2018-2019 USAP Field Season
EAGER: An operational system to measure surface mass balance deep in the interior of the Antarctic ice sheet
Dr. Santiago de la Pena
Supporting Stations: South Pole Station
Snow accumulation and redistribution by wind are important components of the climate of Antarctica yet remain largely unknown. Direct observations of snowfall and related weather are few, leaving a gap in the regional climate records of the continent. Because of Antarctica’s size, even small fluctuations in the total snow accumulation at the surface have a significant effect on the mass budget of the ice sheet and thus on global sea level. This project will install sensors at South Pole to record weather, snow accumulation, and structural conditions within the layer of packed snow. The autonomous system will be tested in the austral winter and will provide the first continuous measurements of snow-accumulation processes in the interior of the ice sheet, which will be used to validate atmospheric and regional climate models.
Field Season Overview
The principal investigator will deploy for three days to the South Pole where he will inspect the previously installed instrument, repair damage it sustained during its first year of operation, and prepare it for the coming winter. Throughout the year, the system transmits data via Iridium satellites. Power is provided by wind and solar attached to the instrument and stored locally in a battery bank, so no connection to the South Pole Station power grid is necessary.
Deploying Team Members