Antarctic Automatic Weather Station Program

In the 1980's, the University of Wisconsin, Madison began a long-term program of deploying satellite-linked data platforms in Antarctica. Under the direction of Principal Investigator Professor Charles R. Stearns, more than 50 of the Automatic Weather Stations have provided year-round weather data (temperature, pressure, humidity and wind) from locations across the continent.

From 1980 through 1986 I participated in this program as a graduate student and as a Physical Sciences Research Specialist. I had a large measure of responsibility for the planning, procurement, testing, calibration and field deployment of the AWS platforms, and was involved in the logistical operations involving transport of equipment to the Ice, aircraft scheduling and field program management. I deployed more than a dozen AWS platforms and also participated in the ongoing field maintenance and repair of the equipment. In the course of this work I travelled to many remote locations via ski-equipped Hercules and Twin-Otter aircraft and by helicopter. In 1982 I accompanied the French Antarctic Expedition on a 5oo kilometer over-snow traverse to deploy four AWS sites in East Antarctica.

Top Photo: (l to r) Professor Charles Stearns, Mike Savage and Bill Thomson complete an AWS installation on the Ross Ice Shelf.

Center Photo: Dr. Ed Eloranta of the University of Wisconsin riding past Mount Erebus on the way to service an AWS platform at Windless Bight.

Bottom Photo: AWS locations as of 1989

Related Sites

AWS Homepage
AWS Data
Mike Savage