Wednesday, 19 December 2018

Challenging trips to install further sampling sites

Stefania and Preben went last days to further sampling sites in order to recover samples installed last season, exchange them with new ones and in addition, installing another new site near the coast. Their posts on these expeditions should appear soon on their blog-posts: see Preben, Stefania. Again, we show some images already below:
 the Romnoes mountains from far
 The team
 the Utsteinen nunatak at Princess Elisabeth station
the field camp near the coast, together with the glaciologist team (see also their blog)

Wednesday, 5 December 2018

Installing a sample site at the plateau

Stefania and Preben went last Friday to the plateau in order to collect samples installed last season, install new collectors and go even further to install collectors at a new site. Read their story about this expedition at their blogs - the one of Preben and the one of Stefania. As an appetizer, below images from this expedition.

Monday, 26 November 2018

Blog of Stefania and Preben on the BNCAR website

Stefania and Preben keep alive also a blog on the website of the Belgian National Committee on Antarctic Research (BNCAR). Link.

Thursday, 22 November 2018

Greenhouse gas levels in atmosphere reach new record

And yet another uncomfortable piece of truth on climate change:
Link to the press release of the World Meteorological Organisation.

Blog of Preben, EnVOC group

You can also follow Preben's blog on the website of his institute:

Tuesday, 20 November 2018

Arrival at the Princess Elisabeth Antarctica Station

Blog Note Day 2-3  -  November 17/18, 2018 - Stefania and Preben

It is time to give you news… how our adventure continues… 1 am in the morning and we finally arrived to PEA (Princess Elisabeth Antarctica Station, the Belgian Station). What a great feeling! Alain Hubert and other members of the team are waiting for us. They welcome us very kindly and give us the first indications and rules about how everything works here. After a cup of warm tea, it is time to rest a little bit. 
7:30 am we need to be back for our first official meeting and meet the rest of the crew. Tired and jetlagged or excited or with a combination of everything, we make our way to our bedroom. It is a blue container outside the station that will shelter us for the next 5 weeks. In case you are wondering, it is heated, of course! The morning of Saturday November 17th, after breakfast, Alain Hubert (the famous Belgian explorer and chief in charge of the Station) gave us a tour showing us the entire station, explaining in detail about the management and functionality of PEA. I must to say, it is incredible what they have built so far. It is a place with all the facilities you can imagine and a completely zero emission station is the goal for the next coming years. Water Engineers, Electricians, plumbers, constructors, technicians, etc… are part of the crew responsible every day of the running of PEA but we all have duties that help for the right development. I feel very delighted to be part of this, at least this year. The day is almost over and everybody is excited because Sunday is day off! So now it is time to enjoy dinner and some beers and/or wine all together.

It is Sunday already and we cannot wait to go outside and explore the surroundings of PEA a little bit. Always following the field guides, they take us for a tour to the “wind scoop” of the Ulteinen mountains. We are six and for me is the first time walking in the ice using crampons. Landscape is incredible beautiful. Shapes I’ve never seen before and also sounds I’ve never heard or experienced. My eyes are just amazed for what I am seeing.  I am so lucky to be here, that’s all I can think of.  So, in resume, it was a wonderful experience but I couldn’t have done it without help. So, thank you Daniel (one of the field guides)! For someone without experience like me, support is very important.
The next two days will be training days for us. This means medical, GPS, skidoo driving, crevasse safety, rescue, etc. So if you are interested to see how this goes, more stories later on….
Tefi & Preben

The Beauty of the indescribable Antarctica Day 1

Blog Note Day 1 - November 16, 2018 - Stefania and Preben

After several months of preparation, finally the time has come. Mixing of feelings to hear “Ladies and Gentlemen, please it’s time to get ready with your warm clothes. We’ll be landing shortly...” Minutes later after a warm clapping for the genius pilot who landed us safe, the steward said “Welcome everybody to Novo Air Base, Antarctica, Local Time is 1:00 PM.” The Boing 757 opens its door and here we are, the BELARE /CHASE team has completed the first leg of this trip to Princess Elisabeth Station. Oh yeah ! Happy faces, at least for the ones who is the first time here! Beautiful weather today! We couldn’t ask for more to be honest.

While part of the team is checking that our cargo has arrived complete and safe, the rest is taken to a “container house” to waituntil the departure of our next flight, which is at 9:00 PM local time. After a great welcoming at Novo, especially for me because the Argentinean team (16 people) give me some goodies to bring with me! That really made my day even more excited because it was something I was a nice surprise I was not expecting. Seated now in a smaller plane, we are ready to flight to put new home for the next 5-6 weeks. The feeling is just amazing. After 1 hr and 45 minutes we finally got the the view of the PEA !!! Unbelievable, we are here !

Friday, 16 November 2018

The austral summer and its research expedition is back

Also this season, we have a research expedition to Princess Elisabeth station. This time, there are two colleagues from our CHASE project – Stefania of Université Libre de Bruxelles and Preben of Ghent University – who  will be at the research station from mid-November to just before Christmas. They will not only be responsible for the tasks of the CHASE project, but will also help with tasks for the AEROCLOUD project and with the radio soundings. From the first station team which arrived begin of November, we heard that the station did not lose power over winter. However, the satellite connection was lost mid-May. So, we are very curious about the state of our instruments and if they indeed collected all the time data. This would be great.
Therefore, when Stefania and Preben arrive during next days at Princess Elisabeth station, they will have a lot to do to verify the status of all experiments and to prepare the experiments of this season. Besides the maintenance of the Aerocloud instruments and the radio soundings, they will have to re-install the sampling setup near the station for the active (with pumps) collection of ambient particles for later chemical analysis on inorganic and organic components. In addition to the active sampling which will be done only during austral summer, there are samplers for the passive collection of ambient particles and of volatile organic compounds (VOC). These passive sampling has been set up last season by Christophe, Nadine and Alexander at five sites – in a transect from near the plateau to the coast. The filters at these sites collected now nearly a whole year ambient particles and VOCs.  Stefania and Preben will visit these sites, collect the samples and place new filters for a next year.
In this blog we will keep you updated on the work, life, experiences and experiments of our CHASE team at Utsteinen

Tuesday, 6 February 2018

SCAR – celebrating 60 years of Antarctic Science and international collaboration

This week, the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR) marks six decades of successful international collaboration and of drawing world’s attention to the importance of Antarctic research. Since its first meeting in The Hague on 3-5 February 1958, SCAR has grown an international network of thousands of scientists who share a common ambition to carry out Antarctic science for the benefit of society.

Antarctica and the Southern Ocean have a fundamental role in regulating processes such as climate and carbon uptake, and research in the Antarctic is crucial to understanding processes of global significance and to advancing science. Additionally, rapid changes are occurring in parts of Antarctica that could open the continent to a new level of activities in the coming decades. Antarctic governance, administration and environmental protection must be based on scientific data.

Understanding the wide-ranging regional and global effects of change in Antarctica and the Southern Ocean is the task of Science. Antarctic scientists have been providing information about the state of the continent and its surrounding seas since polar exploration began. That work was in particular in the focus during the International Geophysical Year of 1957-58. Realizing the importance of continuing international Antarctic collaboration at the end of the International Geophysical Year, SCAR was established to facilitate and coordinate it.

With a membership representing the scientific communities of 43 countries, SCAR is instrumental in initiating, developing and coordinating high quality international scientific research in the Antarctic and the Southern Ocean. As an inter-disciplinary committee of the International Council for Science (ICSU) SCAR provides objective and independent advice to international bodies such as the Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meetings, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Belgium is full member of SCAR and Belgian scientists are well represented in various working groups.

More information you can find on the websites of SCAR, or of the Belgian National Committee on Antarctic Research (BNCAR). Further, SCAR will celebrate its 60th year at its 35th Meeting and the Open Science Conference (POLAR2018) at Davos in Switzerland from June 15-26 June 2018.