International Antarctic Center
Today, there is another place to learn about Antarctica: the International Antarctic Center. It is a shared facility among the New
Zealanders, the US, and the Italians. Among other things, the Center has a wonderful experience to share with visitors—a sojourn in the Antarctic Storm Room. Upon entering this large space and after having donned your loaned thick overcoat, you see that you are walking on real snow and that it feels pretty chilly. However, the announcer soon tells you to prepare for a simulated Ross Sea Base blizzard where the wind will howl deafeningly and the temperature will drop precipitately.
Sure enough, it doesn’t take long before you cannot hear anyone standing right next to you at your ear and you can watch the Mercury drop in the large thermometer over the escape door. Wind speed is also calculated for you so that you know that though the temperature drops on to 15 below, with wind chill, the actual feeling of cold approaches 35 below. Just as you are beginning to wonder if they have forgotten that folks are in this area, the wind begins to slow, the sound lowers, and the temperature rises back to a merely chilly 32 degrees. It feels really good to leave that experience behind but you gain greater respect for the men and women who have braved Antarctic explorations and who work on the continent today. In a rather
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