architecture Hugh Broughton Architects - Hal
Researchers at the station think record low tempuratures on Sunday have followed the power outage, reaching almost -68 degrees Fahrenheit. (Forgemind ArchiMedia/Flickr)

Surviving 19 Hours Without Power in Antarctica

Research station loses heat in the dead of winter

architecture Hugh Broughton Architects - Hal

A temperature of 67 degrees Fahrenheit sounds great right about now, but 13 people at the Halley Research Station in Antarctica were dealing with a temperature of negative 67 degrees, without any power all day on July 30. Although they’ve regained some power and heat after the “major technical issue” that shut everything down, the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) said in a statement yesterday that “the staff are having to live and work in extremely difficult conditions.” In fact, they’re making preparations to evacuate to secondary buildings in case it happens again.

Usually, researchers there are busy studying weather and pollution in relation to the upper atmosphere, but all science at the station has stopped. BAS spokesperson Linda Capper told Mashable that although power isn’t running at full capacity, all residents of Halley Station are in good health, including the doctor on staff. 

Because this happened in the dead of the Antarctic winter, with temperatures nearing what researchers think are record lows, evacuating the staff just isn’t possible for at least a few months. Still, the staff expressed good spirits while everyone works to get things in order. 

As Capper said, “It’s looking good, but it’s still quite early days.” Let’s hope things keep warming up at the station. If you want to follow how the team is doing firsthand, an engineer (@AntAntarctic) and doctor (@AntarcticDoc) working at the station have been tweeting out their experiences (and some cricket news—hopefully a sign that things aren’t too dire).

From Outside Magazine, April/May 2021
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Lead Photo: Forgemind ArchiMedia/Flickr