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McMurdo Station Weather
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NOTE: Camera images are often obscured due to harsh and unpredictable weather conditions.
McMurdo Station (77°51'S, 166°40'E), the main U.S. station in Antarctica, is a coastal station at the southern tip of Ross Island, about 3,864 km (2,415 miles) south of Christchurch, New Zealand, and 1,360 km (850 miles) north of the South Pole. The original station was built in 1955 to 1956 for the International Geophysical Year. Today's station is the primary logistics facility for supply of inland stations and remote field camps, and is also the waste management center for much of the U.S. Antarctic Program. Year-round and summer science projects are supported at McMurdo.
The station has a harbor, landing strips on the sea ice and shelf ice, and a helicopter pad. The three airfields-the annual sea-ice runway, Pegasus White Ice Runway, and Williams Field Skiway-are used at different times of the year for different reasons. Repair facilities, dormitories, administrative buildings, a firehouse, power plant, water distillation plant, wharf, stores, clubs, warehouses, a science support center, and the first-class, 4,320 square-meter Crary Lab are linked by above-ground water, sewer, telephone, and power lines.
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The mean annual temperature is -18°C (0°F). Temperatures may reach 8°C (46°F) in summer and -50°C (-58°F) in winter. The average wind is 12 knots, but winds have exceeded 100 knots.
Research in multiple fields is performed at and near McMurdo Station, including Aeronomy and Astrophysics, Organisms and Ecosystems, Earth Sciences, Glaciology and Glacial Geology, Integrated System Science, and Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences. Participants of the Antarctic Artists and Writers Program also work at sites in the area. For information about projects supported at McMurdo Station--and based from McMurdo, such as deep field projects in East and West Antarctica--see the USAP Science Planning Summaries on the Science Support page. Historical information on previous seasons can be found at the Science Planning Summaries Archives.