As I lounge around Lake Hoare waiting for the wind to blow away the fog bank that is nestled along the valley walls, it brings to mind just how powerful the wind is in controlling the natural environment of the Dry Valleys.
Antarctica is quoted as the coldest, driest, and windiest of the continents, and this is all too obvious in the Dry Valleys. Without protective vegetation or a blanket of ice, the exposed rocks have been unrelentingly frost-shattered and sand blasted for millions of years. The result are ventifacts that have been abraded and polished into statues attesting to the strength of the elements.
In the valley bottoms, the wind may be dampened, but it’s no walk in the park. Here are some data from Lake Bonney from 2009. Note the manic-depressive winter winds from April to October.
And in the spring, we often arrive in the valleys to find that in the battle of science vs. wind, wind can frequently take the upper-hand.