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OPP 10-001 December 2009

Personnel, Camps, and Stations

    1. Personnel
      1. The total number of people entering and leaving Antarctica and USAP research ships over the course of the summer will be about 3,000.  The U.S. Antarctic Program peak population at any given moment will be about 1,600 on land and 300 on the ships.
      2. Approximately 70 percent of U.S. Antarctic Program science personnel and >90 percent of operations personnel transit New Zealand and McMurdo
      3. About one-fourth of science personnel and <10 percent of operations personnel transit South America to Antarctic Peninsula locations

    2. Year-round research stations
      1. Palmer (65°S 64°W), Anvers Island, west coast of Antarctic Peninsula—marine biology and other disciplines, population 10 to 44
      2. McMurdo (78°S 168°E), Ross Island, southwest corner of Ross Sea—all research disciplines, operational hub, logistics center, population 160 to about 1,100
      3. Amundsen-Scott South Pole (90° S), geographic South Pole—astronomy and astrophysics, meteorology and climate studies, population 60 to 240

    3. Summer research camps 
      1. Siple Dome (Siple Coast, West Antarctica).  Two field camp personnel will provide daily weather observations for airplanes operating in West Antarctica and will support transiting Kenn Borek Air flight crews. (automatic weather stations)1
      2. Western Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) Divide Camp (West Antarctica).  Glaciology, including ice-core sampling, radar surveys, and installation of a magnetometer; automatic weather stations; GPS monitoring of bedrock motion. Nine projects will work at the camp, including a team (I-477) that will collect a 3,400-meter ice core.2
      3. AGAP South Field Camp (Gamburtsev Mountain range, East Antarctica).  Seismic and aerial geophysical surveys of the Gamburtsev Mountain range; passive seismic experiment and retrieve a seismometer array.
      4. CReSIS Traverse (1,084 nm from McMurdo Station; 160 nm from WAIS Divide).  Two projects (I-199-M and I-205-M) will traverse from WAIS Divide to the Thwaites Glacier and back to conduct relection seismic experiments and study flow dynamics and glacier subsurface.3
      5. Byrd Field Camp (West Antarctica).  Five Projects will work from the field camp, including one installing a GPS array throughout West Antarctica and two projects collecting aerial radar data in the Pine Island Glacier area.  Two other projects will depart from Bryd Camp for the Pine Island Glacier.4
      6. Small field camps at Beardmore Glacier (Transantarctic Mountains) and at remote sites supported by other national antarctic programs.
      7. Numerous camps in the McMurdo Dry Valleys, on sea ice, and on Ross Island.

    4. Logistics Traverse. Extending prior work, two South Pole Traverses are planned from McMurdo to South Pole and back between 20 October 2008 and 8 February 2009.   The traverses will move fuel and cargo between the two stations, reducing the demand on LC-130 airplanes.

    End Notes
    1 The automatic weather station project, University of Wisconsin, is described at
    2 Projects at the WAIS Divide Field Camp include:
    • Kendrick Taylor (I-477-M), Investigation of climate, ice dynamics, and biology using a deep ice core from the West Antarctic Ice Sheet  (
    • The National Ice Core Laboratory (I-478-M), National Ice Core Laboratory (NICL) (
    • Richard Alley (I-168-M), Physical properties of the WAIS Divide deep core
    • Charles Bentley–Ice Core Drilling Services (T-350-M), Ice Coring and Drilling Services (ICDS) Support for WAIS Divide (
    • The AWS (automatic weather station) project team, O-283-M (Charles Stearns), Antarctic Automatic Weather Station Program (AWS), 2007-2010 (
    • Eftyhia Zesta's team (A-357-M), South American Meridional B-Field Array (SAMBA): An American-Chilean chain (
    • Lessard (A-105), Polar Experiment Network for Geospace Upper atmosphere Investigations (PENGUIn) - Advancing the vision for global studies
    • Long Duration Balloon project (Mitchell A-147-M) will retrieve their BESS payload, launched in 07-08. 
    • Anna McKee will visit WAIS Divide as an artist and writer
    4 Byrd Field Camp Projects: