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Stourport scientist working in remote Antartica base
7:00am Wednesday 12th September 2012 in News
Up and away: John Griffiths launches a balloon into the atmosphere each day to monitor the Ozone layer
A METEOROLOGIST from Stourport has spent the last four months in darkness working for the British Antartic Survey in Antartica.
John Griffiths, 25, is part of a team of 14 who have not seen sunlight since April at Halley VI, a remote research station built over the last five years.
The small team are known as winterers who have no way of leaving the base for eight months nor can anyone reach it.
Mr Griffiths, who attended King Charles I School, said: “This is the front line of science and climate change. The information we gather here can give us evidence to prove or disprove the theories of global warming.
“It’s just so remote here. It’s just flat and white and there’s absolutely nothing.”
The 14 members of staff are the first winterers to live at the base including a chef, a doctor, an electrician and mechanics.
Mr Griffiths added: “In a month we will be in full daylight which is almost as challenging as being in the dark.
“All of the food for the winter is brought in by ship in the summer. Nothing is exactly fresh.”
The nearest base is 700km away meaning staff have been trained to help the doctor if necessary as there is no way to leave the station if something goes wrong.
Mr Griffiths left the UK on December, 9 2011 and will not return until the end of February 2013.
He added: “We’re quite a close knit team, although you do miss friends and family.”
Events take place over the winter to keep the winterers going such as flag lowering and raising ceremonies for when the sun goes down for the last time and up for the first. They also had a barbeque at minus 30 degrees.
Mr Griffiths added: “My favourite so far was the Mad Hatters tea party where we played cricket in the dark outside in 30 knot winds.
“I love it here. I have got to see some amazing things such as the Aurora and the Milky Way without any lights to spoil it and a landscape ever-changing and untouched by man.”
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