Heading to Antarctica (04:01)
The British Antarctic Survey (BAS) studies effects of the sun on weather and climate change. An ice chasm threatens the Halley Research Station. Peter Gibbs, a BBC meteorologist, sets out from Capetown aboard the RSS Ernest Shackleton to re-supply the station and prevent disaster.
History of British Scientific Study (03:12)
During World War II, the British attempted to monitor and prevent Nazi submarine activity. 12 nations, including Britain signed the Antarctic treaty. The BAS built a research station on the Brunt Ice shelf; for three months of the winter, the sun does not rise.
Gibbs History (02:01)
Because of floating icebergs, Halley cannot be reached for nine months out of the year. Gibbs first visited the research station after graduating college; he lived there for two years.
Isolated as Ever (02:15)
Jessica Walkup manages the station during the winter months when there are only 13 people present. Halley loads supplies to last almost 300 days before the onset of winter. Victoria Stone likes cooking for the scientists and workers.
Gibbs awoke to a large bang and discovered the ship had entered the Weddell Sea. John Harper allows the meteorologist to drive the RSS Shackleton and break up sea ice. The Halley Research Station is placed atop the Brunt Ice Shelf, a frozen sea; experts predict if another calving event occurs the station will be cast adrift into the ocean on an iceberg.
Seeing the Caird Coast (02:55)
Shackleton named this coast before he got trapped within the ice. Harper parks the boat alongside the ice shelf and secures the ship by digging four anchor holes in the ice. Gibb rides a snowcat 30 kilometers to reach Halley
Tour of the Facility (02:35)
Built in 2012, the Halley Research Station consists of eight modules; Gibbs provides a tour. The Met office of observation deck provides a panoramic view of the Brunt Ice Shelf.
Daily Duties (03:19)
Antarctica is almost twice the size of Australia and influences global weather patterns. Every morning a meteorologist releases a weather balloon to provide data. The radiosande measures pressure, temperature, and humidity.
Ozone Layer (02:59)
The Ozone layer protects the earth from radiation from the sun. The Dobson Spectrophotometer at Halley detected the hole. The Montreal protocol banned harmful chemicals like Chlorofluorocarbons.
Studying the Atmosphere (05:32)
The southern oceans absorb carbon from the atmosphere. Scientists from Halley closely monitor the crack in the ice shelf. Gibbs repels down the chasm which widens by 15 centimeters every day.
Keeping Halley Operational (02:50)
Richard Horne leads the Space, Weather, and Atmosphere team. The Aurora Australis occurs every winter at the South Pole because of electromagnetic fields and the sun's coronal mass ejections.
South Atlantic Anomaly (02:21)
Scientists at Halley study the radio waves that occur as a result of the sun's coronal mass ejections. The Van Allen radiation belts trap killer electrons. Horne studies maximum potential damage inflicted during a magnetic storm that cause electrostatic discharge.
Climate Change (04:14)
The Clean Air lab monitors the effects of climate change by measuring carbon dioxide and methane in the atmosphere. Neil Brough describes how scientists determined the increases came from fossil fuel usage. Methane is an even bigger threat than CO2.
Surviving the Winter (05:42)
Snow drifts accumulate around the research station and Mike Neaverson shifts the snow banks during the summer months. The crew raises the Halley Research Station on hydraulic jacks to stay above the snow's surface and moves the modules to a new location to prevent drifting into the ocean on an iceberg. The RSS Shackleton brought temporary accommodations while the move is taking place.
Credits: Ice Station Antarctica (00:33)
Credits: Ice Station Antarctica
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