Monday, 4 January 2010

BelAtmos in 2010

The summer has already begun at Utsteinen and since mid-November the Belgian station is again populated. Although I won’t be there this summer season, I would like to keep this blog up to date and describe the progress our scientific project(s) are making.

It would have been nice to be at Utsteinen also this season, but there are some personal, budget, and practical reasons why I will go to Utsteinen only the season 2010-2011 again. It would have been nice to see the station becoming fully operational and to revisit the Utsteinen nunatak and its surroundings. There are several things to be finished in the station (cabling, network, water cycle, communication satellite dish), what means that the base camp with its tents has been put up again and (almost) everybody is again living in a tent there. From the experiences I made last season, I would prefer, without hesitating, a tent over the sleeping rooms in the station (of course, time went by and the deepest temperatures during Antarctic night hours almost vanished from my memory).

This year, our collaboration partners of the University of Leuven, Irina and Nicole, will take care of our instruments – the sunphotometer, and the aethalometer. Themselves, they will install a new instrument, a micro-rain radar, besides their ceilometer and pyrometer. And they will service their automatic weather station. Its data reveals that the Utsteinen site is indeed relatively warm during winter – the hourly temperature averages didn’t reach the –40 deg Celsius. Irina will start on 03 January her journey to Utsteinen, and Nicole on 26 January. So, later in January there shall be more news.