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 Universit√© 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