Antarctica

The Shocking Truth

Antarctica, surprisingly, is a very dry climate. In fact, it is the coldest and driest place on Earth. The Dry Valleys (pictured below) is THE driest place. Yup, drier than Death Valley or Saudi Arabia or the Sahara.
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dry valleys
Photo credit: whoever posted this on the public folder on the intranet on base.
The continent is a polar desert and the humidity at the South Pole is about 0.03% according to Google. I knew one impact of this would mean that my skin might have a hard time adjusting. Although, interestingly, I think my hands were drier last year working outside in Colorado than they have been here so far. (This is no longer true… RIP un-cracked skin.)
One thing I was not expecting, however, about the dry climate was that I was going to get shocked every time I touched metal or another person.
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shock
Photo credit: Google
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Because of the lack of humidity, one can easily build up static electricity walking around here. Especially if one is a foot-shuffler, like myself.
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The first week I kept forgetting that I was going to shock myself every time I touched a doorknob and each time I surprised myself and cursed loudly. I now know to expect it and my way of dealing with it is to slap whatever it is quickly before I touch it. Some people have advised wearing gloves or using the back of my hand, but I’ve gotten shocked through gloves and the shock is still almost as painful on the back of my hand as it is on the front. As I’m posting this, not more than 5 minutes ago I got a pretty nasty shock from my friend who just barely grazed my finger.
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I’ve been considering trying to macgyver a little grounding unit that I can carry around with me. But I’ve been considering that for close to two three weeks now and still have done nothing about it.
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I’ve gotten use to the shock now, but that doesn’t mean that I dislike it any less. So if anyone has any tips out there, all are welcomed.
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And now maybe you won’t be so shocked (ha) if you decide to visit Antarctica.
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P.s. I’ve officially been here for four weeks! (????!)
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Me looking at Mount Discovery. Photo credit: Dan Dichek
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