Scott Base

Last updated

Scott Base
Scott Base from air.jpg
Aerial photograph of Scott Base looking towards Observation Hill.
Antarctica relief location map.jpg
Red pog.svg
Scott Base
Location of Scott Base in Antarctica
Coordinates: 77°50′57″S166°46′06″E / 77.849132°S 166.768196°E / -77.849132; 166.768196 Coordinates: 77°50′57″S166°46′06″E / 77.849132°S 166.768196°E / -77.849132; 166.768196
CountryFlag of New Zealand.svg  New Zealand
Location in Antarctica Ross Island
Ross Dependency
Antarctica
Administered by Antarctica New Zealand
Established20 January 1957;63 years ago (1957-01-20)
Named for Captain Robert Falcon Scott, RN
Elevation
[1]
10 m (30 ft)
Population
[1]
  Total
  • Summer: 85
  • Winter: 10
Time zone UTC+12 (NZST)
  Summer (DST) UTC+13 (NZDST)
TypeAll year-round
PeriodAnnual
StatusOperational
Website antarcticanz.govt.nz/scott-base

Scott Base is a New Zealand Antarctic research facility located at Pram Point on Ross Island near Mount Erebus in New Zealand's Ross Dependency territorial claim. The research facility was named in honour of Captain Robert Falcon Scott, RN, leader of two British expeditions to the Ross Sea area of Antarctica. The base was set up as support to field research and the centre for research into earth sciences, and now conducts research in many fields, operated by Antarctica New Zealand.

Contents

By road, the base is 3 kilometres (1.9 mi) from the larger U.S. McMurdo Station.

Base history

Aerial photograph of Scott Base, Ross Island, Antarctica. Scott Base, Antarctica, Jan 2006.jpg
Aerial photograph of Scott Base, Ross Island, Antarctica.
Annotated view over Scott Base, also showing McMurdo Station and the McMurdo Ice Shelf Mcmurdo oli 2013334.jpg
Annotated view over Scott Base, also showing McMurdo Station and the McMurdo Ice Shelf
Scott Base Scott base in antarctica.jpg
Scott Base
Sign for Scott Base on road to McMurdo Station Scott Base Sign.jpg
Sign for Scott Base on road to McMurdo Station

Scott Base was originally constructed in support of the UK inspired and privately managed Commonwealth Trans-Antarctic Expedition (TAE). The New Zealand government provided support for the TAE and also for the International Geophysical Year (IGY) project of 1957, five of whose members were attached to the Expedition. In February 1956, 10 months before the TAE and IGY parties were due to head to the Antarctic, Frank Ponder, an architect at the NZ Ministry of Works, was given the task of designing the base. Ponder's design consisted of six main buildings and three smaller scientific labs. The main buildings were to be placed at least 7 metres apart because of fire risk but were linked to one another by a covered way of galvanised iron. Three New Zealand observers who were also given the task of selecting the site for a base went to McMurdo Sound with the United States "Operation Deep Freeze I" in the summer of 1955. After evaluating possible sites, a location near Butter Point was chosen. This was later changed to Pram Point as it provided better access for offloading supplies from the Expedition ship HMNZS Endeavour and also allowed for the operation of the critical RNZAF Antarctic Flight on a nearby ice runway. The base looks out over what is now known as Haskell Strait. Scott Base passed over to NZ Government ownership via the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research (DSIR), on 5 March 1958, at the conclusion of the TAE.

During the IGY the United States facility at Hut Point did not operate as a scientific base. It was the New Zealand expedition’s responsibility to furnish the important scientific data (auroral, ionospheric, seismic, etc.), linking the McMurdo area research activities with those of the United States Pole Station and the joint United States-New Zealand station at Cape Hallett, Victoria Land.

In 1958, following completion of the TAE and IGY, New Zealand made the decision to continue to operate Scott Base for scientific research, much of which depends upon the continuity of recorded data over a period of years. In order to maintain operations, a base rebuilding programme began in 1976. As of 2008, the only original building is the TAE 'A' mess hut, which contains material recording New Zealand's involvement in Antarctica since 1957. In 2005 the two-story high Hillary Field Centre was commissioned, increasing the floor area of Scott Base by 1800 square metres and providing work areas to support field parties as well as additional office space. The building was officially opened by then-Foreign Minister Phil Goff and Sir Edmund Hillary.

The leader of Scott Base for the 1964-65 season, Adrian Hayter, published a personal memoir of his experience. [2] He was preceded as Leader by Russell Rawle [3] and followed by Mike Prebble. [4] These three leaders are commemorated with Rawle Glacier, Mount Hayter and Prebble Glacier, assuming the leader in 1965-66 was on the base support party of 1961-62.

From 1957 until 1986, dogs played a part in base operations. Initially they were an essential means of transport, but with better technology their importance dwindled until they were removed in line with environmental treaties.

Scientific diving operations began in 1985. [5] Between 1985 and 2006, a total of 1,296 had been logged. [6]

Historic site

The A Hut of Scott Base is the only existing Commonwealth Trans-Antarctic Expedition (1956–1957) building in Antarctica. It has been designated a Historic Site or Monument (HSM 75), following a proposal by New Zealand to the Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting. [7]

The base today

The base is made up of a collection of Chelsea Cucumber green [8] buildings which are linked by all-weather corridors. These buildings can accommodate 85 people over summer, with a "skeleton staff" of between 10 and 14 people remaining over the winter.

Like nearby McMurdo Station, Scott Base is connected to the global telephone network via a Satellite Earth Station operated by Spark New Zealand, located approximately 3 kilometres (1.9 mi) away at Arrival Heights. Spark NZ also provide phone services to McMurdo[ citation needed ] for calls to New Zealand as well as to the Italian Programme at Terra Nova Bay. McMurdo Station has an independent communications infrastructure located at Black Island and linked to Ross Island via microwave. In support of the future of New Zealand’s Antarctic science programme, the base will be redeveloped. In June 2019 the Government committed NZ$18.5 million (US$12.4 million) for the next phase of the Scott Base Redevelopment project. Jasmax and Hugh Broughton Architects came up with the architectural design. [9]

Scott Base is today operated by Antarctica New Zealand. Three Enercon E-33 wind turbines (330 kilowatts (440 hp) each) were deployed in 2009 to power Scott Base and McMurdo Station, reducing diesel consumption by 11% or 463,000 litres (102,000 imp gal; 122,000 US gal) per year. [10] [11]

Climate

A pressure ridge in the Antarctic ice near Scott Base, with lenticular clouds in the sky. Pressure ridges Scott Base lrg.jpg
A pressure ridge in the Antarctic ice near Scott Base, with lenticular clouds in the sky.

A polar ice cap climate with evenly-distributed precipitation (Köppen EFf) prevails at Scott Base. The base has fairly typical weather conditions for coastal Antarctica, with minimum temperatures around −45 °C (−49 °F) and summer maximum only occasionally above freezing point. It is exposed to the full strength of southerly blizzards, although overall it is less windy than McMurdo Station. The maximum wind velocities experienced have been gusts up to 185 kilometres per hour (115 mph) with steady velocities under blizzard conditions of 95–115 kilometres per hour (59–71 mph). The highest recorded temperature was 6.8 °C (44.2 °F), the coolest −57 °C (−71 °F) and the mean temperature −19.6 °C (−3.3 °F). [12]

Climate data for Scott Base (1981−2010)
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecYear
Average high °C (°F)−1.2
(29.8)
−8.0
(17.6)
−15.9
(3.4)
−18.7
(−1.7)
−20.0
(−4.0)
−20.1
(−4.2)
−22.5
(−8.5)
−23.4
(−10.1)
−21.3
(−6.3)
−15.6
(3.9)
−7.2
(19.0)
−1.2
(29.8)
−14.6
(5.7)
Daily mean °C (°F)−4.5
(23.9)
−11.6
(11.1)
−20.6
(−5.1)
−24.2
(−11.6)
−25.7
(−14.3)
−26.0
(−14.8)
−28.7
(−19.7)
−30.0
(−22.0)
−27.6
(−17.7)
−20.8
(−5.4)
−11.3
(11.7)
−4.5
(23.9)
−19.6
(−3.3)
Average low °C (°F)−7.9
(17.8)
−15.3
(4.5)
−25.3
(−13.5)
−29.7
(−21.5)
−31.4
(−24.5)
−31.9
(−25.4)
−34.9
(−30.8)
−36.6
(−33.9)
−34.0
(−29.2)
−26.0
(−14.8)
−15.3
(4.5)
−7.9
(17.8)
−24.7
(−12.5)
Average precipitation mm (inches)18
(0.7)
21
(0.8)
14
(0.6)
16
(0.6)
23
(0.9)
22
(0.9)
13
(0.5)
12
(0.5)
11
(0.4)
13
(0.5)
12
(0.5)
9
(0.4)
184
(7.2)
Source 1: NIWA Climate Data [13]
Source 2: Weatherbase [14]

See also

Related Research Articles

Transport in Antarctica has transformed from explorers crossing the isolated remote area of Antarctica by foot to a more open era due to human technologies enabling more convenient and faster transport, predominantly by air and water, as well as land. Transportation technologies on a remote area like Antarctica need to be able to deal with extremely low temperatures and continuous winds to ensure the travelers' safety. Due to the fragility of the Antarctic environment, only a limited amount of transport movements can take place and sustainable transportation technologies have to be used to reduce the ecological footprint. The infrastructure of land, water and air transport needs to be safe and sustainable. Currently thousands of tourists and hundreds of scientists a year depend on the Antarctic transportation system.

Ross Dependency New Zealands territorial claim in Antarctica

The Ross Dependency is a region of Antarctica defined by a sector originating at the South Pole, passing along longitudes 160° east to 150° west, and terminating at latitude 60° south. It is claimed by New Zealand. Since the Antarctic Treaty came into force in 1961, Article IV of which states: "No acts or activities taking place while the present Treaty is in force shall constitute a basis for asserting, supporting or denying a claim to territorial sovereignty in Antarctica or create any rights of sovereignty in Antarctica", most countries do not recognise territorial claims in Antarctica.

McMurdo Station American Antarctic base

The McMurdo Station is a United States Antarctic research station on the south tip of Ross Island, which is in the New Zealand–claimed Ross Dependency on the shore of McMurdo Sound in Antarctica. It is operated by the United States through the United States Antarctic Program, a branch of the National Science Foundation. The station is the largest community in Antarctica, capable of supporting up to 1,258 residents, and serves as one of three year-round United States Antarctic science facilities. All personnel and cargo going to or coming from Amundsen–Scott South Pole Station first pass through McMurdo. By road, McMurdo is 3 kilometres from New Zealand's smaller Scott Base.

Amundsen–Scott South Pole Station US scientific research station at the South Pole, Antarctica

The Amundsen–Scott South Pole Station is a United States scientific research station at the South Pole, the southernmost place on the Earth. It is the southernmost point under the jurisdiction of the United States. The station is located on the high plateau of Antarctica at an elevation of 2,835 metres above sea level and is administered by the Division of Polar Programs within the National Science Foundation under the United States Antarctic Program (USAP). It is named in honor of Norwegian Roald Amundsen and Englishman Robert F. Scott, who led separate teams that raced to become the first to the South Pole in the early 1900s.

McMurdo Sound

McMurdo Sound and its ice-clogged waters extends about 55 kilometres (34 mi) long and wide. The sound connects the Ross Sea to the north with the Ross Ice Shelf cavity to the south via Haskell Strait. The strait is largely covered by the McMurdo Ice Shelf. The Royal Society Range rises from sea level to 4,205 metres (13,796 ft) on the western shoreline. Ross Island, an historic jumping-off point for polar explorers, designates the eastern boundary. The active volcano Mount Erebus at 3,794 metres (12,448 ft) dominates Ross Island. Antarctica's largest scientific base, the United States' McMurdo Station, as well as the New Zealand Scott Base are on the southern shore of the island. Less than 10 percent of McMurdo Sound's shoreline is free of ice. It is the southernmost navigable body of water in the world.

Timeline of New Zealands links with Antarctica wikimedia timeline article

This is a timeline of the history of New Zealand's involvement with Antarctica.

United States Antarctic Program

The United States Antarctic Program is an organization of the United States government which has presence in the continent of Antarctica. Founded in 1959, the USAP manages all U.S. scientific research and related logistics in Antarctica as well as aboard ships in the Southern Ocean.

Henryk Arctowski Polish Antarctic Station Antarctic base in King George Island

Henryk Arctowski Polish Antarctic Station is a Polish research station on King George Island, off the coast of Antarctica.

Research stations in Antarctica Research stations in Antarctica

A number of governments have set up permanent research stations in Antarctica and these bases are widely distributed. Unlike the drifting ice stations set up in the Arctic, the research stations of the Antarctic are constructed either on rock or on ice that is fixed in place.

Marble Point Antarctic base in the United States

Marble Point is a rocky promontory on the coast of Victoria Land, Antarctica, located at 77° 26' S latitude and 163° 50' E longitude. The United States operates a station at the point. The outpost is used as a helicopter refueling station supporting scientific research in the nearby continental interior such as the McMurdo Dry Valleys. Weather permitting, helicopters are able to fly in and out of the station 24 hours a day during the summer research season.

Winter Quarters Bay

Winter Quarters Bay is a small cove of McMurdo Sound, Antarctica, located 2,200 miles (3,500 km) due south of New Zealand at 77°50'S. The harbor is the southernmost port in the Southern Ocean and features a floating ice pier for summer cargo operations. The bay is approximately 250m wide and long, with a maximum depth of 33m. The name Winter Quarters Bay refers to Robert Falcon Scott's National Antarctic Discovery Expedition (1901–04) which wintered at the site for two seasons.

Byrd Station Former Antarctic base

The Byrd Station is a former research station established by the United States during the International Geophysical Year by U.S. Navy Seabees during Operation Deep Freeze II in West Antarctica.

Captain Arturo Prat Base Antarctic base

Captain Arturo Prat Base is a Chilean Antarctic research station located at Iquique Cove, Greenwich Island in the South Shetland Islands, Antarctica.

Many Antarctic research stations support satellite field camps which are, in general, seasonal camps. The type of field camp can vary – some are permanent structures used during the annual Antarctic summer, whereas others are little more than tents used to support short term activities. Field camps are used for many things, from logistics to dedicated scientific research.

Discovery Hut Antarctic camp

Discovery Hut was built by Robert Falcon Scott during the Discovery Expedition of 1901–1904 in 1902 and is located at Hut Point on Ross Island by McMurdo Sound, Antarctica. Visitors to Antarctica, arriving at either the US Base at McMurdo or New Zealand's Scott Base are likely to encounter Discovery Hut as both are located on Hut Point. Discovery Hut is just 300m from McMurdo Base. The hut has been designated a Historic Site or Monument, following a proposal by New Zealand and the United Kingdom to the Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting.

Arrival Heights

Arrival Heights are clifflike heights which extend in a north-east–south-west direction along the west side of Hut Point Peninsula, just north of Hut Point in Ross Island, Antarctica. They were discovered and named by the British National Antarctic Expedition, 1901–04, under Robert Falcon Scott. The name suggests the expedition's arrival at its winter headquarters at nearby Hut Point.

The New Zealand Antarctic Research Programme (NZARP) was a research program that operated a permanent research facility in Antarctica from 1959 to 1996. It was created by the Geophysics Division of New Zealand's Department of Scientific and Industrial Research (DSIR), originally based in Wellington. The programme promoted research in geochemistry, zoology, geology, botany, meteorology, and limnology.

Michelle Rogan-Finnemore American geologist

Michelle Rogan-Finnemore is a New Zealand-American science administrator, and currently the Executive Secretary of the Council of Managers of National Antarctic Programmes (COMNAP) which is the international association which brings together the National Antarctic Programs that make up its members. She is also the namesake of Finnemore Peak.

Firefighting in Antarctica encompasses various organizations and procedures designed to fight fires on the continent of Antarctica. Firefighting in Antarctica is complicated by the harsh conditions of the continent, the remoteness of the locations to be serviced, and the importance of protecting life-supporting shelter from immolation.

Marie Darby New Zealand marine biologist

Marion Marie Stringer Darby was a New Zealand marine biologist and teacher. She was the first New Zealand woman to visit the Antarctic mainland. In January 1968, she travelled on the Magga Dan, the first tourist vessel to the Ross Sea, and visited Scott Base with other staff and tourists. She prepared a checklist of sub-Antarctic birds for the information of tourists on board and later wrote an article on summer seabirds to be seen between New Zealand and McMurdo Sound. Mt Darby in Antarctica is named after her.

References

  1. 1 2 "Scott Base". Antarctica New Zealand . New Zealand Government. 2016. Retrieved 11 July 2016.
  2. Hayter, Adrian. The Year of the Quiet Sun: One year at Scott Base, Antarctica: a personal impression. Hadder and Stoughton, 1968, London, p. 76
  3. Hayter, p.31.
  4. Hayter, p. 181
  5. Mercer, Steve (2000). "Antarctic lake diving with the semi-closed rebreather". In: Hallock and French (eds). Diving for Science...2000. Proceedings of the 20th Annual Scientific Diving Symposium, American Academy of Underwater Sciences. St Pete Beach, Florida. Retrieved 8 June 2013.
  6. Pollock, Neal W (2007). "Scientific diving in Antarctica: history and current practice". Diving and Hyperbaric Medicine. 37: 204–11. Retrieved 8 June 2013.
  7. "List of Historic Sites and Monuments approved by the ATCM (2012)" (PDF). Antarctic Treaty Secretariat. 2012. Retrieved 6 January 2014.
  8. http://www.scottbase50years.co.nz/faq/faq2.htm
  9. Morton, Jamie (28 June 2019). "Plans for new-look Scott Base revealed". NZ Herald. Retrieved 15 July 2019.
  10. "Ross Island Wind Energy". Antarctica New Zealand . New Zealand Government. 2016. Retrieved 28 September 2015.
  11. "New Zealand Wind Energy Association". Wind Energy. Archived from the original on 17 November 2013. Retrieved 6 November 2013.
  12. Mackintosh, Lesley (2013). "How cold is the Antarctic?". NIWA. Retrieved 11 July 2016.
  13. "Temperature Data and Activities". NIWA. Retrieved 19 October 2013.
  14. "Precipitation Data". Weatherbase. Retrieved 3 May 2020.

Scott Base 50th Anniversary Website

NZ Antarctic Research