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 (WinFly Component)

Antarctic Automatic Weather Station program (WinFly Component)


Event Number:
NSF/OPP Award 1543305

Program Manager:
Dr. Peter Milne

ASC POC/Implementer:
Samina Ouda / Elizabeth Kauffman

Principal Investigator

Dr. John Cassano

University of Colorado Boulder
Louisville, Colorado


Supporting Stations: McMurdo Station
Research Locations: Pegasus Field


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

The University of Colorado will deploy two people during WinFly 2016. The field team will use small unmanned aerial systems (UAS) to observe the late winter atmospheric boundary layer in the vicinity of McMurdo Station. Flights will be conducted from Pegasus.

Deploying Team Members

  • John Cassano (PI)
  • Mark Seefeldt