Two years on Antarctic sea ice: Longest autonomous time series to observe snow depth. Since January 2014 two snow depth buoys deliver continuously information about the snow depth on Antarctic sea ice. During this time they traveled 5.200 kilometers and each took more than 17.500 measurements along the route.

Sea ice physicists Stefan Hendricks and Mario Hoppman are working on an ice float to deploy a snow buoy. Photo: AWI, Sandra Schwegmann
Sea ice physicists Stefan Hendricks and Mario Hoppman are working on an ice float to deploy a snow buoy. Photo: AWI, Sandra Schwegmann

During the Polarstern expedition 2014 sea ice physicists of the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research brought both snow buoys out on the sea ice in the Weddell Sea. It was expected that the batteries would run 12 to 18 months.

But so far the buoys don’t show any signal of weakness. Regardless of how long they will persevere the measurements are already the longest autonomous time series to observe snow depth on Antarctic sea ice.

For the first time, this new type of snow buoy is used on the Antarctic sea ice. Photo: Mario Hoppmann
For the first time, this new type of snow buoy is used on the Antarctic sea ice. Photo: Mario Hoppmann

Source: AWI, Bremerhaven