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During the International Polar Year (IPY, 2007-2009), several ground traverses penetrated the remote interior plateau of East Antarctica to search (among other things) for the oldest ice chronology on Earth. One of those traverses connected the Norwegian Troll station to Amundsen-Scott South Pole station, via the former Plateau station and the pole of inaccessibility. This offered a unique opportunity to extend the present operational area of IMAU AWS to the deep interior ice sheet. In this project we designed and build two AWS with low temperature specifications for installation along this IPY traverse, and one prototype for testing at Kohnen station. We installed these AWS at the site of former Plateau station and on the interior slope of west Dronning Maud Land, an area that is meteorologically unexplored. The AWS will be left unattended for a period of 3-5 years, relaying their data to Utrecht through the ARGOS system.
Because of their wide range of applications, Automatic Weather Stations (AWS) play a crucial role in modern Antarctic climate research. Since 1995, the Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Research Utrecht (IMAU) has successfully operated AWS at nine Antarctic sites in Dronning Maud Land and on Berkner Island. Apart from the 'standard' meteorological variables pressure, temperature and wind, these AWS also measure humidity, shortwave and longwave radiation, snow temperatures at five depths and snow accumulation. This has yielded unique datasets of climate and mass balance of the various Antarctic climate zones (coastal, katabatic and interior).
Utrecht University, Institute for Marine and Atmospheric research Utrecht (IMAU)
All data is calibrated and checked for outliers. The relative humidity data is corrected for measurements over ice conditions. Note that the temperature sensors are located in non-ventilated housing and sensitive to excess heating due to solar radiation (a description for correction procedure is available).