Tuesday, 18 January 2022

Tonga volcano eruption pressure wave visible in our recordings

On Saturday 15 January, a volcano erupted near Tonga, with devastating effects. The immense eruption catapulted ash, particles and gases apparently deep into the stratosphere, with estimates up to 30 km height. Besides the disastrous impact on humans, the environment, infrastructure, the eruption sent also a pressure wave around the world, detectable by measurements of atmospheric pressure (e.g., in Belgium). We can even detect this signal in the recordings of the atmospheric pressure inside our nephelometer, running at Princess Elisabeth station - see image below. The eruption took place around 4am UTC (or 5pm local time Tonga). The pressure wave took around 9 hours (for the around 17000 km to the station. A first variation of the pressure of about 2 hPa was detected at 13 UT and a second one of about 1hPa at 15 UT (one wave took the one way around the globe, the other one the other way round).  



Monday, 13 December 2021

Andy and Preben arrived at the station

 After ten days of quarantine in Cape Town, Andy and Preben landed in the evening of 9 December at Perseus air strip, around 60 km from Princess Elisabeth station. After unloading and the trip to the station, they arrived in the very early morning hours at the station. They already checked a lot of our instrumentation. You can follow their activities on our project web page.

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