1.4. South Pole Observatory
R. Ramos and M. Boland, NOAA Corps
The Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station is located at 90°S on the Polar Plateau
at an elevation of 2838 m above sea level. The station is managed by the National
Science Foundation (NSF) Office of Polar Programs. CMDL has operated a
South Pole Observatory (SPO) at this station since 1972.
Nearly all of the CMDL projects are housed in the Clean Air Facility (CAF).
The 1996 summer field season marked the last year that a CMDL crew would occupy
the old CAF. Construction began in November 1995 on the Atmospheric
Research Observatory (ARO) and was completed in January 1997. The new
ARO houses CMDLs new CAF, the Biospherical Instruments, Inc., San Diego,
ultraviolet (UV) monitoring instrument, and the University of Illinois lidar
instrument. The ARO also has an additional 25 m2 for future
atmospheric monitoring science.
The ARO was built on a previously surveyed site inside the Clean Air Sector
(CAS), approximately 183 m and grid 070° from the old CAF. In November
1995 the walk-up meteorological (MET) tower was moved. The tower was excavated
from its location along the old CAS boundary line at grid 110° to its new location
along the new CAS boundary line at grid 340°. After the tower was erected
at the new site, all meteorological instruments were reinstalled.
During construction of the ARO, an electrical generator was placed in the
CAS to supply power to the construction site. In addition, numerous vehicles
were required inside the CAS to assist with construction. Most of CMDLs
projects were shut down on January 22, 1997, during the move into the new building.
By February 10, 1997, all projects and equipment were set-up and running in
the ARO building.
A new facility for CMDLs stratospheric ozonesonde and Antarctic
Support Associates (ASA) meteorological program was also constructed in the
1997 summer season. The new building is a heated facility with an inflation
room large enough for CMDLs 540 m3 volume plastic balloons and a
separate data acquisition room. It has unofficially been named the Balloon
Inflation Facility (BIF).
Upgrades to the station electric generators continued through the austral
summers of 1995-1996 and 1996-1997. There were several scheduled blackouts
during this period to facilitate the upgrades.
Data continued to be transferred digitally via satellite throughout the year
with no significant problems encountered. Increased demand from the South
Pole science community is expected to continue. In anticipation of the
removal of the South Pole VAX computer system, all CMDL data and e-mail traffic
were transferred to the UNIX system.
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