Start date:
Early November
End date:
Early February
Ross Ice Shelf, West Antarctica, South Pole Station, McMurdo Station and surrounding area
Principle Investigator:
Dr Matthew Lazzara
University of Wisconsin
Field season overview:
The field work for O-283-M/S will work out of the following Antarctic regions: Ross Ice Shelf, West Antarctica, South Pole Station, and the local McMurdo Station area. Researchers will continue theirr collaborative arrangements with other international Antarctic Programs as their logistical support capabilities allow. Primary field activies for 2011-2012 include consolidating and upgrading the AWS at Cape Hallett; visiting and repairing AWS stations that developed problems during the previous austral winter; removing up to three sites in West Antarctica-depending on time constraints and Twin Otter aircraft support availability; continuing the transition of McMurdo Station area AWS to Freewave radio modems to reduce data telemetry costs; test flights of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) at Alexander AWS (Tall Tower) and other AWS sites that are visited during the season - researchers will also conduct UAV flights at Windless Bight and in the McMurdo Station area. Researchers plan to be based out of Byrd Camp for their West Antarctica field work. The two priority sites in this area are Siple Dome and the new installation at the I-157-M fuel cache. Siple Dome AWS will be relocated closer to the skiway and the electronics will be upgraded. The continuation of the conversion to Freewave radio modems from Argos transmitters in the McMurdo Station area will include moving the base station from the Crary Lab to T-site. The installation at T-site will include a network connection so that researchers can remotely access the computer. The locations that will be converted to radio-modem communications this year are Willie Field, Pegasus North, and possibly Windless Bight. The stations that currently need to be visited for repair are Cape Bird, Lorne, Ferrell, Linda, Marble Point, Minna Bluff, Laurie II, Willie Field, Windless Bight, and Pegasus North. Island sites scheduled for site visits include Hugo and Peter I Islands, which will be reached by ship and small-boat operations once in the area. Work based out of South Pole Station includes removing the temperature radiation shield test site as the environment of South Pole was not an ideal location to perform this test. This work will be done by support contractor personnel.
This continuing project, now in its 30th year, is the largest in the Antarctic and has the broadest spatial coverage, with a network of automatic weather stations (AWS) on the Antarctic continent and several surrounding islands. These facilities measure surface wind, pressure, temperature, and humidity. Some also track other atmospheric variables such as snow accumulation and incident solar radiation. The data are transmitted by satellite to a number of ground stations and used for weather forecasting, climatology, general research, and USAP support, especially the Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) programs at McMurdo and Palmer Stations. The AWS network has grown from a small-scale program in 1980 into a significant and reliable data collection and retrieval system that is now indispensable for forecasting and research. A primary focus of this effort will be to establish a long-term climatology from AWS observations, which can then be used to detect signs of climate change in the Antarctic.