Dr. Moultrie is currently in Antarctica representing UTMB. She recently discussed her mission there:
I am privileged to have been brought down for a one-month stint as the lead physician for McMurdo Station, Antarctica. The station is set up to allow research on the continent. There are projects ongoing that include looking at huge ice cores to document weather and volcanic activity from thousands of years ago. There are teams here studying seals and Penguins. There is an extremely large project that is monitoring neutrinos traveling through the earth as this has something to do with the creation of all matter. There is a team here studying the life forms from the very smallest to the very largest. There are teams here studying weather and global warming…..all sorts of things are going on.
Some of these teams spend months living in tents on the ice. This is really astounding to me. They call in once a day to tell Ops that they are ok and it has to be whenever the satellite that allows them communication is passing over, so it might be at 2 am every day.
McMurdo exists as a small little town with an electric plant, a sewage plant, food service, fire service, medical, etc. We in medical also serve a couple of research vessels off the coast and the Kiwi station up the road. There are 700+ people here during the Austral summer (our winter in Houston) and about 120 here during their winter. We are about to have our last sunset this weekend for the year. It will then be light 24 hours a day until some time in February. Currently, there is only a little twilight here in the wee hours of the morning.
Below is a picture of Mt. Erebus, taken from just up the road. It is the southern-most active volcano in the world. You can see the steam coming from the top.
The temperature there is about -9.4 degrees Fahrenheit with a wind chill of -26.8. It is sunny and not too windy, so it is tolerable, but we dress for the weather. We wear Extreme Cold Weather gear that was issued in New Zealand. The coats are called ‘Big Red’. The motto here is “it’s a harsh continent’. People say this for whatever happens. You stub your toe and somebody says, “It’s a harsh continent.”