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Long Term Monitoring and Survey (LTMS)

Why we collect data

We need long-term, quality-controlled and uninterrupted data records to measure change and variability in the Earth System. Data collected through a programme of long-term monitoring and survey can give us valuable insight into the nature of changes in the Earth System, that may be missed by shorter term studies and experiments.

We also need data to check and improve the reliability of models used to simulate and predict the behaviour of the Earth system.

Over the past 50 years, long-term environmental monitoring in the Antarctic has resulted in many important discoveries, such as the hole in the ozone layer and the rapid melting of glaciers on the Antarctic Peninsula.

Research undertaken by BAS is supported by Long Term Monitoring and Survey (LTMS) activities including:

  • Topographic survey
  • Geosciences survey
  • Biological survey and biological monitoring
  • Atmospheric and oceanographic monitoring.

How we collect data

We collect data from our Antarctic research stations, from autonomous instrument platforms deployed on and from our research ships, from our aircraft and from field parties. We also use remote-controlled or autonomous vehicles in the air, in the sea and in remote land areas; and satellite remote sensing.

We coordinate field activities and exchange data with national and international partners to maximise the scientific return.

Data collection examples

  • Provide weather data from surface and upper air measurements for forecasting and showing climatic trends
  • Observe annual changes in upper atmosphere ozone concentrations
  • Sample air and snow to monitor changes in greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and in the ice
  • Ground measurements of the occurrence of global lightning, and wave activity in the magnetosphere
  • Ground measurements of the temperature of the mesosphere (87km above the Earth’s surface)
  • Monitor selected marine species in the Scotia Sea
  • Measure changes in ocean currents, nutrients and temperature
  • Take sea-ice observations to identify annual and ten-year trends
  • Survey the diversity of groups of organisms on land and at sea
  • Carry out geological and geophysical surveys, and surveys of ice and surface features
  • Carry out aerial photography and ground-based topographic surveys