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Scott Base

Scott Base

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Scott Base is a research facility located in Antarctica and is operated by New Zealand
New Zealand
New Zealand is an island country in the south-western Pacific Ocean comprising two main landmasses and numerous smaller islands. The country is situated some east of Australia across the Tasman Sea, and roughly south of the Pacific island nations of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga...

. It was named after Captain Robert Falcon Scott
Robert Falcon Scott
Captain Robert Falcon Scott, CVO was a Royal Navy officer and explorer who led two expeditions to the Antarctic regions: the Discovery Expedition, 1901–04, and the ill-fated Terra Nova Expedition, 1910–13...

, Royal Navy
Royal Navy
The Royal Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Founded in the 16th century, it is the oldest service branch and is known as the Senior Service...

, leader of two British
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 expeditions to the Ross Sea
Ross Sea
The Ross Sea is a deep bay of the Southern Ocean in Antarctica between Victoria Land and Marie Byrd Land.-Description:The Ross Sea was discovered by James Ross in 1841. In the west of the Ross Sea is Ross Island with the Mt. Erebus volcano, in the east Roosevelt Island. The southern part is covered...

 area of Antarctica. Located on Ross Island
Ross Island
Ross Island is an island formed by four volcanoes in the Ross Sea near the continent of Antarctica, off the coast of Victoria Land in McMurdo Sound.-Geography:...

 near Mount Erebus
Mount Erebus
Mount Erebus in Antarctica is the southernmost historically active volcano on Earth, the second highest volcano in Antarctica , and the 6th highest ultra mountain on an island. With a summit elevation of , it is located on Ross Island, which is also home to three inactive volcanoes, notably Mount...

 in New Zealand's Ross Dependency
Ross Dependency
The Ross Dependency is a region of Antarctica defined by a sector originating at the South Pole, passing along longitudes 160° east to 150° west, and terminating at latitude 60° south...

 territorial claim, it was set up as support to field research and the centre for research into earth science
Earth science
Earth science is an all-embracing term for the sciences related to the planet Earth. It is arguably a special case in planetary science, the Earth being the only known life-bearing planet. There are both reductionist and holistic approaches to Earth sciences...

s, but now conducts research in many fields.

Base history


Scott Base was originally constructed in support of the UK inspired and privately managed Commonwealth Trans-Antarctic Expedition
Commonwealth Trans-Antarctic Expedition
The 1955–58 Commonwealth Trans-Antarctic Expedition was a Commonwealth-sponsored expedition that successfully completed the first overland crossing of Antarctica, via the South Pole...

 (TAE). The New Zealand government provided support for the TAE and also for the International Geophysical Year
International Geophysical Year
The International Geophysical Year was an international scientific project that lasted from July 1, 1957, to December 31, 1958. It marked the end of a long period during the Cold War when scientific interchange between East and West was seriously interrupted...

 (IGY) project of 1957 five of whose members were attached to the Expedition. Three New Zealand observers with the task of selecting the site for a base went to McMurdo Sound
McMurdo Sound
The ice-clogged waters of Antarctica's McMurdo Sound extend about 55 km long and wide. The sound opens into the Ross Sea to the north. The Royal Society Range rises from sea level to 13,205 feet on the western shoreline. The nearby McMurdo Ice Shelf scribes McMurdo Sound's southern boundary...

 with the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 “Operation Deep Freeze
Operation Deep Freeze
Operation Deep Freeze is the codename for a series of United States missions to Antarctica, beginning with "Operation Deep Freeze I" in 1955–56, followed by "Operation Deep Freeze II", "Operation Deep Freeze III", and so on...

 I” in the summer of 1955. After evaluating possible sites, a location near Butter Point
Butter Point
Butter Point is located in McMurdo Sound in Antarctica. This area at the mouth of the Ferrar Glacier is straight across the sound from Hut Point. It was considered as the site of New Zealand's Scott Base because it offered the best approach by sea and access to the inland plateau. It was not...

 was chosen. This was later changed to Pram Point
Pram Point
Pram Point is the location of New Zealand's Scott Base. It is located in Antarctica, near McMurdo Sound. It was named by Robert Scott's 1902 expedition when they kept a Norwegian 'pram' dinghy there to get from the shore of Ross Island to the Ross Ice Shelf....

 as it provided better access for offloading supplies from the Expedition ship HMNZS Endeavour and also allowed for the operation of the critical RNZAF Antarctic Flight on a nearby ice runway. Scott Base passed over to NZ Government ownership via the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research (DSIR), on March 5, 1958, at the conclusion of the TAE.

During the IGY the United States facility at Hut Point did not operate as a scientific base. It was the New Zealand expedition’s responsibility to furnish the important scientific data (auroral, ionospheric, seismic, etc.), linking the McMurdo area research activities with those of the United States Pole Station and the joint United States-New Zealand station at Cape Hallett
Cape Hallett
Cape Hallett is a snow-free area on the northern tip of the Hallett Peninsula on the Ross Sea coast of Victoria Land, East Antarctica. A very large Adelie penguin rookery is located at Cape Hallett...

, Victoria Land
Victoria Land
Victoria Land is a region of Antarctica bounded on the east by the Ross Ice Shelf and the Ross Sea and on the west by Oates Land and Wilkes Land. It was discovered by Captain James Clark Ross in January 1841 and named after the UK's Queen Victoria...

.

In 1958, following completion of the TAE and IGY, New Zealand made the decision to continue to operate Scott Base for scientific research, much of which depends upon the continuity of recorded data over a period of years. In order to maintain operations, a base rebuilding programme began in 1976. As of 2008, the only original building is the TAE 'A' mess hut, which contains material recording New Zealand's involvement in Antarctica since 1957. In 2005 the two-story high Hillary Field Centre was commissioned, increasing the floor area of Scott Base by 1800 square metres and providing work areas to support field parties as well as additional office space. The building was officially opened by then-Foreign Minister Phil Goff
Phil Goff
Philip Bruce Goff is the current Leader of the Opposition and the Leader of the New Zealand Labour Party. During the Fifth Labour Government, he served in a number of ministerial portfolios, including Minister of Defence of New Zealand, Minister of Corrections, Minister of Foreign Affairs and...

 and Sir Edmund Hillary.

From 1957 until 1986, dogs played a part in base operations. Initially they were an essential means of transport, but with better technology their importance dwindled until they were removed in line with environmental treaties.

The base today


The base is made up of a collection of lime-green buildings which are linked by all-weather corridors. These buildings can accommodate 85 people over summer, with a "skeleton staff" of between 10 and 14 people remaining over the winter.

Like nearby McMurdo Station
McMurdo Station
McMurdo Station is a U.S. Antarctic research center located on the southern tip of Ross Island, which is in the New Zealand-claimed Ross Dependency on the shore of McMurdo Sound in Antarctica. It is operated by the United States through the United States Antarctic Program, a branch of the National...

, Scott Base is connected to the global telephone network via a Satellite Earth Station operated by Telecom New Zealand
Telecom New Zealand
Telecom New Zealand is a New Zealand-wide communications service provider , providing fixed line telephone services, a mobile network, an internet service provider , a major ICT provider to NZ businesses , and a wholesale network infrastructure provider to other NZ CSPs...

, located approx 3km away at Arrival Heights. Telecom NZ also provide phone services to McMurdo for calls to New Zealand as well as to the Italian Programme at Terra Nova Bay. McMurdo Station has an independent communications infrastructure located at Black Island and linked to Ross Island via Microwave.

Scott Base is today operated by Antarctica New Zealand
Antarctica New Zealand
Antarctica New Zealand is an Institute set up by the New Zealand Government in 1996 to manage its interests in Antarctica and the Ross Sea. As well as providing logistics support to a large scientific programme, it also runs bases such as Scott Base...

.

Climate


The base has fairly typical weather conditions for coastal Antarctica, with minimum temperatures around −45°C (−49°F) and summer maximums only occasionally above freezing point. It is exposed to the full strength of southerly blizzard
Blizzard
A blizzard is a severe snowstorm characterized by strong winds. By definition, the difference between blizzard and a snowstorm is the strength of the wind. To be a blizzard, a snow storm must have winds in excess of with blowing or drifting snow which reduces visibility to 400 meters or ¼ mile or...

s, although overall it is less windy than McMurdo Station
McMurdo Station
McMurdo Station is a U.S. Antarctic research center located on the southern tip of Ross Island, which is in the New Zealand-claimed Ross Dependency on the shore of McMurdo Sound in Antarctica. It is operated by the United States through the United States Antarctic Program, a branch of the National...

. The maximum wind velocities experienced have been gusts up to 185 km/h with steady velocities under blizzard conditions of 95–115 km/h. The highest recorded temperature was 6.0°C (42.8°F), the coolest −57°C (−70.6°F) and the mean temperature −19.6°C (−3.3°F). http://www.niwascience.co.nz/edu/resources/climate/summary/summary.prn
Climate on Scott Base
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Mean daily maximum temperature (°C
Celsius
Celsius is a scale and unit of measurement for temperature. It is named after the Swedish astronomer Anders Celsius , who developed a similar temperature scale two years before his death...

)
−1.2 −7.9 −15.8 −18.6 −20.0 −20.1 −22.3 −23.0 −22.0 −16.0 −7.3 −1.5 −14.6
Mean monthly temperature (°C) −4.5 −11.4 −20.5 −24.0 −25.6 −26.0 −28.3 −29.7 −28.1 −21.3 −11.4 −4.8 −19.6
Mean daily minimum temperature (°C) −7.9 −15.1 −25.1 −29.4 −31.1 −31.9 −34.4 −36.4 −34.2 −26.7 −15.5 −8.2 −24.7
Mean relative humidity (%) 76.0 71.1 69.0 68.8 69.8 69.3 67.3 64.6 66.7 66.2 69.4 74.3 69.5
Source: National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research

See also

  • ANDRILL
    ANDRILL
    ANDRILL is a scientific drilling project in Antarctica gathering information about past periods of global warming and cooling. The project involves scientists from Germany, Italy, New Zealand, and the United States...

  • List of Antarctic expeditions
  • Marble Point
    Marble Point
    Marble Point, Antarctica, is a rocky promontory on the coast of Victoria Land located at 77° 26' S latitude and 163° 50' E longitude. The United States operates a station at the point. The outpost is used as a helicopter refueling station supporting scientific research in the nearby continental...

  • McMurdo Station
    McMurdo Station
    McMurdo Station is a U.S. Antarctic research center located on the southern tip of Ross Island, which is in the New Zealand-claimed Ross Dependency on the shore of McMurdo Sound in Antarctica. It is operated by the United States through the United States Antarctic Program, a branch of the National...

  • McMurdo Sound
    McMurdo Sound
    The ice-clogged waters of Antarctica's McMurdo Sound extend about 55 km long and wide. The sound opens into the Ross Sea to the north. The Royal Society Range rises from sea level to 13,205 feet on the western shoreline. The nearby McMurdo Ice Shelf scribes McMurdo Sound's southern boundary...

  • Mt Erebus
  • Ross Ice Shelf
    Ross Ice Shelf
    The Ross Ice Shelf is the largest ice shelf of Antarctica . It is several hundred metres thick. The nearly vertical ice front to the open sea is more than 600 km long, and between 15 and 50 metres high above the water surface...

  • The Antarctic Sun
    The Antarctic Sun
    The Antarctic Sun an online and print newspaper with "News about the USAP, the ice, and the people" it is funded by the National Science Foundation written and published in McMurdo Station, Antarctica...

  • Williams Field
    Williams Field
    Williams Field or Willy Field is a United States Antarctic Program airfield in Antarctica. Williams Field consists of two snow runways located on approximately 8 meters of compacted snow, lying on top of 80 meters of ice, floating over 550 meters of water...


External links


Scott Base 50th Anniversary Website

NZ Antarctic Research