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LTMS Research Programme

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Long Term Monitoring and Survey

Contact: Antarctic Environmental Data Centre

The Challenge

LTMS will build on and extend BAS’s past collection of long-term time-series of key environmental variables.

Examples include the ongoing collection of the temperature record which shows that the Antarctic Peninsula is experiencing an exceptionally rapid rate of warming, and the ozone record which resulted in the discovery, by BAS scientists, of the ozone hole – a result that led to major changes in environmental legislation and industrial practice worldwide.

Automatic Weather Station at Atoll Nunataks

It will also include survey work, such as using the swath bathymetry system of the RRS James Clark Ross, to map unexplored regions of the sea bed, and the recently-commissioned polarimetric airborne radar to map the internal structure and bedrock of the Antarctic ice sheet.

Objectives

  • 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
  • Measure global lightning and wave activity in the magnetosphere
  • Measure 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 in British Antarctic Territory

Relevance to Global Science

To measure change and variability in the Earth system we need quality-controlled, uninterrupted, long-term data records.The models used to simulate and predict the behaviour of this system also need such data to allow us to check and improve their reliability. In Antarctica, we face a further challenge – to survey the unknown so that accurate mapping of the land and the ocean can guide fieldwork, be included in models, and open up new frontiers.

Delivering the Results

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 will also use remote-controlled or autonomous vehicles in the air, in the sea and in remote land areas.We will coordinate field activities with national and international partners to maximise the scientific return. LTMS contributes to all aspects of the GSAC programme.

Progress Report