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GMD Site Description: SPO


  • Country: United States Country Flag
  • Latitude: 89.98° South
  • Longitude: 24.8° West
  • Elevation: 2810.00 masl
  • Time Zone: Local Time + -12.0 hour(s) = UTC


  • Contact Name: NOAA
  • Address: NOAA/ ESRL Project O-257-S
    South Pole Station
    PSC 768 Box 400, APO AP, 96598-5400, Antarctica
  • Phone: (303) 497-6655
  • Fax: (303) 497-5590


Cooperating Agencies

  • National Science Foundation
The South Pole Observatory was established at the geographical south pole at 2837 m above sea level in 1957 as part of the International Geophysical Year. The South Pole Observatory (SPO) is one of six atmospheric baseline observatories for NOAA's Earth System Research Laboratory, Global Monitoring Division (GMD). The National Science Foundation provides the infrastructure for the NOAA/ESRL scientific operations including a state of the art science building named the Atmospheric Research Observatory opened in 1997. ARO was built to house current atmospheric research and replaced NOAA's Clean Air Facility in operation from 1977 to 1997. Two GMD observatory staff spend one year tours of duty at the station which includes a 9 month period of isolation and six months of darkness. Atmospheric data has been collected from South Pole since the International Geophysical Year (IGY), 1957 - 1958.

GMD Projects at South Pole, Antarctica

Carbon Cycle Surface Flasks

Parameter Formula First Sample Date Status
Carbon Dioxide CO2 1975-01-21 Ongoing
Methane CH4 1983-02-20 Ongoing
Carbon Monoxide CO 1989-12-15 Ongoing
Molecular Hydrogen H2 1989-12-15 Ongoing
Nitrous Oxide N2O 1997-01-16 Ongoing
Sulfur Hexafluoride SF6 1997-01-16 Ongoing
Carbon-13/Carbon-12 in Carbon Dioxide d13C (CO2) 1993-03-28 Ongoing
Oxygen-18/Oxygen-16 in Carbon Dioxide d18O (CO2) 1993-03-28 Ongoing
Carbon-13/Carbon-12 in Methane d13C (CH4) 1998-01-01 Ongoing
D/H in Methane dD (CH4) 2005-02-11 Terminated - 2010-01-08
Methyl Chloride CH3Cl 2005-01-28 Ongoing
Benzene C6H6 2006-10-15 Ongoing
toluene C7H8 2006-10-15 Ongoing
ethane C2H6 2005-01-28 Ongoing
ethene C2H4 2005-01-28 Ongoing
propane C3H8 2005-01-28 Ongoing
propene C3H6 2005-01-28 Ongoing
i-butane i-C4H10 2005-01-28 Ongoing
n-butane n-C4H10 2005-01-28 Ongoing
i-pentane i-C5H12 2005-01-28 Ongoing
n-pentane n-C5H12 2005-01-28 Ongoing
n-hexane n-C6H14 2005-01-28 Ongoing
Wind Speed ws 1992-01-16 Ongoing
Wind Direction wd 1992-01-16 Ongoing
isoprene C5H8 2006-10-15 Ongoing
Acetylene C2H2 2007-01-01 Ongoing

Carbon Cycle In Situ Observatory

Parameter Formula First Sample Date Status
Carbon Dioxide CO2 1975-11-25 Ongoing

HATS Flask Sampling

Parameter Formula First Sample Date Status
HFC-134a CH2FCF3 1994-03-03 Ongoing
HCFC-22 CHF2Cl 1992-07-04 Ongoing
Methyl Chloride CH3Cl 1995-10-18 Ongoing
HCFC-142b CH3CF2Cl 1992-07-04 Ongoing
Halon-1211 CBrClF2 1992-07-04 Ongoing
methyl bromide CH3Br 1995-10-18 Ongoing
HCFC-141b CH3CCl2F 1993-01-09 Ongoing
CFC-113 CCl2FCClF2 1992-07-04 Ongoing
dichloromethane CH2Cl2 1995-10-18 Ongoing
tetrachloroethylene C2Cl4 1993-02-08 Ongoing
carbonyl sulfide COS 2000-05-15 Ongoing
HFC-152a CH3CHF2 1995-10-18 Ongoing
Halon 1301 CF3Br 2004-02-01 Ongoing
Halon 2402 CBrF2CBrF2 1995-10-18 Ongoing
HFC-143a CH3CF3 2006-12-08 Ongoing
HFC-227ea CF3CHFCF3 2010-11-08 Ongoing
HFC-365mfc CH3CF2CH2CF3 2009-02-25 Ongoing
HFC-125 CHF2CF3 2006-12-08 Ongoing
HFC-32 CH2F2 2008-09-08 Ongoing
Methyl Chloroform CH3CCl3 1992-07-04 Ongoing

HATS In Situ Observatory

Parameter Formula First Sample Date Status
Nitrous Oxide N2O 1998-01-26 Ongoing
Sulfur Hexafluoride SF6 1998-01-26 Ongoing
HCFC-22 CHF2Cl 1998-01-25 Ongoing
CFC-12 CCl2F2 1998-02-23 Ongoing
Methyl Chloride CH3Cl 1999-07-02 Ongoing
HCFC-142b CH3CF2Cl 1998-01-25 Ongoing
Halon-1211 CBrClF2 1998-02-09 Ongoing
CFC-113 CCl2FCClF2 1998-01-30 Ongoing
carbon tetrachloride CCl4 1998-02-10 Ongoing
Methyl Chloroform CH3CCl3 1998-01-30 Ongoing
CFC-11 CCl3F 1998-02-05 Ongoing

Aerosol Surface In-Situ

Parameter Formula First Sample Date Status
Light Scattering Coefficient σsp 1979-01-01 Ongoing
Light Absorption Coefficient σap 1979-01-01 Ongoing
Particle Number Concentration Nt 1974-01-01 Ongoing

Radiation In-Situ Observatory

Parameter Formula First Sample Date Status
Direct Beam 1976-01-01 Ongoing
Shortwave Global 1976-01-01 Ongoing
Diffuse 1995-11-10 Ongoing
Reflected Shortwave 1985-01-01 Ongoing
Downward Longwave 1993-11-21 Ongoing
Upward Longwave 1993-11-21 Ongoing

Surface Ozone

Parameter Formula First Sample Date Status
Ozone O3 1975-01-23 Ongoing

Dobson Total Ozone

Parameter Formula First Sample Date Status
Ozone O3 1963-12-04 Ongoing





Parameter Formula First Sample Date Status
Wind Speed ws 1975-02-21 Ongoing
Wind Direction wd 1975-02-21 Ongoing
Temperature temp 1977-01-01 Ongoing
Ambient Pressure press 1977-01-01 Ongoing
Relative Humidity rh 1977-03-29 Ongoing

Antarctic UV