"We have been endlessly digging snow, which rapidly builds up at the doorways. This is a very important job as we don't want to get trapped in the buildings if there is a fire, one of the biggest risks down here."
-- blog entry, Surviving Antarctica
Marine biologist David N. Thomas, a veteran visitor to the icy continent, recounts the hardships (and pleasures) he and his colleagues encountered as they worked in Antarctica. Surviving Antarctica is the compelling story of the daily lives of Antarctic residents: scientists, technicians and researchers who work and live there for months at a time.
The book's five sections describe a working trip to the polar south through lively text plus blog excerpts, anecdotes, and dozens of color photographs and maps. The reader learns, for example, what the Antarctic worker must pack (and that everything -- including human waste -- must be carried out); that icebergs are made of freshwater, not seawater; and that the Antarctic snow is more similar to free-flying polystyrene chips than to the sticky stuff we know.
Along with stories about daily life in what he calls "Earth's beautiful south," Thomas weaves the history of Antarctic research stations with descriptions of vegetation, animal life, geology, glaciology and sea life. He concludes with a balanced discussion on climate change and Antarctica's uncertain future.