Monday, April 1, 2013

Frozen Desert

Antarctic is the largest desert in the world. It gets, on average, 6.5" of precipitation per year. At the South Pole it only gets 2 inches per year. The driest place on earth is the dry valleys of Antarctica which get no precipitation. These valleys are the closest thing on earth to Mars. My father's friend died here while doing research to detect life on Mars.The unique conditions in the Dry Valleys are caused, in part, by katabatic winds; these occur when cold, dense air is pulled downhill by the force of gravity. The winds can reach speeds of 200 mph evaporating all water, ice and snow.
Image Credit: NASA/GSFC/METI/ERSDAC/JAROS, and U.S./Japan ASTER Science Team

In a huge twist of irony, the ice of Antarctica has 70% of the worlds fresh water. This will be far different from the hot desert  trips on the White Rim and Kokopelli Trails. On those trips we had to bring all the water we would use with us. On the South Pole Epic we will melt ice to get the water we need.

No comments:

Post a Comment