Sunday, 16 December 2012


Again, no report on sunny summertime, but white or grey snowy summertime. Saturday afternoon until late into the evening there was a nice snowfall event at Utsteinen. Maybe you find it bit strange that I write about snowfall when in Europe you are having also snow and even more than here. However, it’s not often that we have real snow falling here in the interior of Antarctica, and then snow is not falling in large amounts. Antarctica is a cold continent, and cold air cannot hold a lot of water vapour and therefore also the potential amount of water falling down in forms of crystals is limited. We had around 3 to 5 cm snow yesterday – what is already a lot. The whole day we had complete cloud coverage and first strong wind. In the afternoon, wind decreased to almost zero and around 5pm it started to snow. The first crystals were rather small and had the form of needles or small prisms. Two hours later, snowfall increased (also temperature had decreased a bit) and ice crystals had grown and were rather in the form of dendrites now. Our ridge where station and instrument container are placed turned slowly into white. It was interesting to follow this event with images and with the data of our instruments. I could also see in the data of the instruments measuring atmospheric particles (not snow) that some particle characteristics were different to the period before this snowfall event. For example, the size distribution and total number of aerosols changed. Today, Sunday, there is no snowfall anymore, but very strong wind and now there is drifting, wind-blown snow, and most of the fallen snow is blown and is thus re-located.


  1. Hi Alexander,

    just one week and you're again in Belgium! So, almost at the end of another successful mission at the Princess Elisabeth station! Merry Christmas and happy 2013 and see you in Uccle somewhere mid January, I suppose?


  2. Great blog you people have maintained there, I totally appreciate the work.

  3. This is something very interesting because the two instruments collected data when there was no station activity and when there was really no emission of aerosols for energy generation (only wind power and batteries).