2016-2017 Science Planning Summaries
United States Antarctic Program United States Antarctic Program Logo National Science Foundation Logo
2016-2017 USAP Field Season
Project Detail

Project Title

Antarctic automatic weather station program

Antarctic automatic weather station program


Event Number:
NSF/OPP Award 1543305

Program Manager:
Dr. Peter Milne

ASC POC/Implementer:
Samina Ouda / Elizabeth Kauffman

Principal Investigator

Dr. Matthew Lazzara

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

Project Web Site:


Supporting Stations: McMurdo Station
Research Locations: On station


The Antarctic Automatic Weather Station (AWS) network has been making meteorological observations since the early 1980s. This continent-wide network is positioned to observe significant meteorological events and increase understanding of the Antarctic surface climate, helping researchers observe and learn about the Antarctic in a warming world. Numerous studies of surface climatology in regions around the continent, like the Ross Ice Shelf, have been possible because of the long duration of the AWS project and regular AWS maintenance. This AWS-based climatology also aids in other studies such as winter warming events.

Field Season Overview

Four team members will deploy for the second component of the O-283-M event. They will conduct field work on the Ross Ice Shelf and around the local McMurdo Station area. The team will visit and repair AWS stations that develop problems during the Austral winter, and as needed throughout the deployment. Specific location details include: (1) One Twin Otter flight to Tall Tower. The team will require antenna rigger support to raise the lower levels of instrumentation. Two project participants will dig out and raise the power system. (2) Ross Ice Shelf work, based out of McMurdo Station. The following AWS sites are scheduled for maintenance during the 2016-17 season: Gill, Schwerdtfeger, Lettau, Vito, and Sabrina. (3) Ross Island sites including Williams Field, Windless Bight, and Pegasus North can be visited using ground transportation. Helicopter support will be required to access Lorne, Linda, Marble Point, Minna Bluff, and Cape Bird sites. One McMurdo research associate (RA) provides support year-round.

Deploying Team Members

  • Carol Costanza
  • David Mikolajczyk
  • Lee Welhouse