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Byrd Station

Byrd Station
Coordinates:
Elevation 1,553 m (5,095 ft)
  closed
Sleds pulled by snowmobiles or dogs provided transportation between camps
McMurdo Station right background (around 1960).

Byrd Station refers to a research station established by the United States during the International Geophysical Year by the U.S. Navy during Operation Deep Freeze II in West Antarctica at 80°S, 120°W (now located at 80°S, 119°W, 1553 m elevation).[1] A joint Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines operation supported an overland tractor train traverse that left out of Little America V in late 1956 to establish the station. The train was led by Army Major Merle Dawson and completed a traverse of 646 miles over unexplored country in Marie Byrd Land to blaze a trail to a spot selected beforehand. The station consisted of a set of four prefabricated buildings and was erected in less than one month by U.S. Navy Seabees.[2] It was commissioned on January 1, 1957. The original station ("Old Byrd") lasted about four years before it began to collapse under the snow. Construction of a second underground station in a nearby location began in 1960, and it was used until 1972. The station was then converted into a summer-only field camp until it was abandoned in 2004-05.[1]

John P. Turtle, an aurora researcher at Byrd Station in 1962, gave his name to Turtle Peak.

The National Science Foundation, which manages the U.S. Antarctic Program (USAP), had plans as of June 2009 to build a new camp to support a number of scientific projects in West Antarctica, including work at Pine Island Glacier. The camp, located about 1,400 kilometers from the USAP's main facility, McMurdo Station, will support up to 50 people and will be used mainly as a "glorified" gas station to support flights in the region. A second field camp near Pine Island Glacier, for a project led by NASA scientist Robert Bindschadler, was also planned. That facility will support helicopter operations to the ice shelf.[3][4]

Contents

  • Climate 1
  • In popular culture 2
  • Notes 3
  • External links 4

Climate

In recent years the station has recorded a warming trend, with warming fastest in its winter and spring. The spot which is in the heart of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet is one of the fastest-warming places on Earth.[5]

Climate data for Byrd Station
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 5.0
(41)
−3.3
(26.1)
−8.9
(16)
−8.3
(17.1)
−8.3
(17.1)
−10.6
(12.9)
−12.2
(10)
−13.9
(7)
−10.0
(14)
−12.8
(9)
−6.1
(21)
1.1
(34)
5.0
(41)
Daily mean °C (°F) −14.6
(5.7)
−20.1
(−4.2)
−27.5
(−17.5)
−30.0
(−22)
−33.1
(−27.6)
−34.4
(−29.9)
−35.4
(−31.7)
−36.3
(−33.3)
−37.3
(−35.1)
−31.5
(−24.7)
−21.9
(−7.4)
−15.4
(4.3)
−28.1
(−18.6)
Record low °C (°F) −28.9
(−20)
−40.0
(−40)
−51.1
(−60)
−56.7
(−70.1)
−61.7
(−79.1)
−61.1
(−78)
−60.6
(−77.1)
−62.2
(−80)
−62.2
(−80)
−58.3
(−72.9)
−43.3
(−45.9)
−34.4
(−29.9)
−62.2
(−80)
Precipitation mm (inches) 6
(0.24)
4
(0.16)
2
(0.08)
1
(0.04)
5
(0.2)
3
(0.12)
2
(0.08)
1
(0.04)
0
(0)
1
(0.04)
2
(0.08)
3
(0.12)
30
(1.18)
Snowfall cm (inches) 5.1
(2.01)
3.0
(1.18)
2.3
(0.91)
0.5
(0.2)
1.8
(0.71)
1.0
(0.39)
0.8
(0.31)
0.3
(0.12)
0.0
(0)
0.3
(0.12)
0.0
(0)
1.3
(0.51)
16.4
(6.46)
Avg. precipitation days (≥ 1.0 mm) 2.4 1.3 0.5 0.3 1.2 1.3 0.5 0.3 0.0 0.0 0.6 1.1 9.5
Source: NOAA[6]


In popular culture

See Marie_Byrd_Land#In_popular_culture

Notes

  1. ^ a b "The Antarctic Sun: Byrd History, June 12, 2009".  
  2. ^ Frazier, P.W., 1957, Across the Frozen Desert to Byrd Station: National Geographic Magazine, v. CXII, p. 383-398.
  3. ^ "The Antarctic Sun: Byrd Camp Resurfaces, June 12, 2009".  
  4. ^ "The Antarctic Sun: Going to the Edge, November 22, 2007".  
  5. ^ West Antarctica warming fast; Temperature record from high-altitude station shows unexpectedly rapid rise December 21, 2012 Science News
  6. ^ "Byrd Station Climate Normals 1961-1990".  

External links

  • The Antarctic Sun (Online newspaper of the U.S. Antarctic Program)
  • COMNAP Antarctic Facilities
  • COMNAP Antarctic Facilities Map

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