Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Summertime ...

During last week weather has been rather quiet. No strong winds, no storm. Pretty good for all the works which have to be done around the station. Less good for the wind power production. There were also some days with almost complete low cloud coverage and low wind, creating bad visibility and preventing our Belgian scientist team (meteorite seekers) to arrive by plane from the Russian Novo air base. At times it seemed that a bit snow might fall (low clouds and weak wind are good conditions). However, this happened not at our place but some tens of kilometers away in the Vikinghogda mountains (see images above). Two days later, we had nice sunny weather (and the scientist team could finally arrive), but these mountains were again hidden behind a wall of low clouds. On the images it looks like air masses were transported against these mountains (in fact, wind was weakly into their direction), they had to rise orographically, but then were probably trapped by a temperature inversion. Later in the evening these clouds just dissolved. On that sunny calm day there were also some nice cumulusclouds over the Perlebandet mountain ridge to the West – rather unusual to this part of Antarctica – but it’s summer here. 
On the instrument’s side of life everything goes well. I did some tests and maintenance of the aerosol instruments in the shelter. At the end of the season they have to be ready to operate during the whole Antarctic winter. And it also has to be possible to communicate with them and to control them from Belgium. On sunday I digged a snow pit, i.e. an at least 1m deep profile in the snow, in order to determine the different layers of snow/ice up to a depth of 1m. In the different layers the ice crystal habits are characterized and the snow density is measured to be able to derive the amount of snow in mm water equivalent. It was a calm, rather cloudy day, not cold, and therefore ideal to dig and to take the measurements without any hurry. Ah, and in the evening we had the first time for this season Frites (at least, it’s a Belgian station, this obliges). 


  1. We hope you are doing fine in the "sunny, summer like " weather :)Wishing you a successful time in Antarctica and looking forward to seeing you sooon! Judit and Viktor

    1. Hi Judit, Viktor,
      many thanks for your wishes. One week to go then I should be back.
      Next entry is not about sunny weather :-)
      all the best, Alex