On Wednesday the 5th of December, we linked up with a researcher named Henri who works on the Princess Elizabeth research station in Antarctica. It was a great experience to be able to ask questions live from someone at the bottom of the world in a remarkable place. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity.
After we had finished waving to Henri and got used to seeing ourselves reflected back in the Skype call we got down to some key geography and took it in turns to ask some grilling questions about this fragile continent.
We learnt a lot of new things about how Henri lived in Antarctica by asking him questions like ‘how the station stored their energy’ or ‘how they used the toilet’- turns out they bag it up and ship it to South Africa. We found out that their source of energy runs from wind turbines and solar panels and most of the time its either windy or sunny so they never really run out of energy. Wind speeds can hit 100+mph and it is light 24hours a day when Henri is there.
The station get clean water by melting snow and purifying it- Henri said it is some of the cleanest water on the planet. But, sadly there are micro-plastics in Antarctica and this shows that human activity really effects the world- many of Henri’s colleagues collect micro-plastics in the water, air and snow around Antarctica. Henri also said he has seen a big change in the climate of Antarctica- the coastal ice sheets are not as thick and take longer and longer to freeze each year- Henri said this is getting worse each year and the temperatures in Antarctica can sometimes hit +13degrees!!!!
Year 7 asked questions for around 30minutes before Henri had to go and do some more research- he will be in Antarctica until next March but don’t worry- he said the Christmas dinner in Antarctica is just as good as home and he’ll pull a cracker for us on the big day.
Thank you Henri!