2022-2023 Science Planning Summary
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2022-2023 USAP Field Season
Project Detail

Project Title

Investigating biogeochemical fluxes and linkages to climate change with multi-scale observations in the Drake Passage

An LC-130. Photo by Keith Vanderlinde. Image courtesy of NSF/USAP Photo Library. Creative Commons CC BY-NC-ND 4.0
O-404-M Research Location(s): Christchurch, LC-130 Rotators


Event Number:
NSF / OPP Award 1839218

Program Director:
Dr. David Sutherland

ASC POC/Implementer:
John Rand / Randolph Jones

Principal Investigator(s)

Dr. Britton B Stephens
University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, UCAR/NCAR


Supporting Stations: McMurdo Station
Research Locations: Christchurch, LC-130 Rotators


The Southern Ocean plays a fundamental role in the global carbon cycle, yet air-sea fluxes of carbon dioxide in the region are highly uncertain. This project aims to address this via measurements of opportunity on the New York Air National Guard (ANG) LC-130 aircraft operating each austral summer from McMurdo Station. The Southern Ocean Carbon Gas Observatory (SCARGO) will map distributions of carbon dioxide throughout the polar troposphere enabling robust estimates of summertime air-sea fluxes. Measurements will be made over three full field seasons; analysis and modeling activities will quantify Southern Ocean air-sea carbon dioxide exchange based on the observations, including the intraseasonal evolution and interannual variability of the fluxes.

Field Season Overview

This will be the first field season running experiments between Christchurch, New Zealand and McMurdo Station, Antarctica. The SCARGO instrumentation rack and air sampling/GPS hatch will install on a single LC-130 aircraft and stay installed for as long as that plane is in regular service; any maintenance or down time greater than 1 week will require moving the equipment to a different airframe. Four participants will be based at McMurdo Station and Christchurch for the season. Installation, testing, and demobilization will primarily occur at the Christchurch Hangar and also at Williams Field. When the airframe is in Christchurch, New Zealand NIWC employees will assist with tasking or testing.

Deploying Team Members

  • Hannah Allen
  • Eric Morgan
  • Britton Stephens (PI)