The Weather

The weather rarely achieves fame, yet occasionally it sways the course of History, perhaps no more so than the Russian winter of 1942-43. At this time, during the siege of Stalingrad, daily temperatures reached -35C. Hitler had anticipated a quicker conclusion to his campaign in the East and, as a consequence, his troops were ill prepared for such a climate. As the harsh winter set in the German army suffered heavily. The Volga then froze over, allowing the better equipped Red Army to more readily re-supply it’s beleagued city. Eventually, the siege of Stalingrad was broken and on February 2nd 1943 the German forces surrended.

I apologise for the history lesson but I find it useful to appreciate the scale of the temperature I will have to face on the Antarctic continent. During the summer, at McMurdo base, near the edge of the continent, the temperature varies between -4C and -10C. As one proceeds inland, up onto the polar plateau, the temperature steadily drops to a somewhat chilly -30C to -40C at the South Pole. These are average temperatures, if you factor in the odd blizzard, of which there are many, and the accompanying wind chill then it gets a little more interesting.

So knowing that I will soon be spending 60 days in a climate comparable to a famous Russian winter is, well, making me a little apprehensive…which is probably a good thing to be honest as I doubt there is any room for complacency on this trip!

For a quick look at the weather at the South Pole pop over to here.

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