port as there is no crane to unload a 6ton container and the plane is only expected to arrive on Monday, whereafter the pilots need a rest day (according to regulations). So first proper science can only begin on Wednesday!

Anycase, while we follow the situation, do some planning, stress and freak out, you can have a nice relaxing look at our amazing photos from Ushuaia… (Thanks to Peter Preusse and Lukas Krasauskas for the photos)

About Markus Geldenhuys

Markus Geldenhuys was a PhD student at the Institute for Energy and Climate (IEK-7, Stratosphere) and a HITEC fellow. During his PhD, he was working on gravity waves observed by the infrared spectrometer GLORIA. He was responsible for forecasting, flight planning and data processing during the SOUTHTRAC Campaign.

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