Mission belge Antarctique 2018

Month: November 2018

How to get to Princess Elisabeth Station?

By Hugues Goosse

The Princess Elisabeth Station is located at a latitude of 71° 57′ 00″ South and a longitude of 23° 20′ 51″ East. It is thus more or less at the same longitude as Warsaw, in Poland, but nearly 14 000 km southward.

The easiest way for us to get there is first to fly from Brussels to Cape Town in South Africa. Those first two-thirds of the trip can thus be done using a standard airline company.

Image F. Klein.

The flight to Antarctica is operated by a specialized company. In our case, the Ilyushin 76 TD-90 used by the Antarctic Logistic Centre International (ALCI) will take us first to the Russian base of Novolazarevskaya ( usually called Novo for simplicity) in five and a half hours.

Aerological complex at the Russian Antarctic station Novolazarevskaya. Pic: Tsy1980



Test build and public presentation, September 2007 of Princess Elisabeth Station Pic: Ben2

A second flight of about one hour will finally bring us to Princess Elisabeth Station. Sometimes, when the flight schedule is very busy or weather depending, we might have to spend a few nights at the “Novo “airport” before flying out to Princess Elisabeth Station.

Movie of the plane leaving Novo filmed by Stef Lhermitte in 2017

Why going to Antarctica?

By Hugues Goosse

Satellite view of the region where we will collect observations obtained by Stef Lhermitte using the Sentinel playground https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground

We hope that the previous post has convinced you of the interest of studying Antarctica. However, going there is expensive, time consuming and poses huge logistics problems. Does it really worth the money and the efforts while we have now a large amount of satellite data and numerical models that provide us with a more a more detailed picture of the whole continent?

Unfortunately, satellites cannot observe all the variables. They are able to detect some signals from the surface but cannot estimate subsurface changes or the composition of the snow. Furthermore, satellite sensors can be influenced by many factors. It is thus necessary to compare their observations with the ground truth to calibrate the measurements.

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On the way to Antarctica !

by Jean-Louis Tison and the Mass2Ant team

Our scientific equipment begins a perilous journey to Princess Elisabeth Station: Brussels, Cape Town, Novolazarevskaya, Princess Elisabeth Station! … Our 20 boxes have been consolidated with cargo of the International Polar Foundation (IPF), which manages the logistics and the operation of the Belgian Base. This year we have sent only 600 kg of material .. we travel light! ..

Let’s cross fingers!

Why studying Antarctica ?

by Hugues Goosse

Antarctica and the Southern Ocean are among the most remote places on Earth. Because of their beauty and mysteries, they have since their discovery received a lot of attention from explorers and scientists as well as from the general public.

Scientific research in Antarctica was initially motivated by improving our knowledge of the polar regions and by the protection of this pristine environment as a heritage for Humanity. However, it was quickly recognized that the high latitudes of the Southern Hemisphere have a global impact on the Earth System.

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