2018-2019 Science Planning Summaries
United States Antarctic Program United States Antarctic Program Logo National Science Foundation Logo
2018-2019 USAP Field Season
Project Detail

Project Title

EAGER: An operational system to measure surface mass balance deep in the interior of the Antarctic ice sheet

EAGER: An operational system to measure surface mass balance deep in the interior of the Antarctic ice sheet
D-553-S Research Location(s): On station


Event Number:
NSF/OPP Award 1654922

Program Manager:
Dr. Michael Jackson

ASC POC/Implementer:
John Rand / Timothy Ager / Neal Scheibe

Principal Investigator(s)

Dr. Santiago de la Pena
Ohio State University
Byrd Polar and Climate Research Center
Columbus, Ohio


Supporting Stations: South Pole Station
Research Locations: On 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

  • Santiago de la Pena (PI)