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Collaborative Research: Antarctic Automatic Weather Station Program

As we approach the end of the decade, the international scientific community is taking on the systematic study of the Earth’s polar regions during the International Polar Year (IPY). One primary goal of the IPY is to leave a legacy of observing sites, facilities and systems to support ongoing polar research and monitoring. We propose to contribute to this and future efforts by continuing to build, install, and maintain an Automatic Weather Station (AWS) network and make observations from these stations available freely to the community. This network and its observations already provide critical support to the scientific, operational and educational communities. We will use the observations to examine some specific phenomena including but not limited to Antarctic El Nino-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) monitoring, Ross Ice Shelf near surface wind flow, numerical simulations of precipitation distributions, long term and regional climatology studies, and latent and sensible heat flux and boundary layer studies during the three-year period of this proposal. Observational data sets from the AWS network will be processed with new quality control software and a selection of AWS sites will become a part of the World Meteorological Organization’s long-term climate network. This effort supports the United States Antarctic Program (USAP) research and operations, and will further help advance the understanding of Antarctic meteorology and climate as well as illustrate Antarctica’s role in the global climate system.

NSF logoThis research is supported by the National Science Foundation.

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Project Participants

University of Colorado
John Cassano
Melissa Nigro (Melissa.Richards@Colorado.EDU)

Providence College
Mark Seefeldt (

University of Wisconsin-Madison
Matthew Lazzara (
Gregory Tripoli
George Weidner