Mock 2007 Pre-release Session 9

Imagine you are advising a student expedition on what to take to survive in our extreme environment, what items would you suggest they need and how would they help with the climate and landscape?

Some ideas to consider

  • Clothing. Students would need appropriate clothing to cope with the low temperatures, lots of thin layers will be better than one thick layer, because the air can circulate and retain heat. If students become warm, they can strip layers, highly important, because if the temperature drops the sweat can freeze, lowering the body temperature. Students will also need warm gloves and boots. This is highly important because the extremities of the body are first to suffer from frostbite, as blood vessels contract to retain heat near the body’s major organs. Remember students will need more clothing as they move into the continent, as the relief rises and the influence of the sea declines (Continentality) . Students will also need a windproof jacket, to keep out the strong katabatic winds, remember the temperatures will effectively drop with strong winds, known as wind chill. Much heat is lost from the head, so a good hat is needed. The face should also be covered with a scarf, to avoid frost nip on the face.
  • Goggles. To avoid snow blindness caused by the sun reflecting off the ice and also to stop ice crystals damaging the eyes during blizzards.
  • Vaseline. The air in Antarctica is very dry, so lips and skin can dehydrate quickly, leaving it sore and cracked.
  • Travelling equipment. If students are travelling, skis and a sledge would be useful, especially to transport supplies, though these would not be particularly useful if they come across sustrugi. Skis may also offer some protection against crevasses, but students should also take deadmen (strong pegs) and ice axes in case they get into trouble.
  • Food. If students intend to stay on the continent for an extended period of time they will need a high calorie diet, the cold conditions and high relief make any physical activity highly exhausting. Students should make sure the diet is balanced and contains they necessary vitamins, otherwise over extended periods malnutrition and scurvy may occur. Students would want to take dehydrated food, this will take up less space and be lighter. Students should also ration their food carefully, allowing for emergencies. In the interior, there is no chance of finding food due to the lack of fauna and flora.
  • Fuel. To keep warm, heat food and melt ice needed for water. Dehydration is a huge issue in Antarctica.
  • GPS. Blizzards and white outs would be particularly hard to navigate in, but it is best to sit these out.Three would be useful, just in case of a malfunction. A traditional compass and sexton would also be useful, in case technology fails.
  • Trent. (next to the city ground)Obviously to sleep in, but will also protect against exposure during poor weather.
  • Satellite Telephone. In case of emergencies, but rescue attempts would be extremely difficult due geographical isolation.

Why would it be important that the student expedition considers their impact on the extreme environment?

Some ideas to consider, the students would want to make their visit as sustainable as possible.

  • If the students travel by ship, they may be encouraging the transfer of invasive species, those that are alien to the area, into the seas around Antarctica. Remember because of the Polar front (Antarctica convergence) the seas around the continent are home to a unique variety of fauna, which may not be able to compete with any alien species.
  • Any journey will also contribute carbon to the atmosphere, made even worse by flying, students may wish to offset their carbon emissions by planting trees or donating to a charity that manages sustainable forests or invests in sustainable energy alternatives. Students may be directly contributing to the climate change which will impact on Antarctica.
  • Students if travelling to the Antarctic Peninsula would have to tread carefully, so as not to trample rare species of moss and lichen.
  • Any viewing of penguins and seals on the Antarctic Peninsula would have to be from a distance to avoid disturbing them or disrupting their mating patterns. If is also highly important not to try and feed them, for your own safety as well as the animals!
  • Under the Antarctic Treaty all human waste must be removed from the continent. Students need to make sure they do not drop any litter or leave behind cartons/containers that could be potentially dangerous to the fauna of the area.
  • Students should not take away geological or biological rocks samples, it’s the law.
  • When visiting cultural heritage, such as Scott’s camp at Ross Island, it is important to try and not damage it, the harsh conditions of the environment make conservation very difficult. You should not also attempt to take a souvenir!

Anything I’ve missed here?

There ends the pre-release. Good luck. 🙂

This entry was posted in 2007 Mock Prep, Yr11. Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

2 Comments

  1. Alan Parkinson
    Posted November 25, 2007 at 10:24 pm | Permalink

    I know you’re near Nottingham, but is sleeping in the Trent really advisable ? 😉

  2. Posted November 26, 2007 at 7:38 pm | Permalink

    Classical Cassidy, I’m leaving that to see how many exams it gets in…. 🙂

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