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Author: Mark Brandon

Other Voices

Updated Tuesday, 3rd April 2007

Mark introduces some of his colleagues.

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Although I haven't talked about anyone else on the ship, of course I am not alone! One of the ironies of working in Antarctica is that most people imagine you are going to be lonely. The reality is that most people work either on bases or research ships, and the real problem is that you are in close proximity to people all the time. Consequently to get on in this environment you need to be really relaxed and calm. Now forty or so people with relaxed attitudes doesn't make for good Big Brother type television. We don't argue, shout at each other or anything like that, we just get the job done. And of course if you have gone to the trouble of being away from home and leaving your family and friends, then you may as well try and enjoy yourself to make it easier.

Now personally I can't remember how many times I have been south but its probably about 20 times in total (so far!), and that means I have a certain view of the things I am seeing and experiencing. I thought it would be in interesting for you to read how people can feel on their first visit to work in Antarctica. Luckily there are three other scientists keeping blogs on this trip and all of them are well worth a visit (if only because they are all better photographers than me!).

First there are two PhD students from the University of East Anglia - Geli, and Karel. Geli is German and has written her blog in two languages, and Karel is Mexican so you need Spanish to read the text - but can enjoy the brilliant photos. And finally there is Dr Paul, a research scientist at BAS. Enjoy!

Now we are back into the satellite footprint and able to read the news I find I have missed a terrible Channel 4 TV program that apparently didn't bear any resemblence to reality and was about global warming being a "swindle". It must have been truly terrible because apart from the usual suspects you would expect to criticize a program like that such as The Guardian, The Independent and the excellent www site - the British Antarctic Survey - a UK Government Research Lab has issued a statement saying in very polite language that Channel 4 should be ashamed.

With so many climate scientists on the ship we have talked a lot about ethics and honesty and what we are doing studying the climate. My take is that as a scientist you only really have your integrity and without honesty a scientist is nothing.

I find it dissapointing because my University has gone to great lengths with the BBC to make high quality award winning TV programmes about climate change and why we should act. Whilst I doubt the program makers care about what they have done - they really really should.

Last nights blizzard has got worse during the day and at the moment we are holding our position in a big sea and strong winds waiting to make more measurements. It's not so confortable with the ship rolling about 15 degrees either side of vertical and it doesnt make sleeping easy, but it should be over in a day or two.


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