Talk:Vostok Station

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Effects on humans[edit]

All the claims below from the article are not cited, come with no explanation and seem scientifically dubious:

"Accounting for the fact that oxygen density gets lower as one approaches the poles"

 Is this really true? If so why?

"A higher ionization of the air"

really? why? due to stratispheric ozone depletion or something else?

"A partial pressure of gases which is different from that to which most humans are used to"

apart from lower pressure due to high altitude what else causes this different partial pressure and what effect does it have on human physiology

"A lack of carbon dioxide in the air, which leads to irregularities in a person's breathing mechanism."

is this true? is there a lower concentration, if so why and what effect does it have on human physiology

—Preceding unsigned comment added by 82.111.156.114 (talkcontribs) 13:14, 26 March 2007

All of those things were added by myself and are simply translations from the Russian article. I agree that sources are needed, but I think it's likely that the Russians know more about Vostok than the English-speakers do - I figured I'd best added them in and see if someone else can source it. The carbon dioxide question, at least, has an "obvious" answer to me (though it may not be the right one) - there's a severe lack of anything that produces carbon dioxide for a great, great distance around the base. I've personally felt the withdrawal symptoms of CO2 when I go from the city the countryside for any length of time - I feel a bit light-headed and tired for the first day or two. I imagine that this is much worse in a place as isolated as the middle of Antarctica. Esn 06:47, 31 March 2007 (UTC)

By the way, the carbon dioxide article says as much - that CO2 controls a person's breathing rate. Esn 06:53, 31 March 2007 (UTC)

All that stuff about CO2 snow drifts and low pressure poles is just not true. If it came from a Russian translation then maybe it was just old communist propaganda. You can't draw parallels with Mars because the Martian atmosphere is almost pure CO2. And the poles have "polar highs" (like the continental high pressure conditions that often happen in Canada and Russia). Anyway, read <http://hernadi-key.blogspot.com/2009/06/lab-experiment-regarding-co2-snow-in.html>. Anthony717 (talk) 09:00, 18 January 2010 (UTC)
I'm not sure about the veracity of some of these claims either. But the lower pressure at high elevations near the poles is completely true. Let me explain why.
It is a well-known fact among high-altitude climbers and medical researchers that high latitudes including the poles have much lower pressure at high elevations (between 2-16 km, about 6000-50,000 ft) than do locations near the equator. However, in contrast, the pressure at the Earth's surface (sea level) is essentially independent of latitude from equator to poles. The correct answer and reasons for it can be found in a good high-altitude medicine textbook such as High Altitude Medicine and Physiology by John B. West (et al) [1], check your local university library, either the 3rd or 4th edition is great. Read section 2.2.4 on pp. 26-28 in the 3rd ed, or the same section a few pages earlier in 4th ed. Basically, there is a large mass of cold air in the stratosphere above the equator (paradoxically, the coldest air in the entire atmosphere), and this mass of air increases pressures at low latitudes versus at the poles.
There is also this PDF article [2] by the same author, which can be downloaded for free, and covers part of the same info as that section of the book. See figure 4 on page 3 of the PDF. One can clearly see that at 4 km elevation (= close to Vostok Station's 3488m), the pressure is MUCH lower near the poles than at the equator, in both summer and winter (especially).
So the poles do not in fact have any polar highs (the continental high pressure in northern Canada and Siberia is completely unrelated, that is sea level pressure near 60° N, not applicable to high elevations or closer to the poles). And the poles have, on average, lower pressure per altitude, not higher. The average pressure at the North Pole (at sea level) is similar to that at low latitudes, while the average pressure at the South Pole and at Vostok (both high elevation sites) is much lower than found at similar elevations at low latitudes.
Weather data from the South Pole Station confirms this fact too (see [3]): the station is at an elevation of 9,300 ft, but the average pressure of 681 mb corresponds to about 10,600 ft in the "standard atmosphere", while the record minimum of 641 mb would be equivalent to 12,100 ft. Proving that near the poles, pressure at high elevations is much lower than expected! However, based on the South Pole data, the claim in the article that "the oxygen density at Vostok is equivalent to that on a mountain more than 5,000 meters (16,400 ft) tall at temperate latitudes" seems to be exaggerated. Vostok at a true elevation of about 3500 m (11,500 ft) should have a pressure altitude of about 4000 m (13,000 ft) on average and 4400 m (14,500 ft) at extreme conditions based on a rough comparison with the Pole data.
--Seattle Skier (talk) 07:46, 10 February 2010 (UTC)

Something like heroism[edit]

The following is a translation of a comment from the talk page of the Russian article which seems interesting:


In 1982, a fire broke out at Vostok Station. The diesel machines were destroyed. One wintering person died. But people were able to bring life under control and overcome all difficulties. Not only that, but they didn't leave the station, staying through the winter. They did scientific work and fought for the life of the station.

This tale of hardiness was written about in Комсомольская правда' (June 1983)

Personally, I do not have reliable information about this story. I wish that eyewitnesses, biographers or real participants in the events would in describe them in detail. This is a worthy story.


So... does anybody know anything about this? It would be a fine thing to mention, I think. Esn 07:14, 31 March 2007 (UTC)

Don't know about this. But Not only that, but they didn't leave the station, staying through the winter is a bit odd: AFAIK its impossible to leave there during winter William M. Connolley 08:30, 14 June 2007 (UTC)
It is possible to leave the station. You have to travel by land though. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 86.57.12.37 (talk) 14:27, 6 September 2009 (UTC)

http://www.antarctic.spb.ru/blogs.php?action=show_member_blog&ownerID=16&category=9 Story from Pavel Talalay, 35th expedition (1989-1991) participant. Mostly he talk about Vostok deep mine, but he mentioned 1982 fire too.Ходок (talk) 12:59, 24 February 2009 (UTC)

http://www.nkj.ru/archive/articles/5790/ Good article (in russian) about 1982 fire and winter. Ходок (talk) 14:27, 13 January 2010 (UTC)
Here is a Google translation of that article. Easier than struggling with the Russian for people like me (someday, I will be fluent! maybe... ). --Seattle Skier (talk) 07:55, 10 February 2010 (UTC)

Less heroic: In 1959, a Soviet scientist killed another Soviet scientist at a Soviet research station in Vostok, Antarctica after a chess game argument. The losing player got so mad, he killed his opponent with an axe. After the incident, the Soviets banned chess at their Antarctic stations. (chess.com with sources)--88.73.21.58 (talk) 21:23, 1 March 2013 (UTC)

Min T[edit]

I don't know about this; our records [4] say the min was "only" -84.4 William M. Connolley 08:30, 14 June 2007 (UTC)

Which disagrees with what the Russians themselves think: [5] William M. Connolley 08:34, 14 June 2007 (UTC)

Will this do? http://hypertextbook.com/facts/2000/YongLiLiang.shtml Three sources for 89.2, one for approximately 89.2 (-129 °F instead of -128.6 °F). —Preceding unsigned comment added by 86.57.12.37 (talk) 14:26, 6 September 2009 (UTC)

T with height[edit]

I reverted [6]. The edit comment is confusing two situations. In a storm, air from above the boundary layer will likely be mixed down and warm the surface. But going *along* the surface (in particular, upwards) the air will cool for the std cooling-with-height reasons William M. Connolley (talk) 09:21, 23 September 2010 (UTC)

Ice core[edit]

Should we mention Roy Spencer's ideas about what the Vostok ice core shows?

  • ... it has often been noted that the Vostok CO2 record lags the temperature record by an average of 800 years, which is somewhat of a problem for Hansen’s theory. After all, if CO2 “took over” as the main driver of temperature, why do the CO2 changes tend to come after the temperature changes?

Spencer seems to think that that the data at Vostok disprove the AGW theory. --Uncle Ed (talk) 16:17, 21 October 2010 (UTC)

I know I shouldn't be commenting like this on talk pages, but don't the temperature changes mean that the oceans can absorb more/less atmospheric CO2, a process which takes time and thus "lags"? Jolly Ω Janner 17:57, 21 October 2010 (UTC)
Spencer's fringe views have been further shown incorrect by recent published papers, we should not give his views undue weight. . dave souza, talk 09:16, 25 August 2012 (UTC)

Climate of Antarctica[edit]

The Climate of Antarctica had outdated info on lowest temperatures, with dates modified by an anon IP and no source. I've pinched a bit from this article to update it,[7] could someone with more knowledge please review the situation and revise that article accordingly, . dave souza, talk 09:16, 25 August 2012 (UTC)

What annual snowfall[edit]

No mention of annual snowfall, which has affected bases such as Halley and Amundsen–Scott. - Rod57 (talk) 05:03, 15 February 2013 (UTC)

New World Low Record[edit]

Someone needs to figure out how to incorporate this into the article. So far changes have been made in the table reflecting the change but no mention in the article, or about exactly what the new data showed. 50.80.153.173 (talk) 00:38, 11 December 2013 (UTC)

Article already mentions most probably there are colder temperatures that exist somewhere near Vostok Station where altitude is a bit higher. This new -93.2°C record is a satellite measurement of a spot somewhere in Antarctica. Yes, it is the lowest temperature found on Earth, but no, it was not measured at Vostok Station, and notably it was not measured with thermometers. Akseli9 (talk) 06:55, 11 December 2013 (UTC)