2013-2014 Science Planning Summaries
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Antarctic Automatic Weather Station program (WinFly Component)

Program Manager:
Dr. Peter Milne

Event Number: O-283-M

ASC POC/Implementer:
John Rand / Elizabeth Kauffman

Dr. Matthew Lazzara (Principal Investigator)

University of Wisconsin Madison
Space Science and Engineering Center/AMRC
Madison, Wisconsin

Supporting Stations:  McMurdo Station
Research Locations:  AWS sites

Project Description:
The Antarctic Automatic Weather Station (AWS) network is the largest in the Antarctic and has the broadest spatial coverage. As the AWS program reaches its 35th year, the primary focus is measuring Antarctica’s surface climatology using the lengthy datasets (20 to 30 years in some cases) collected by the stations. A second focus is an investigation of the surface-wind regime of the Ross Ice Shelf. In the Antarctic, short observational records and large spacing between available observations have limited the ability to observe and detect climate change. The AWS network is now capable of providing critical observational records that will allow researchers to assess the near-surface climate of the Antarctic and begin to identify signs of climate change in the Antarctic. AWS measurements also provide the verification for satellite studies and model forecasts. The University of Colorado team will observe the late winter atmospheric boundary layer using unmanned aerial systems (UAS). These observations will complement summertime boundary layer measurements made in January 2014 as part of this project. The work to be conducted during WinFly 2016 is a continuation of the 2013-16 Antarctic automatic weather station project.

Field Season Overview:
This year a field party of four will deploy to McMurdo Station to visit and repair stations on the Ross Ice Shelf, in West Antarctica and in the local McMurdo area. Three stations in West Antarctica may be removed. The continued transition of local McMurdo stations to Freewave radio modems will help reduce data telemetry costs. This project collaborates with other NSF grantees as well as other international programs. The team visits sites that report problems or cease transmitting during the austral winter. They receive support from riggers, fixed-wing and helicopter operations.

Deploying Team Members:

  • David Mikolajczyk
  • Melissa Richards
  • Lee Welhouse (Team Leader)

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