New domicile for Antarctic researchers

Neumayer III creates conditions for long-term research in the Antarctic

North side of Neumayer Station III under construction © Michael Trapp / realnature.tv
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The Neumayer Station III in the Antarctic is finished and officially inaugurated by Federal Research Minister Annette Schavan. The construction of the new German research station has now created the conditions for long-term scientific investigations in the South Pole region, for example on the effects of climate change.

The station is equipped with state-of-the-art technology. It enables new projects and the continuous continuation of the long-term measurements of the scientific observatories. The Neumayer Station III is located 6.5 kilometers south of the old Neumayer Station on the Ekström Ice Shelf near the Atka Bay and will ensure research for the next 25 to 30 years.

For site selection at 70 ° 41 'south latitude and 8 ° 16' west longitude, the scientists had to consider that the ice shelf flows at a speed of 170 meters per year northward towards the sea, where it breaks off.

Lift against sinking

The construction of the Antarctic Station is a development patented by the Alfred Wegener Institute and follows the principle of combining research, operation and living on a platform above the snow surface with an underlying garage.

The trick: To extend the life of the building under adverse conditions, the new building is equipped with a kind of "lift" that elevates Neumayer III by one meter each year. This adjusts the station to the continuously growing snow cover. The modern research base does not sink into the snow in the course of the operating time like its predecessor stations, and therefore no components will be left in the snow in the long term. This fulfills an important requirement of the Antarctic Environmental Protocol. display

In addition, the most modern environmentally friendly materials used in space technology were used in the construction.

Unique research opportunities

The new Antarctic research home with its 3, 300 square meters is also significantly larger than its predecessor station and has, for example, scientific laboratories with 210 square meters of space - and the station offers more comfortable working and living conditions.

The wintering teams, which will work at the station from March to November, will carry out meteorological, geophysical and environmental investigations and gather data only under the special climatic conditions of the S dpol can be won.

(AWI, 20.02.2009 - DLO)