March 20, 2016 marked the first day of Spring and we expect not only to shed layers of clothing but to see the flowers begin to bloom again as the promise of warmer days has arrived.
For the researchers at the South Pole Atmospheric Baseline Observatory run by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) under the United States (U.S.) Department of Commerce, however, March 20 marked the last sunset they'll see for the next six months.
This is because the Austral Autumn has just begun for the Southern Hemisphere where it is practically night for half the year. To be more specific, the last sunset happens in March and the sun will finally rise again in September. The moon will serve as the only source of natural light from April to August.
"It's the coldest, driest, flattest place you can imagine," NOAA Corps Lieutenant Jessie Milton said.
Still, they seem to enjoy the unobstructed view of the atmosphere and sunset that only a few can experience. They have, however, shared their view with the South Pole Live Camera.
It would seem crazy that anyone would want expose themselves to the harsh winters of Antarctica, which could get extremely cold that researchers are usually marooned in the observatory until late October. However researchers in the clean air observatory believe that the work they do to track and measure Ozone depletion is instrumental.
If you are wondering what exactly the researchers are trying to do at the observatory, they are trying to determine the extent of damage in the ozone layer as an effect of all the pollution and Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) that damage the Earth's protective layer. Watch the video explanation below:
The Antarctic Ozone Hole from Patrick Cullis on Vimeo.
Despite the inhospitable conditions they have to settle in when researchers reside in the observatory, their records have shown that even the Ozone layer above the cleanest air on Earth gets damaged because of pollution from thousands of miles away.
"The night is dark and full of terrors" but the researchers would argue that what is more terrifying is what humans have done to the Earth's atmosphere.