Friday, 26 November 2010

The next expedition to Antarctica begins soon

On 15 December, I will again leave Brussels for joining the BELARE 2010-2011 campaign at the Princess Elisabeth Station, Utsteinen, East Antarctica. This time I will stay much longer than last time - approximately 7 weeks, until the beginning of February 2011. The plans for this season are to install some more instruments: the Cimel sunphotometer will be again mounted on the top of the station's roof; the aethalometer will be again installed in the scientific shelter and it should now be installed for over-winter operation; the first newcomer this season is a Tapered Element Oscillating Microbalance (TEOM), which measures the aerosol mass concentration; and the second newcomer is a Brewer spectrophotometer, which measures the total column amount of ozone in the atmosphere, the UV radiation, and the aerosol optical depth in the UV-B. The Brewer will be mounted on the station's roof and the TEOM in the scientific shelter.
Although I have already been two years ago in Antarctica at the Princess Elisabeth Station, this time it will also be very special. The stay is distinctly longer, it will be over Christmas and New Year's Eve, and there will be no dark hours, only towards the very end of my stay the sun will be sufficiently below the horizon that it will become darker for some moments. Personally, I have to deal with the circumstance that I will leave behind my wife and my two little children. I expect that it won't be easy, but there are now good communication connections and skype will help ;-)
Besides the above mentioned instruments, I will also help to maintain the automatic weather station and the magnetometer, both installed since the BELARE 2008-2009 campaign.
So, I will keep all readers of this blog up-to-date what happens this time at Utsteinen.