ColdFacts-3000BX Weather Station Performance Test

Partners ColdFacts, Leap Development, Delft University of Technology

Surface observations in Antarctica are becoming increasingly important, both for scientific and logistical reasons, but there are currently only about 160 weather stations in Antarctica (many of which concentrated in one small area in the vicinity of the Ross Ice Shelf). This is a very small number, given that Antarctica’s area is around 50% larger than that of the United States.

Weighing just 9kg, the ColdFacts-3000BX has a foldable design capable of retracting to only about a meter in length. It can transmit information on temperature, humidity, barometric pressure, wind speed, and wind direction, nearly 50 times per day.

It can transmit information on temperature, humidity, barometric pressure, wind speed, and wind direction, nearly 50 times per day.

While the capabilities of the station are slightly more limited than many of the sophisticated systems deployed permanently on the continent, the ColdFacts-3000BX is very lightweight and can be deployed with ease by an explorer or scientist in the field, even if they have little or no logistical support.

The ColdFacts-3000BX is the first ColdFacts beacon to be deployed in Antarctica, with previous versions being deployed primarily on the Arctic Ocean. The instrument has been in development for over 10 years, with the first model being deployed on the 2005 Pole Track expedition to the North Pole by Willis Resilience Expedition team leader Doug Stoup and polar explorer Marc Cornelissen (who leads the ColdFacts platform).

The weather station will be deployed near Union Glacier camp (79°46’S 82°52’W) on November 24th 2013, and tested over a period of approximately five weeks, before being removed from the continent at the beginning of the new year. The data will be compared with data collected by sophisticated and robust weather stations already in place nearby. The deployment will provide insight into performance of the station in Antarctic conditions and pave the way for future permanent deployments across the continent.