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Antarctic conservation blog archive

Arrival Heights

Emily, Monday 1 June 2009

Weather today: clear sky; -16°C to -38°C; wind: 5 knots

Arrival Heights is 8km away from Scott Base. A few people on the Base go there all the time for work, but I’ve never heard of anyone going up the Heights for a walk and that makes me curious about the place.

Air samples are taken there and sensitive instruments have been installed for the long-term study of ozone depletion, climate change, aurora activity, lightning activity and geomagnetic processes in the Antarctic. In order to keep pollution of any sort to a minimum, permission is required to enter the Heights.

Building of Antarctica New Zealand housing instruments for scientific studies © Andy Mahoney

Building for Antarctica New Zealand housing instruments for scientific studies © Andy Mahoney

I felt privileged to have an opportunity to go up there with Margaret, the Scott Base science technician, and catch one of the last sunsets earlier in the season. As it is accessible by vehicle, and it has an elevated position and broad viewing horizon, I can imagine Arrival Heights being a romantic spot for a date!

Beautiful evening colours after sunset © Antarctic Heritage Trust

Beautiful evening colours after sunset © Antarctic Heritage Trust

Margaret goes to the Heights almost every day to monitor the instruments and collect the data, which is then sent out immediately on the internet for scientists to study around the world.

The collection of weather information and scientific data on this continent began a hundred years ago when Captain Scott (amongst others) led his expedition team to Antarctica.

Meteorological screen used by Captain Scott's expedition nearly a century ago © Antarctic Heritage Trust

Meteorological screen used by Captain Scott’s expedition nearly a century ago - it stands about 65m behind the expedition base at Cape Evans and would have been used to capture some of the earliest information on weather on the continent © Antarctic Heritage Trust

One Response to “Arrival Heights”

  1. brad says:

    wow!
    being out there, in the wilderness has to be the ultimate solitude that a man could achieve.

    I have low cold tolerance, but I am trekking to one of these glacial regions - if not arctic/antarctica, then at least the northern canadian regions

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