Tuesday, April 16, 2013

South Pole ARO Lab in the Clean Sector

Winter has officially started at the South Pole with a depression of the "Winter Switch" in the Atmospheric Research Observatory (ARO), an Earth Systems Research Lab of the Global Monitoring Division (GMD) which is part of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). 

The Atmospheric Research Observatory (ARO) at the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station is a National Science Foundation facility used in support of scientific research related to atmospheric phenomena.  ARO is located approximately five hundred meters grid east-northeast of the main station, physically separated and generally upwind of all other station facilities. 

GMD's mission involves answering key scientific questions in three areas of research -- Climate Forcing, Ozone Depletion, and Air Quality. By asking critical scientific questions and conducting detailed and carefully designed research addressing these three themes, GMD scientists provide a basis for assessing the prospects of change in the global climate or in the health of the atmosphere, both of which can significantly affect human health and well being across the globe. GMD is dedicated to acquire, evaluate, and make available accurate, long-term records of atmospheric gases, aerosol particles, and solar radiation in a manner that allows the causes of climate change to be understood.

Atmospheric Research Observatory

The official Winter Switch.

It is now Winter!

Monitoring the air quality at the South Pole.

The South Pole Light Detection and Ranging (LIDaR). A laser beam is sent into the sky to detect the levels of clouds.

Part of the air sampling equipment.

We were given a small bottle to take home a sample of the "Cleanest air in the world".

Corking the bottle.

The sun elevation is now -7 degrees.

This ozone measuring equipment is called the Dobson Ozone Spectrophotometer built in the 1920's. It is still used today to measure total ozone from the ground. The cart is rolled around and a prism on top of the device collects ozone from one of five windows that open. 

This device measures and collects black carbon (soot) in the air.

Surface ozone measuring.

Surface ozone collection.

This devices sits on the roof during the summer and tracks the sun. The small black disk to the right (on the arm) blocks the sun as measurements are taken.

This Dobson Ozone Spectrophotometer is 1920's technology...except for the laptop.

To the right of the laptop is the prism that is pointed outside of an open window.

Originally a piece of trace paper was attached to this wheel to record measurements. Today the laptop is used.

The AERO Lab with the moon to the right.

1 comment:

  1. Need to find the world's worst air and combine the two to make the world's most mediocre air!