Wednesday, December 14, 2011

2004 ClimateGate email: Antarctic meteorologist lists a litany of problems in collecting Antarctic temperature data, including sites that "suffer from snow accumulation" and "one of the coldest spots" not being considered

Email 1650

[Matthew Lazzara] this brings up a series of issues and concerns. First, to maintain these sites, there would be a need to perhaps visit the sites yearly, especially as some of the sites suffer from snow accumulation, altering the height of the sensors above the surface. (These comments are noted by George Weidner, co-PI of the AWS project) Unfortunately, we have not been able to service/visit all of these sites over the last several years. Next, the elevation of these stations to GSN status, and the need to perhaps visit them more often would require a commitment from the National Science Foundation and its supporting sub-contractors (RPSC, etc.) to commit to being able to have our group or partners visit these sites yearly - a goal that might not be realistic due to the demands on the US Antarctic Program logistics. Next, some of these stations are maintained jointly with us and by other national Antarctic programs, and in some cases, there are no formal memorandums of agreement or understanding in place that have the level of service or care that might be required for a GSN station. The selection of these stations over others has made us wonder why the following sites listed below were not considered: 89872 Univ. of Wi. ARGOS ID 8929 (Ferrell) 77.884 S 170.818 E 45 Meters 89376 Univ. of Wi. ARGOS ID 8911 (Gill) 79.985 S 178.611 W 55 Meters 89866 Univ. of Wi. ARGOS ID 8906 (Marble Point) 77.439 S 163.754 E 108 Meters These sites have a fairly long record, and Gill represents one of the coldest spots on the Ross Ice Shelf. This leads to the next series of points: some of stations on the list are not operating well at this time (Byrd Station), some sites may not be able to be visited again due to USAP's logistic reach (Mount Siple), some sites have moved (SKI-HI is now SKI-BLU in a nearby location, Larsen Ice has moved inland some to stay inland of the retreating Larsen Ice Shelf C icefront), some sites do move on the Ross Ice Shelf over time (Lettau, Gill, Ferrell), knowing the elevation adequately (Mt. Siple, among others), some do not have a full "suite" of sensors, just the temperature and pressure (Mount Siple, Possession Island). In any case, I wish to make everyone on the AGG/AOPC aware of these issues, etc.

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