On the Ice

3 Jan: Prelude To Deployment

Hello Everyone!

My name is Matthew Lazzara, and welcome to my e-mailing list on my deployment to Antarctica. As I travel to Antarctica, I wanted my first installment to introduce a few things and get everyone up to speed. Some of you on this list know a whole lot about what I do and what I’ll be doing in Antarctica, but others are new to all of this.

First, a little bit about me. I am full time faculty at Madison College, and part time associate scientist at University of Wisconsin-Madison. At Madison College, I teach courses on weather and climate. At UW-Madison and at Madison College, I am principal investigator of the Antarctic Automatic Weather Station Project and Polar Climate and Weather Station Project. This work is a part of the United States Antarctic Program (USAP), which is overseen by the National Science Foundation.

I’m heading to Antarctica to work on the weather stations or AWS as I’ll call them. This year most all of the work is repairs, digging the stations out of the snow and raising them up to be at a proper level, putting in new power systems to make sure the run correctly, etc. I’ll have more on this as things develop this field season. Stay tuned!

Automatic weather stations (AWS), as seen in the attached map, cover much of the Antarctic continent. While it seems like a lot, it is really very, very few stations. Antarctica is roughly the size of the continental USA and Mexico combined. In those areas, we have thousands of weather stations, while here only hundred and fifty or so stations. My team and I oversee roughly 60 stations – which is the largest surface meteorological observing network in the Antarctic! (My team and I are responsible for all of the AWS marked with a triangle on the map – regardless of the color).

2017 AWS map

Looks like the temperatures in Antarctica today aren’t a whole different than some parts of the US – and Wisconsin! (See attached map).

AWS surface temperatures in Fahrenheit on January 3rd, 2018

Today I fly from the US to New Zealand. I will be reporting more after I arrive in New Zealand!

Thanks again for joining the emailing list!

Best Regards,


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