Weather conditions in Antarctica are the harshest in the world. Imagine wind chills that freeze exposed skin in seconds, blizzards that reduce visibility to a few feet, months of darkness, and seemingly endless expanses of featureless snow and ice. For the early explorers and expeditioners, survival in Antarctica meant a constant struggle against the elements, a struggle which resulted in many paying the ultimate cost.
Even today, for an extended journey in Antarctica to succeed, proper equipment and preparation, strong leadership, excellent navigational skills, mental and physical fortitude, and luck are all required. To journey beyond the confines of protective structures means battling the weather on its own terms, and realizing that mistakes can lead to frostbite, hypothermia and death. On land, paying attention to developing weather conditions is a way of life for land-based researchers! At sea, mountainous waves, gale force winds, freezing spray, jagged icebergs and crushing pack-ice are ever-present hazards.