Meteo-Climatological Observatory, Programma Nazionale di Richerche in Antartide, Italy
Data Center Description
The main goal of the meteorological observatory is the collection of continuous and accurate measurements. This will produce a data set that could be used for meteo-climatological and atmospheric studies, local weather forecasting, and supporting scientific activities that use meteorological data. Therefore, during Antarctic expeditions, the main jobs are to carry out the maintenance of the automatic weather survey stations, recover the data collected locally by solid state memories (ground data), undertake atmospheric soundings (in order to collect data from upper atmospheric layers), and maintain equipment used in the Terra Nova Bay meteorological office.
Besides checking the mechanical installations (mast, batteries, etc.), the maintenance normally includes the control of the electronic parts (data acquisition system, central processing unit, etc.) and the sensors. The values of pressure, temperature and relative humidity are compared with those measured by calibrated instruments. Wind speed and direction sensors that are not working correctly, due to deterioration of moving mechanical parts, are replaced. Recently, stations located on the Antarctic Plateau were equipped with sensors for the measurement of snow accumulation/ablation.
In 1987, an atmospheric radiosounding station was installed, at the meteorological laboratory of the Italian base. The system includes a meteorological station for data collection at ground level and a receiving ground station (VAISALA Marwin 12), which receives data transmitted via radio by the sonde and stores them in a computer with dedicated software that shows the real-time trend of the measured parameters. The data received are stored in ASCII files, and then coded in the standard meteorological format TEMP, to be sent to the Global Communication System of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO-GTS). While in Antarctica, two balloons are launched every day at 00:00 and 12:00 UTC to measure temperature, pressure relative humidity and wind between 20 and 30km high.
During the operation of the runway in Tethys Bay, Terra Nova Bay meteorological office needs particular instruments to complete the information that is to be communicated to the pilots during approach and landing. As a result, at the beginning of each expedition a CT12K VAISALA ceilometer is installed to measure the height of the cloud base and, a couple of anemometric towers (Alfa and Bravo) are installed to measure wind speed and direction. These instruments are connected to monitors in the Meteorological Office via modem (ceilometer) and via radio (anemometer).