Wednesday, 24 November 2021

Inside the polar vortex

 Since Friday 19 November, the team at PEA is launching every second day a weather balloon with a radiosonde for measuring the vertical profile of temperature, relative humidity, wind and pressure. At the moment, the Antarctic ozone hole has started to be 'filled up' again.  However, yesterday's radio sounding happened inside the Antarctic polar vortex, with very high wind speeds between 15 and 20 km altitude, strong westerly winds and low temperature - as can be seen on the graph below (note however, that the humidity values above around 10 km are only indicative).  Total ozone was also very low respectively, with values between 150 and 200 DU. 



Tuesday, 16 November 2021

Season 2021-2022 at PEA has started

Last week, the first technical team arrived at Princess Elisabeth station Antarctica. They have been busy to put the station back into operational mode. Since yesterday, 15/11/2021, the Brewer ozone spectrophotometer is installed again and can monitor the total ozone amount in the atmospheric column. This year's ozone hole is again very important (see here). The first measurements of our Brewer instrument revealed values between 131 and 170 DU. These are very low values, but could be expected due to the still lasting ozone hole over the Antarctic continent. 

This season, two of our research colleagues, Preben and Andy, will travel to the station. Their planned flight from Cape Town, South Africa, to Antarctica is on 7 December. We will keep you updated on this blog on the activities during this season.

Wednesday, 23 December 2020

Blog update by Preben

 On our CHASE project website you can find two new blogs and images of the current season: link


the future site where instrumentation will be installed in order to measure information on VOCs, meteorology, precipitation and particles

Thursday, 17 December 2020

Interview with Alexis, our colleague of BIRA-IASB at the station

 On the webpage of our neighbour institute and partner in research projects CLIMB and Aerocloud, you can find an interview with Alexis Merlaud:  link

Wednesday, 9 December 2020

First radiosounding on 1 December

On 1 and 3 December, Preben and Alexis launched weather balloons with radio sondes, for measuring the vertical profiles of temperature, pressure, humidity and wind. Below, a plot of the first sounding is shown. The very low temperatures between 10 and 15 km of about -70°C are exceptional for this time of the year and are another sign of the long-lasting and huge ozone hole of this year (see also here)

We keep you updated also on the special campaign page of our CHASE project 



Friday, 27 November 2020

Finally, a new season at Princess Elisabeth has started

 Yesterday, 26 November, the first team of the Belgian Antarctic research expedition (BELARE) has arrived at Princess Elisabeth station. They will now by busy to put the station into full operational state. We will keep you updated on the progress and on the activities of our research there. This season, two colleagues are there: Preben Van Overmeiren of Ghent University and Alexis Merlaud of the Belgian Institute of Space Aeronomy. They will work on the CHASE and CLIMB projects and will also maintain the existing instrumentation of the atmospheric observatory.

Thursday, 19 November 2020

Ozone hole over Antarctica

 This year's ozone hole over the South Pole region reaches immense dimensions. The minimum temperature at 50 hPa is still below -75°C, below the level when polar stratospheric clouds can form. This is unique for this time of the year. Also, the absolute minimum of the total ozone column is still below the record years. And forecasts are not showing rapid improvements. It means that levels of UV radiation reaching the surface in these southern regions are very high and respective protective measures are needed. U-to date information can be found on the website of the Copernics Atmospheric Monitoring Service (CAMS) for the ozone layer monitoring

ozone hole area as by 18/11/2020 - copernicusECMWF