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The Laurence M. Gould Docked at Palmer Station
The Palmer Station Webcam
The Palmer Station Webcam is mounted on the Terra Lab building, overlooking the smallest of the United States Antarctic stations and includes views of
Arthur Harbour and the Bismarck Strait beyond. Storage containers, dormitories, and research facilities can all be seen in the image. In addition to
regular visits by the research vessel Laurence M. Gould, cruise ships and other visitors to Antarctica can often be seen.
Most research at Palmer Station is conducted during the austral summer (October to March), when days are long, ice cover is low, and
organisms are abundant. Scientists study many of the marine and terrestrial organisms that inhabit the local area, including bacteria,
algae, invertebrates, fish and birds.
The area is part of the National Science Foundation's Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) Program.
Since 1990, this multi-disciplinary project has focused on studying the effects of changing sea-ice cover, a potential indicator of
global climate change, on the structure and function of the region's marine ecosystem. Palmer Station also participates in data collection
for worldwide environmental monitoring networks. Onsite instruments measure seismic activity, atmospheric characteristics, and very-low-frequency
(VLF) radio waves. Satellite images processed at Palmer Station are used to understand and map regional sea ice conditions, weather patterns,
and phytoplankton concentrations in the ocean.
An Adélie parent guards a newly-hatched chick
The Torgersen Island Penguin Webcam
The Penguin Webcam is located on Torgersen Island (64°46°S, 64°04°W), off the coast of Anvers Island and less than a mile from
Palmer Station. Torgersen Island is home to a colony of Adélie penguins numbering approximately 2,500. This webcam is seasonal and
operates primarily from October to February, the Adélie breeding season. The webcam is solar-powered and may sometimes experience brief
outages due to inclement weather.
Torgersen Island Location map
During the webcam's operational period, both adult birds and chicks can be seen. An Adélie breeding pair will often take turns caring
for chicks while the other takes to the sea to feed on krill. While primarily home to Adélies, other penguins can sometimes be seen on
Torgersen Island, including Gentoo and Chinstrap penguins.
For more information on the penguin colonies on Torgersen Island, see the
Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) Program,
Penguin Science, and
Oceanites web sites. Also see the
Torgersen Island Visitor Site Guide at the
Antarctic Treaty Secretariat pages. Educational materials can be found at the
LTER Outreach pages.
Fetching Weather Data...
NOTE: The webcam image is often obscured due to harsh and unpredictable weather conditions.
Located on Anvers Island near the Antarctic Peninsula, Palmer Station (64° 46°S, 64° 03°W) is named for
Nathaniel B. Palmer, who in 1820 on a sealing expedition in his 47-foot (14-meter) ship the Hero
became the first American to record sighting Antarctica. The original station was built in 1965. In 1967, the
U.S. Navy began construction of the current larger and more permanent station approximately a mile east
of the original site. The first building at the new station, the biology laboratory, opened its doors to science
in 1970. Today, two main buildings and several smaller structures make up Palmer Station and provide
housing and research facilities for scientists and support personnel. Of the three U.S. Antarctic stations,
Palmer is the only one that is accessed routinely during the winter.
With ice cliffs rising above Arthur Harbor and the station, the Marr Ice Piedmont covers Anvers Island. The
highest mountains on the island are Mt. Francais (9,055 feet/2,760 meters) and Mt. Agamemnon (8,438 feet/2,572 meters).
Additional Links and Resources
Average temperatures are 36° F (2° C) in austral summer and 14° F (-10° C) in austral winter. The station
frequently experiences high winds, sometimes reaching 70 knots or more. Average annual precipitation is
13 feet (4 meters) of snow and 30 in (76 cm) of rain. Palmer Station lies outside the Antarctic Circle, so in
the middle of austral winter there are five hours of light during each day. Conversely, the austral summer
brings long days of 19 hours of light and 5 of twilight. These changes in light influence seasonal cycles of
temperature, weather, sea ice formation, and the organisms that live in this area. The station supports science
year-round and accommodates about 20 people in the winter and up to 44 in the austral summer. There are dormitory
bedrooms, communal bathrooms, and a cafeteria-style kitchen. Everyone helps clean, and many participate in weekly
science lectures and social events.
To find out more about life at U.S. Antarctic research stations, see the
Around the Continent section of
The Antarctic Sun.