Tips from the Antarctic how to stay warm during a bomb cyclone?

A bomb cyclone has hit the eastern United States and has caused many cancellations and blackouts, and is expected to be more. Temps from Antarctica may be down to -100, and Keri Nelson, manager of Palmer Station, details how people can be persistent in extreme weather.


The winter storm is running over the east coast, bringing record low temperatures and snow to cities that haven’t been frozen for years. So now we’re going to get some advice on how to keep those who have a lot of practice warm. Keri Nelson has spent six winters in Antarctica and joined us from palmer station – part of the national science foundation’s American Antarctic program. Welcome.

KERI NELSON: hi – nice talking to you.

SHAPIRO: what’s the coldest temperature you’ve ever seen there?

Nelson: I think my coldest time is 60 degrees below Fahrenheit.

SHAPIRO :(laughter).

Nelson: some places where americans go are really cold. But I’m kind of in the middle, but it’s cold.

SHAPIRO: yeah.

Nelson: it’s cold.

SHAPIRO: if you’re going out in this weather, how do you get ready for yourself?

NELSON: well, you know, it’s much better than when I started the show…

SHAPIRO :(laughter).

Nelson:… Even from Minnesota. I have something I like now, I like to wear it. It all contains many different types of layers. If I’m going to out of the 60 miles under the weather, if you don’t need, I will try to avoid, but I make sure I have a lot of socks and boots, and a few – three layers, such as long underwear – so I thin layer and my medium weight, then a break wind layer, layer may be a fill the barge, and ensure that I might even have a double (to understand) – two of them, one for the bottom, I and my upper body – goggles, you don’t always need to the wind, but actually keep your face really warm, double gloves, if not more.

SHAPIRO: a lot of layers – that seems to be an acceptable recommendation for anyone.

NELSON: lots of layers.

SHAPIRO: so let’s imagine you’re out there. You go indoors. You’re shaking. You can’t feel your fingers. What was your first step?

Nelson: I like to take hot drinks and warm myself from the inside out. At these stations, because we have sauna facilities in cold weather. Sometimes, I even put all these layers in the sauna to warm myself…


SHAPIRO: with the layers.

Nelson:… Layers, because sometimes it’s too cold. And you really feel cold. It just helps you from the inside out.

SHAPIRO: living in an extremely cold part of the cabin has a cabin fever. When you can’t go outside…

Nelson: yes.

SHAPIRO:…… A few days or even weeks, how do you deal with the madness of being trapped inside?

Nelson :(laughter) when I think about this idea of warmth in the winter, there’s some physical properties, right? All of these things you can see on the Internet. But when it’s cold and dark, you need to warm yourself mentally and spiritually. So I have a hobby, I can do it by myself, or I can attract others. So I think it’s very important.

SHAPIRO: like what?

Nelson: well, I’ll write music and play music. Once we tried to make a soap opera, or we did art or art night. Or on these platforms, we have science lectures, so we know what’s happening here. I think all of these things are just virtual heaters that warm our hearts and minds when it’s cold outside.

SHAPIRO: Keri Nelson spoke to us at Palmer station in Antarctica via Skype, where she worked as a radio manager – Keri, thank you very much.

Nelson: yes. It’s very nice talking with you.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here