Monday November 27

The weather is still very good. The trainings done, the station is extremely busy by the departure of the glaciologist’s expedition. Lot of things need to be fixed, checked, doubled checked, and re-checked. For our CHASE program, we are allowed to use a new container placed 300m away from the main station where we will place the active pumps. In that place, we have also installed our materials for the passive samplers and the snow samples. Defining the transect and the planning, is not an easy task as they will depend on several factors (the availability of people, especially the guides; the delay of the boat; the glaciologist’s expedition that we will normally join; …). Fortunately, we had the opportunity to visit the first site near the station (Utsteinen, 4km from the station) where Jean-Louis placed the first passive sampler in 2012. Everything is still in good shape and the site is perfect: not too close or too far away from the station, in a valley where wind can flow through, in the middle of the mountains. Tomorrow, we are going to prepare the materials to collect snow there and replace the filter, and install the new poles. It will be the first site where we are going to make our own training to be ready for the other sites more exposed to the wind in more remote area.

From Nadine & Christophe


Chilling out

Friday November 24 – Saturday 25. The sky is blue on the PEA where the temperature is -13°C for an elevation of 1387m.
The two first days were dedicated to open our boxes and check our materials. Everything was properly packed in Brussels and therefore arrived safely. We then followed the trainings: the camp preparation, the first help training, skidoo training, GPS training, and crevasse training. The landscapes are exceptional with the nunataks growing from the ice cap, with a totally blue sky at the back. We are now ready to travel to the sampling sites.

From Nadine & Christophe

Arrived in Princess Elizabeth Station!

Wednesday evening (at 10:00 pm – Belgian time) we finally left Cape Town for Antarctica with an extraordinary plane: the Illioushin. After a safe trip (the pilot was exceptional – we could not feel the taking of or landing), we arrived at the Novo station at 4 am. But we had to wait more, because the planning was to reach the PES in the evening. Therefore, we slept and read and … tasted the Russian food (bof, bof…). The C-GEAI (DC3) transported us and all our luggage to the PES during 1:30. We arrived at the PES around 9 pm. What was the feeling to put the foot in Antarctica and at the so incredibly beautiful place of PES!! I can not explain, but you can certainly imagine. The sky was totally blue, the mountains were majestic at the top of the wide white ice cap… In this cold but pretty good weather, the reception committee was warm and so friendly. The station is growing to welcome more people and scientists, and offers comfort and conviviality.

From Nadine Mattielli

Arrival in Cape Town and bad weather in Antarctica

We arrived in Cape Town on Tuesday 22:30 local time (GMT+2). We are a group of 15 people: Alexander from IRM for the AEROCLOUD and CHASE project, Nadine from ULB and Christophe from UGent for the CHASE project; Frank and Jean-Louis of ULB, Stef of TU Delft, TJ of Taiwan and Emmanuel and Etienne from Canada, all six for the Mass2Ant project; Henri our bird expert (Natural Sciences Institute/museum); Jacques the station’s doctor and Daniel (field guide) from Switzerland; and finally Baptiste, Olivier (BE) and Jacques (CAN) completing the station’s staff.

Unfortunately, our flight to Antarctica is delayed. Mainly due to bad weather in Antarctica, also the planned flights before us encountered delay and this delay has to be recovered to bring in all the waiting teams of the different research stations. The unfavorable weather will persist at least until Tuesday. So, we will fly only by Wednesday to Antarctica. Hopefully. Almost one week of delay will put pressure on our and the station’s staff time schedule at Princess Elisabeth station.

Meantime, we are preparing what could nevertheless be done from here – collecting the polar clothing from IPF and checking that we do not forget any small item for the equipment and project. But of course we are also enjoying Cape Town, its pleasant weather and the surroundings. On Thursday, we climbed the Lion’s Head to discover the overview of the Cape Town and the Table Mountain – a good training before Antarctica. Yesterday, on Friday, we hired a car and drove to the Cape of Good Hope (the most south-westerly point of Africa). On the way there, we stopped at Boulders Beach were a colony of around 2000 African Penguins (Sphenicus demersus) lives. It is the only species breeding in Africa and it is listed as an endangered species.

From Nadine and Alexander


Upcoming meeting: Polar 2018

15 – 18 June 2018 SCAR and IASC/ASSW Business & Satellite Meetings
19 – 23 June 2018 SCAR/IASC Open Science Conference & Open COMNAP Session
24 – 26 June 2018 SCAR Delegates Meeting & 2018 Arctic Observing Summit

POLAR2018 is a joint event from the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research SCAR and the International Arctic Science Committee IASC. The SCAR meetings, the ASSW and the Open Science Conference will be hosted by the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research WSL under the patronage of the Swiss Committee on Polar and High Altitude Research. The WSL-Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research SLF is organising POLAR2018,  which will take place in Davos, Switzerland from 15 – 26 June 2018.

Workshop: Mutual benefits between atmospheric research and radio based science over polar regions

In the context of the Solar Terrestrial Centre of Excellence (STCE) and the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR),  we are organising a workshop at the Royal Observatory of Belgium on December 4th, 2017 on the Mutual benefits between atmospheric research and radio based science over polar regions.

A more detailed description of the workshop is available at

If you wish to give a presentation at this workshop, please submit your abstract on the event page. The deadline is 20 November 2017.
In case you want to attend the meeting, please register on the event page. The deadline for registration is 27 November 2017. 

Feel free to circulate these info to your colleagues that may be interested. Don’t hesitate to contact us for any additional information.

We hope to see you for constructive discussions at the workshop.

Contributions are welcome on both aspects:

  •       The workshop foresees the participation of scientists studying the neutral and/or the ionized part of the atmosphere, from the lower to further upper regions such as the magnetosphere. Presentations dealing with climatology studies on their characteristics and abnormal behaviours during extreme events are welcome.
  •       Contributions from researchers of Arctic and Antarctic operations that need to remove or mitigate the atmospheric contribution from their measurements (such as geophysicists, geologists, geodesists, radio astronomers and remote sensing researchers) are also encouraged.


This workshop is organised with the support of the Solar-Terrestrial Centre of Excellence and the Scientific Commitee on Antarctic Research.