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

Project Title

Collaborative Research: Antarctic automatic weather station program

Matt Lazzara checks an Automatic Weather System. Photo by Matthew Lazzara. Image courtesy of NSF/USAP Photo Library. Creative Commons CC BY-NC-ND 4.0
O-283-M Research Location(s): Ross Ice Shelf


Event Number:

Program Director:
Dr. David Porter

ASC POC/Implementer:
Judy Shiple / Jenny Cunningham

Principal Investigator(s)

Dr. Matthew Lazzara
University of Wisconsin Madison
Space Science and Engineering Center/AMRC


Supporting Stations: McMurdo Station
Research Locations: Ross Ice Shelf


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 in real-time and increase our understanding of the climate of the Antarctic surface. The activities for this project will be focused on the care of the AWS network, the establishment of an advisory board, student engagement, and outreach activities. This project aims to continue to maintain and operate the AWS network. This effort will upgrade the real-time AWS processing, keep abreast of evolving communication methods, and have the data distributed widely. Prior NSF investments in the Polar Climate and Weather Station will be leveraged with the development of a more robust version that can be reliably utilized year-round in Antarctica. The observations will be quality-controlled and placed into a database where the public will be able to search and select observations. A test system of different radiation shields (with and without aspiration) will be deployed for one year at South Pole Station. This is to resolve conflicting radiation shield bias corrections of historical data, but also to inform optimal setup for temperature observations going forward. The project will be advised by a group of peers with the development of an AWS Advisory Board. A concerted effort to engage the public will be undertaken via scaled-up interactions with television meteorologists from several states across the United States to bring Antarctica to the public.

Field Season Overview

This season, a team of two will deploy from late October to December to service the AWS stations on the Ross Ice Shelf (via Twin Otter) and in the Ross Island region (via helicopter). A second team of two will deploy from early December through early February to work on weather stations in West Antarctica via Twin Otter, as well as potentially assist O-400-M Cassano work at Siple Dome. AWS participants will also work on weather stations at Williams Field, Phoenix airfield, and Windless Bight, all accessed using land based transportation. In addition to servicing the AWS stations, the AWS team will make upgrades if time and resources allow. The team will also install a new server at McMurdo Station and work on the SDI-104 systems located at McMurdo Station. ASC Research Associate support is required throughout the year to monitor and maintain the McMurdo Station-based data systems.

Deploying Team Members

  • Marian Mateling
  • Taylor Norton
  • Lee Welhouse