Winter-over Meteorlogist at the South Pole

Shortly after receiving my Master's degree in Meteorology from the University of Wisconsin, I was appointed as the winter-over Meteorologist-in-Charge at the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station in Antarctica. I joined a group of 16 others at the remote station which remains isolated from the rest of the world during nine months of extreme winter conditions, including six months of darkness and average temperatures of minus 60 degree Celsius.

My principle duty was to undertake the daily upper air soundings using radiosondes. These helium-filled balloons ascend through the atmosphere to an altitude of many kilometers, telemetering temperature, humidity and wind data. I processed these data and transmitted the results by radio to McMurdo Station for worldwide dissemination. Other duties included daily meteorological observations and record keeping, as well as equipment maintenance and report writing.

The station is located at an altitude of approximately 3000 meters. The combination of isolation, darkness and extreme cold requires station personnel to be unusually adaptable, resourceful and self-disciplined.

Mike Savage
New Zealand

Click below for more

Radiosonde release
daily sounding of the atmosphere above the South Pole
Radiosonde ascent
the sonde is attached to a helium filled balloon
Outside in the South Polar winter darkness
for monthly snow accumulation measurements
Mike Savage
Monthly Weather Records for South Pole Station
October 1979 -- September 1980
South Pole Station
showing Sky Lab, the radiosonde balloon shelter, and the cosmic ray detectors
Martha Kane - second woman in history to winter-over
now known as Martha Kane Savage !