Australia has three research stations in Antarctica. Because Antarctica is an icy wasteland more or less unfit for human habitation, from time to time, Australia sends planes full of supplies to the scientists holed up there. The planes mainly use one runway, carved into the ice, for takeoff and landing. But now, that runway is melting.
Instead of the 20 flights a season predicted by the Australian Antarctic Division before the runway opened, just two landed in the 2010/11 season with the runway closed from December to February due to melt.
Four landed last season and six are planned this year.
Don’t worry: If the planes don’t land, the Australian scientists won’t be stuck without supplies in a frozen (if slowly thawing) expanse of nothingness. There’s a ship that makes the journey, too, although it takes two weeks, while the plane requires only 4.5 hours to reach the stations. But, ironically:
While the runway is suffering from a lack of ice, Australia’s Antarctic supply ship, the Aurora Australis, is currently stuck some 200 nautical miles from the Casey station because there is too much ice.
“What’s happened is that a northerly (wind) has blown ice against the ship,” Fleming said.
Evidently global warming is just trying to fuck with us.
- Australia's Antarctic Runway Is Melting, Discovery News
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