Ozone | Met. Data


The Meteorological and Ozone Monitoring Unit

BAS maintains year round meteorological observing stations at Halley and Rothera, with automatic weather stations at Bird Island and King Edward Point, South Georgia. Observations are made during the summer field season at Signy and Fossil Bluff. Upper air observations are made at Halley. Data from the BAS stations are transmitted into the GTS. Members of MOMU have a longstanding working relationship with the operational arm of the UK Meteorological Office. UKMO regards BAS observations as an important part of the World Weather Watch (WWW) and provides funding for observations at Halley Station. Measurements of total column ozone are made using Dobson spectrophotometers at Halley and Faraday stations. In 1996 operation of the Faraday Dobson was transferred to the new operators, the Ukraine. The Unit also has the capability to measure other atmospheric constituents (e.g. NO2, OClO) using the SAOZ spectrometer at Rothera. Monthly precipitation samples are collected at Halley and Rothera as part of the IAEA Isotopes in Precipitation Network. Samples are also collected at Halley for AEA Technology, Harwell, to be analysed for caesium-137 and other isotopes as part of a smaller network. Flask air samples are collected at Halley and analysed for carbon dioxide and methane by NOAA, Boulder, Colorado. Halley is part of a global network of some 30 stations monitoring trace gas concentrations in the atmosphere.

(i)Primary objectives

The Meteorological and Ozone Monitoring Unit will maintain and extend its climatological database and provide data in support of BAS science projects and to outside users after the application of appropriate quality control procedures. The Unit will publish climate summaries and evaluate new instruments and procedures for meteorological observing. MOMU will provide liaison and collaboration with data users in order to match the available data products to proposed applications, and will participate in international efforts to improve the reliability and utility of global environmental data.

(ii)Strengths and achievements

The staff of MOMU have extensive experience in Antarctic meteorological operations and in the measurement of a wide range of atmospheric parameters. Established records of surface and upper-air data extend over several decades, and the celebrated discovery of the Antarctic ozone hole phenomenon stemmed directly from the results of the long-term climatological ozone programme. MOMU staff have maintained high standards of operational performance and consistent data quality in a notoriously hostile field environment, and have been responsible for the development and installation of improved data logging and measurement equipment.

In addition to the discovery of the Antarctic ozone hole, which has been the most widely-known and influential of the Unit's achievements, MOMU staff have also carried out climatological studies of the surface radiation regime in Antarctica, and have made substantial contributions to international projects aimed at improving techniques in ultraviolet absolute spectroradiometry. These studies make use of the Unit's principal strength, which is its long experience in field measurements of atmospheric variables, together with the painstaking care and attention to detail which are necessary in order to ensure the validity of climatological results.

(iii)Future strategy

The principal aim of MOMU strategy will be to maintain and improve the operational standards which have been successfully employed to date in obtaining the results embodied in the current database. Particular attention will be paid to observer recruitment and training, instrument procurement and supply, operational maintenance and support, computing facilities and data communications. The long-term consistency of the datasets will be maintained by adequate calibration and quality control procedures, and the prompt flow of data into the GTS will be monitored to ensure optimum availability of surface and upper-air measurements to the global forecasting community.

MOMU will consolidate the available climatological data collections in a systematic and accessible form, and provide appropriate documentary and archival support to ensure that the value of the database is maintained and exploited. Staff will encourage a realistic appreciation of the strengths and weaknesses of routine field measurements, and will promote the use of robust analytical methods in order to ensure the validity of scientific conclusions based on the climatological data.

The Unit will maintain established links with the global atmospheric science community, and will take part in international efforts to improve the accuracy and applicability of environmental data and information, with particular regard to instrument standards, operational procedures and data protocols.