Antarctica Report – The Location And Purpose Of Mawson Station Essay

Custom Student Mr. Teacher ENG 1001-04 12 November 2017

Antarctica Report – The Location And Purpose Of Mawson Station

Introduction:

The great icy continent of Antarctica is located at the south-most point on Earth and in the heart of the Antarctic Circle, referred to as the ice-cold desert. Antarctica covers the entire land and water region south of the latitude 600 S with no defined longitude, the continent spans around the entire Antarctic Circle. In reference to Australia, the eastern half of Antarctica ranges from a close 3,800km south of mainland Australia with Mawson Station located further west. Due to its location, early expeditions to Antarctica were usually carried out on boat with a stop at islands along the way i.e. Macquarie Island- now one of the four main Australian research bases in Australian Territory of the Antarctic Peninsula.

Australia controls the largest part of Antarctica (43%) because of Sir Douglas Mawson’s expedition to Antarctica in 1929-31. During this expedition, Mawson and his team mapped majority of the Eastern coast, setting up camps along the way and eventually other Australian expeditions set up stations using these maps. Later when the Antarctic Treaty was established, this link with Antarctica and the fact that Australia was the first nation to map the eastern coast was considered, resulting in Australia’s claim to this area being granted, leaving them with majority of Antarctica.

The governing of Antarctica is unique and very different from the rest of the world. It is governed by many nations that have all claimed parts of the continent for scientific research who all are guided and bound by “The Antarctic Treaty”. “The Antarctic Treaty” was designed and created by twelve original countries (there are now 38 countries) in 1961 to provide an agreement for the future care and use of Antarctica and to avoid territorial and other disputes. The Treaty encourages international co-operation in scientific research and in recognition of Antarctica being the last remaining “wilderness” on Earth, the ‘Madrid Protocol’ was established to help the conservation of the environment and peace on Antarctica. Elements of The Antarctic Treaty include: Antarctica shall be used for peaceful purposes only (Art.1), Freedom of scientific investigation and cooperation shall continue (Art.2), Scientific observations and results from Antarctica shall be exchanged and made freely available (Art. III).

Lying at the south-most point on Earth, Antarctica is truly a unique continent, renowned for a very harsh climate and an environment that has caused both, humans and animals, to adapt to the extreme conditions. Despite minimum infrastructure, Antarctica houses various forms of extensive scientific research conducted at its numerous bases.

Climate:

Mawson’s climate is typical of much of the coast of East Antarctica where the ice caps are present at sea level. The climate of Mawson Station can be described and categorized into four main areas: rainfall, temperatures, wind speeds and direction and mean daily averages.

One of the main features of Mawson’s climate are the extremely cold daily maximums and minimums present there through most of the year. The mean maximum temperature ranges from its hottest at about 2.60C in January to the lowest daily maximum-15.60C in the peak of winter (July, August, September). The annual mean for the daily maximum is -8.40C, around the same as the mean in March and October.

The mean daily minimums are not vey different to the daily maximums, a contrast compared to most parts of the world where the daily minimum and maximum have a greater difference. The mean daily minimum is at its highest in the month of January at -2.60C, dropping down considerably in March by almost 110C to -13.30C, marginally warmer than the annual minimum average of -14.3. Similar to the mean daily maximums, the mean minimums are at their lowest in winter, leaving a gap/difference of about 60C between the two (maximum and minimum). Although the mean temperatures around Mawson are mostly in the negatives, they are still a lot warmer and pleasant than those experienced in majority of Antarctica’s inland as the station lies near the coast and at a lower altitude of about 1,200m compared to the inland where altitudes rise up to almost 3,00m above sea level.

Another characteristic of Mawson’s climate is the incredible winds experienced at Mawson and their high speeds. Winds around Mawson blow predominantly from the east and south, heading in a northwest direction. The mean annual wind speed is almost 40 km/h at 3pm, with some extreme speeds go past 120km/h during the year in peak winter (3pm). The maximum gust speeds exceed 140 knots frequently with the highest recorded wind gust ever in the area reaching an amazing 248.4km/h early in the morning. Wind speed are generally stronger during the winters, rising up to an average of 44km/h in August at 3pm compared to an average of 27-28km/h in December/January.

Most precipitation falls as snow in Antarctica with no significant rainfall recorded near Mawson Station. As a result of Antarctica receiving less than 50mm of rainfall per year, the Antarctic region is classified as a desert-the coldest and driest desert in the world. Snowfall occurs regularly throughout the year-mainly during late summer when the snow is still able to fall without freezing. Although this snowfall is not very significant, it still has an impact on the climate around Mawson Station.

The lowest temperatures at Mawson vary greatly as the seasons change. During the seasons of autumn and spring, the lowest ever recorded temperatures for each month (during these two seasons) have been very similar. The lowest temperatures of March, April and May all range within the late twenties to early thirties, almost identical to those of September, October and early November. Where as, the lowest ever temperatures in winter and summer are in great contrast, as the lowest during summer goes down to a less extreme -17.30C in February compared to freezing -360C in August.

The reason for Antarctica’s very cold climate and its frequent change of size is the concept of the Earth’s revolution. The Earth is constantly rotating around an axis that runs through the north and South Pole at an angle of incidence (leaving the Earth always at a tilt of 23.50), completing one rotation every 24 hours. The Earths rotation is the reason that day and night are experienced, as when a part of the world is facing towards the Sun, it would be day, and when it rotates around to be away from the Sun, it becomes night. While the Earth is rotating on its axis (completing a rotation every 24 hours), it is in constant revolution around the Sun (completing a revolution every 365 days).

As the Earth is always tilted the same way, the stage at which the Earth is at during its revolution determines the concentration and strength of the rays hitting the particular area. For example, if it is December 21 in the southern hemisphere the angle of incidence will have this part of the Earth closer to the Sun/tilted towards it causing the Sun’s ray to be concentrated at a smaller area and thus being stronger and creating more heat. This is because; during summer the Sun is directly above the Earth due to the tilt. As the equator is in no hemisphere, the angle of the rays is the same throughout the year, creating the same season for 365 days. Where as, the poles, which are located at top of the northern hemisphere and bottom of the southern hemisphere, have two completely different seasons. During summer they rotate around the axis but are always facing towards the Sun, thus having sunlight for almost 24 hours per day.

However, during winter, the poles- in this case the south pole- is tilted away from the Sun and when rotating on the tilted axis, it remains away from Sun for most of the time, thus having no sunlight. This process/revolution continues for the whole year, in which the South Pole has experienced both summer and winter. Because of this reason and that it is located around the South Pole, Antarctica experiences these extreme amounts of daylight and darkness. As a result of these extreme seasons, a huge amount of sea ice is formed during winter, as the temperature gets extremely cold, quickly melting as summer approaches and the temperature rises above freezing point. If Antarctica were located near the equator, this effect would not occur as firstly, the temperatures would not be as low because the suns ray’s are stronger there because of the angle of incidence, but also the change in seasons would not be as extreme with the hours of daylight barely varying throughout the year.

Mawson Station:

Location: Mawson is a particularly favourable location for a station, with excellent access to the hinterland/open inland areas and surrounding coastal waters. It is also located near a harbour sheltered from the main body of the ocean and with a large depth and mouth not too narrow, during the ice-free period usually experienced in February, a ship may anchor within 100 metres of the station. Barges carrying the cargo would take only a few minutes to travel from the ship to station as it is located right on the shore. There is also a “magnetic quiet area” for research and tests requiring very little magnetic interference.

The Station:

The base at Mawson has a very simplistic layout. It consists of many buildings in a spread out area (as shown in the image on the right) each for different purposes with the science related buildings located closer to the shore. Everyone lives in the main accommodation building (the Red Shed; located the furthest from the shore), in modern air-conditioned single-room bedrooms. The Red Shed also houses the surgery, lounge, kitchen, and dining room. The Red Shed at Mawson base has indoor climbing, a home theatre, photographic dark room, a library and several common sitting areas for passing time during the winters. As it is a multi-recreation and living building, neither scientists nor other workers conduct their research there but expeditioners use it for day-to-day work.

The green store is another one of the buildings that dominate the skyline at Mawson. It is located in front of (closer to the harbour) the Red Shed and is where all the dry food and most frozen food are stored. The clothing store, field store and equipment spares are also located here. Inside is rock climbing wall and open space for games like volleyball. Similar to the Red Shed, the green store is used for day-to-day work rather than scientific research.

The operation building (the yellow building near the green store) houses the Station Leader’s office, communications, the post office and the Bureau of Meteorology. It is the home for the work of the telecommunication technicians, station leaders and many electricians.

The Main Power House (the blue building near the shore) is where all the electricity for the station is generated and is where many more of the electricians, technicians and mechanics work. Waste heat from the generators is piped around the station and used to heat the buildings.

The trades’ workshop (known as Red Dwarf), located near the main power building, houses all the offices and work area for the trades such as the Diesel mechanics, plumbers and electricians.

The waste management building is responsible for processing all sewerage and non-toxic liquid waste. It is located a bit away from the main part of the station with very few workers.

The cosmic ray observatory (located near the airstrip and shore) contains telescopes that detect and measure cosmic rays coming from outside our solar system. It has a shaft going down in the rock to a vault to a second set of telescopes and also some seismic detection equipment. It is home for scientists working in the field of seismology, cosmic ray physics, meteorology and atmospheric physics.

The Anaresat dome (next to the Red Shed) is the home to technicians in the field of telecommunications and scientists in the field of Cosmic Ray physics.

The general science building (where the biologists and geophysicists work) is located behind the green store.

The Aeronomy (home to atmospheric space physics and climate change studies) is where majority of the atmospheric physicists work and the white building is located at the far corner, away from the shore.

The carpenter’s workshop is where the carpenters do majority of their work. The building is located near the middle of the station, standing out with its brightly coloured doors.

The Magnetic Variometer hut- a special building that houses sensors that measure and record the changes in the Earth’s magnetic field- and the magnetic absolutes hut are located next to each other behind the waste disposal hut, write on top of a magnetically quiet area.

At Mawson Station, there is also a emergency vehicle shelter where all the fire fighting equipment is stored, a high frequency radio-transmitter hut, one aircraft hanger, three helipads (used infrequently), numerous inflatable rubber boat sheds, the wharf (where cargo is loaded and unloaded), a Sun recorder building and two fuel farms all spread out around the station. Most of these buildings are located in a cluster together with few in a different location due to restriction and needs i.e. magnetically quiet areas.

The scientific programs undertaken in and around Mawson include:

* Middle and upper atmosphere physics.

* Cosmic ray physics and meteorology.

* Geomagnetism and seismology.

* Biology and medicinal studies.

* Automated upper atmospheric sciences.

* Climate change studies.

Although one of the harshest environments on the planet, Antarctica is also one of the most vulnerable and is rapidly being effected as a result of human behavior. There have been many effects on the environment and wildlife in Antarctica caused by humans- mainly tourists that come and go- and their activities. Humans travelling to and from Antarctica (tourists and scientists) are the cause of many impacts on the environment as their trips involve the ships, accommodation, vehicles and other amenities which all can have an impact on the environment.

One of the major impacts humans are having on Antarctica’s wildlife, is that the usual feeding and huddling grounds for penguins and other animals are being disturbed and in some cases, destroyed, taking away the habitat and vegetation needed for them to survive. This is a result of many tourists and scientists using areas- that are important to wildlife- for their own needs and desires (i.e. camps, research facilities), leaving the wildlife to find new homes and adapt to conditions sometimes not suitable for their needs (i.e. not close enough to the water, not large enough or not the right climate). The mode of transport taken by most visitors, boats, is harming the marine life and destroying parts of their environment. Various shapes and sizes of boats are cutting through the Southern Ocean and arriving in harbours where the marine life and depth is quite shallow.

In some occasions, fuel tanks are being scraped, creating a minor leak in them that, over a period of time anchored at the harbour, releases tonnes of fuel and other toxic chemicals, scarring the marine life. As a result of this and to prevent further release of toxic chemicals, The Australian government and the ADD have banned large ships or boats with old systems and engines from entering Antarctic waters, reducing the possibility of harm to marine life. As for the problem of destruction to wildlife habitats, the ADD has developed laws that prohibit the use of wildlife-important areas for human use. As a result of this, scientists and visitors are banned from using areas with high importance to animal activity (i.e. breeding grounds and huddling areas) and instead forcing them to work in already human-developed areas like stations.

Another impact that humans are having on Antarctica’s environment is the increasing amount of environmental pollution being released in forms of excess waste being dispersed into the oceans and environment in the form of litter. Due to an increasing number of people in Antarctica every year, tonnes of extra waste are being produced and dumped everywhere, releasing toxic chemicals which can become concentrated in the bodies of local wildlife, such as seals, penguins and whales, harming them in the long term. The issue of excess waste polluting the environment is also a result of original waste management strategies not being adequate or designed for a situation like this where the amount of humans present in Antarctica is much more than forecasted.

Until relatively recently, waste disposal management in Antarctica was similar to elsewhere in the world with open tips, land fills and the burning or discharging of most sewage into the sea, as well as the practice of ‘sea-icing’ – dumping rubbish onto the sea ice during winter to float away and sink during the summer, with the areas around stations being contaminated from oil and chemical spills. Now, after new laws protecting the environment of Antarctica, waste is being split into many categories, each with a different strategy to stop the release of it into the environment. Hazardous materials such as polystyrene beads and radioactive materials are prohibited from entry into Antarctica; most other wastes are to be incinerated in a two-stage high incinerator with the resultant ash returned to Australia, metals, plastics, paper, cardboard and glass are separated and returned to Australia for recycling and the installation biological sewage treatment plants are all strategies that the Government of Australia are using to prevent pollution- as a result of excess waste- into the Antarctic environment.

Adaptations to the Antarctic Environment:

Human Adaptation:

Comparisons Between Mawson’s Expedition and Today

Mawson

Today

Transport

* Wooden sleds pulled by dogs- not very stable and efficient.

* Large wooden boats and ships with sail and masks.

* Feet- walking around and pulling sleds with back.

* Wooden, mechanic carts for transporting things around bases.

* Used the ship Aurora Australis when it was fist made in 1950s.

* Small planes that can land on large strips of ice.

* Helicopters for shorter distances or rescues.

* Small cruise ships with navigation, etc.

* Off road vehicles for driving around the station.

* Emergency vehicle shelter for vehicles used in emergencies.

* The inflatable rubber boats for summer months when ice has blown out.

Equipment

* Wooden shovels, a compass and mostly non-automated equipment.

* Signals to communicate and fire for heat-no phones or electrical heat.

* Basic survival equipment- a limited amount taken on expeditions- food, necessaries, etc.

* Basic tents prone to being destroyed in strong winds-not completely water tight.

* Some metallic, some wooden tools to dig, cut and carry items in.

* Telecommunication and navigation ways like phones, GPS’s and full-proof maps.

* Waterproof tents with firmness to withstand strong winds.

* Metal tools to dig, cut, gather water and cook meals. Good quality equipment.

* Normal da to day equipment like boxes to keep samples in.

Clothing

* Several layers of basic warm clothing-no proper insulation-weighed more than modern clothing.

* Gloves, fabric headgear (beanie like0 covering most of face with no proper insulation for the nose.

* Insulated clothing with minimum weight.

* Brightly coloured clothing to stand out and be easily spotted.

* Clothing that can get wet and dries quicker than most.

* Gloves, beanies, and nose protection with maximum insulation.

Humans have adapted to the Antarctic climate with the use of new technology, more user-friendly equipment like automatic vehicles rather than human –pulled sleds and clothing that not only protects expeditioners from the cold with better results than clothing used in Mawson’s expedition, but at the same time is also comfortable to wear, allowing activities to be completed with ease. Todays transport in Antarctica- off-vehicles, portable rubber boats and small aircrafts- are all much more efficient than those used in Mawson’s expedition- human or dog pulled sleds and wooden carts. They require less human strength and energy that can instead be used in conserving body heat, are a lot less time consuming allowing more work to be completed or a greater distance covered in an expedition and most of all, the new forms of transport are much more reliable with a less risk of breaking down or failing in the middle of an expedition.

Another adaption humans have made to help battle the Antarctic climate is their improved clothing that has better insulation, conserving more heat. This clothing has made humans feel as if they are feeling the same temperature as in other cold places around the world with very little extra weight on themselves. They have also been able to carry tools around on expeditions that can dig, cut and build with greater ease than those of Mawson’s expedition. This adaption has allowed humans to not be prevented and stopped by physical barriers on Antarctica and instead overcome them, using stronger tools like those used around the world.

Animal Adaptation: Every environment is subject to changes that vary from season to season and from year to year. Even in Antarctica where it is always cold the variations can be quite marked. For example, the number and intensity of storms and blizzards can vary from year to year as can the time at which the sea-ice forms in autumn or breaks out in summer. These environmental changes are likely to have an influence on the animals that live there. Nature has provided the emperor penguin with a need to adapt to the extreme conditions of Antarctica. Standing 1.2m tall, over time the largest penguin has developed many physical and behavioral adaptations that leave it as a truly amazing bird, which not only easily survive the Antarctic winters, but also are also capable of doing almost anything during the time.

Emperor Penguins have excellent insulation against the cold in the form of several layers of scale-like feathers that take very strong winds (over 60 knots) to get them ruffled. They have a very small bill and flippers, which conserve heat and are not as exposed to the temperatures due to their size. Their nasal chambers also recover much of the heat that is normally lost during exhalation. They also possess strong claws in their feet for gripping the ice and slippery surfaces, allowing them to waddle instead of sliding around on their bellies all the time.

Another special physical adaptation of the emperor penguin is the ability to ‘recycle’ its own body heat. The emperor’s arteries and veins lie close together so that blood is pre-cooled on the way to the bird’s feet, wings and bill and warmed on the way back to the heart. Emperor penguins have large reserves of energy-giving body fat to use during low-level activities during winter.

The emperor penguin also possesses many behavioral advantages to survive in the climate of Antarctica. They are very social creatures, and one of their survival mechanisms is an urge to huddle together to keep warm. To keep warm, the males close ranks to share their warmth. Even though Emperors are large birds and when carrying their incubation fat, they are about as large around the chest as a human, they still huddle on very cold days, with as many as ten packed into every square metre, cutting heat loss by as much as 50%. This huddling instinct means that they do not defend any territory (the emperor penguin is the only species of penguin that is not territorial) and instead radiate heat and keep warm together.

Another behavioral technique used by the emperor penguin to survive the conditions in Antarctica is their ability to mate and reproduce during winter rather than in summer and take care of their eggs. Like most penguins, emperor parents closely share parental duties. What is unique about emperors however, is the co-operation between males while carrying out their parenting duties. Once the egg has been laid during winter, the male emperor puts the egg under his brood flap to keep it warm at about 380C so that the egg can eventually hatch instead of dying inside.

During this period of a few months, the male does not eat anything and instead closes together with the others to stay warm himself and to keep the egg warm while the mother goes off to find food. When she comes back after winter is almost done, the chick, which would have hatched around the time, is fed and looked after until December at which stage, they are almost the same size as their parents. Because of this cycle formed by the emperor penguins and the ability to breed during winter, the young are hatched and brought up during the early summer instead of peak winter, giving them a higher chance of survival.

Conclusion:

From the harsh and extreme climate to the rocky and wildlife-populated shores, the continent of Antarctica is unique in almost every way. Larger than two continents combined, covering the South Pole and the driest of the deserts every seen, along with the majestic ice sculptures found nowhere else on the planet, Antarctica draws hundreds of tourists every year to experience these wonders from the welcoming surroundings of world renowned stations established by expedition leaders like Sir Douglas Mawson. No doubt, both humans and animals have had to adapt to the frantically changing climate, but now that they have, they too are enjoying the beauty of Antarctica.

References

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Australian Government. (2002, June 5). Mawson. Retrieved April 9, 2013, from Australian Antarctic Division : http://www.antarctica.gov.au/living-and-working/stations/mawson

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Appendix

Oxford Atlas

Virtual Fieldwork

1. Mawson station- an Australian scientific research base named after Sir Douglas Mawson- is located on the eastern side of Antarctica currently claimed by Australia at 670S 620E and south of the Antarctic Circle. Mawson is situated along an isolated outcrop of rock on the coast in Mac.Robertson Land and the south eastern shore of Horseshoe Harbour. Although usually considered closer to Hobart than any other Australian city, Mawson Station is actually situated about 5,475km from Hobart, further than the 5223km southwest of Perth. Relative to Australia’s main cities, Mawson Station lies far to the west of them, falling between South Africa’s Cape Town and Perth in the Southern Ocean.

Australia owns and maintains three permanent scientific research bases all located within Australia’s main Antarctic region and one on Macquarie Island in the sub-Antarctic. The three stations are evenly distributed along the coast of Antarctica with Mawson being the most westerly of the three continental stations and the first one built and established. Davis is the most southerly of the stations and is situated SSW of Perth, on the Ingrid Christensen Coast of Princess Elizabeth Land and between the other two. Casey is located in the Windmill Islands, just outside the Antarctic Circle and the only one of three located outside the Antarctic Circle.

2. Mawson’s climate is typical of much of the coast of East Antarctica where the ice caps are present at sea level. The main features of Mawson’s climate are the extremely cold temperatures present there through most of the year. The mean maximum temperature ranges from about 2.50C in January to -15.50C in the peak of winter (July, August, September). Although temperatures around Mawson are mostly in the negatives, they are still a lot warmer and pleasant than those experienced in majority of Antarctica’s inland as the station lies near the coast and at a lower altitude.

Winds around Mawson are predominantly from the east and south with the mean annual speed being almost 40 km/h while extreme speeds go past 120km/h in peak winter and maximum gust speeds exceed 140 knots frequently. As it lies south of the Antarctic Circle, the Sun does not rise at Mawson for approximately six weeks from the first week in June and does not set for the same period from early December. During those six weeks in June and July, the day consists of a few hours of twilight.

3. The Aurora Australis is Australia’s Antarctic flagship and was named after the aurora emitted around Antarctica. Designed as a multi-purpose research and resupply ship, the Aurora was built for the Australia Antarctic Program by P&O Polar and launched in September 1989. The ship is 94.9 metres long and 3911 tonnes in weight. It has a cruising speed of 13 knots, and accommodates 116 passengers plus crew. It is capable of breaking ice up to 1.23 metres thick. The Aurora regularly sails across the Southern Ocean where storms can generate 10 metre high seas and winds of 120–150 km/h.

The Aurora Australis, designed specifically for trips to and from Antarctica, has many features for this instance. Six of these features are:

* Installed in the ship are ways for satellite communications (not present on mainland Antarctica), allowing people on the ship to phone anywhere in the world at any time or stay in touch by email.

* The ship’s kitchen can go through 4500 eggs, 1000 kg of potatoes and 280 litres of ice cream. The ship can produce up to 45,000 litres of fresh water per day for use on board for both drinking and other uses. As the trip to Antarctica and back can easily take up to six weeks, a large kitchen and food supply are extremely necessary.

* The ship’s colour, bright orange, is painted all around it so that it can stand out in the ocean and making it easier to spot for rescue teams.

* Three helicopters can be housed in the hangar and operate from the dedicated helicopter deck at the rear of the ship. They can go to and from the ship ahead to Antarctica or rush back to Australia in an emergency via the ship to refuel.

* The ship is well equipped for marine science research with a commercial sized trawl deck, and a commercial hydro acoustic system for the assessment of Southern Ocean organisms such as krill. It also has a general-purpose lab for processing net samples, a hydrographic lab, fish freezer, meteorological lab, five multi-purpose laboratories, a photographic dark room and a scientific workroom.

* The Aurora Australis is painted a very bright orange, thus allowing it to be easily seen and spotted in ice-spread waters.

4. Mawson base was first established on 13 February 1954, when an expedition led by Dr Phillip Law landed on the shore of Horseshoe Harbour (located on the coast of Mac Robertson Land), naming the new station in honour of Australia’s greatest polar explorer, Sir Douglas Mawson. Law had chosen this place to establish the station after viewing photographs of Mac Robertson Land from the expeditions of 1929-1931 led by Sir Douglas Mawson and 1946-47 by an aircraft from an American expedition. He chose the location because of its key locality near the coast, the large natural harbour (Horseshoe Harbour), a major hotspot for wildlife to conduct scientific research on and the permanently exposed rock present there for building, requiring very little to be shipped over.

During the first year, living quarters, a works hut, the engine shed, two store huts and a carpenter’s shop were built and by 1966, the number of buildings had increase to fifty including the construction of the first aircraft hanger in Antarctica.

Mawson’s location lies on the coast with Horseshoe Harbour spread around it. At the southern end of the station, (Horseshoe Harbour), ice sheets cover the waters surface near the shore, leading out into the Southern Ocean. The Mawson region is one of the richest areas for seabirds in the Australian Antarctic Territory, and supports living colonies of emperor and Adelie penguins, petrels and seals.

The base at Mawson has very comfortable living conditions. It consists of many buildings in an area (as shown in the image on the right) each for different purposes. Everyone lives in the main accommodation building (the Red Shed), in modern air-conditioned single-room bedrooms. The Red Shed also houses the surgery, lounge, kitchen, and dining room. The Red Shed at Mawson base has indoor climbing, a home theatre, photographic dark room, a library and several common sitting areas for passing time during the winters.

The green store is one of the buildings that dominate the skyline at Mawson. It is also where all the dry food and most frozen food are stored. The clothing store, field store and equipment spares are also located here. Inside is another rock climbing wall and open space for games like volleyball. The operation building houses the Station Leader’s office, communications, the post office and the Bureau of Meteorology. The Main Power House is where all the electricity for the station is generated. Waste heat from the generators is piped around the station and used to heat the buildings. The trades’ workshop (known as Red Dwarf) houses all the offices and work area for the trades such as the Diesel mechanics, plumbers and electricians.

At Mawson Station, there is also a waste management building, emergency vehicle shelter where all the fire fighting equipment is stored, a high frequency radio-transmitter hut, one aircraft hanger, three helipads (used infrequently), a cosmic ray observatory, The Anaresat dome (a large satellite dish), numerous inflatable rubber boats, the general science building (where the biologists and geophysicists work), the Aeronomy (home to atmospheric space physics), the carpenter’s workshop, Magnetic Variometer hut- a special building that houses sensors that measure and record the changes in the earths magnetic field, magnetic absolutes hut, the wharf (where cargo is loaded and unloaded), the Sun recorder building and two fuel farms.

Facilities At Mawson Station

Transport

Scientific

Other Amenities

* The emergency vehicle shelter with fire-fighting equipment and other vehicles.

* The three helipads and one aircraft hanger and airstrip (currently out of use).

* The post office and the high frequency radio transmitter hut for communication.

* The inflatable rubber boats for summer months when ice has blown out.

* The wharf (the cargo dock).

* The cosmic ray observatory and the Bureau Of Meteorology.

* The Anaresat dome with the large satellite dish.

* The photographic dark room and the library inside the Red Shed.

* The general science building where majority of the science is conducted.

* The Aeronomy- atmospheric space physics.

* The Magnetic Variometer Hut.

* The magnetic absolutes hut.

* A Sun recorder building.

* The Red shed’s living quarters, surgery, lounge, kitchen, dining, theatre and recreation rooms.

* The facilities in the Green Store: frozen food storage, clothes store, equipment spares, field store and rock climbing wall.

* The waste management building, offices and the main powerhouse.

* The gym building (formerly a general room).

5. The four main priority programs undertaken by Australian research scientists in Antarctica are:

* Climate processes and change.

* Terrestrial and Near-shore Ecosystems: Environmental Change and Conservation.

* Southern Ocean Ecosystems: Environmental Change and Conservation.

* Frontier Science

Climate processes and change: Climate Processes and Change investigates the role of Antarctica and the Southern Ocean in the global climate system. Its main focus and importance is to address uncertainties identified in “The Fourth Assessment (2007)” report, which highlights the lack of climate data around the Southern Ocean and Antarctica. It also investigates the role of the region in slowing climate change and the future behavior of the ice.

Terrestrial and Near-shore Ecosystems: This program investigates the effects of environmental change on Antarctic and Sub-Antarctic terrestrial and coastal ecosystems. This program provides the scientific basis to guide and develop enhanced environmental protection for these ecosystems.

Southern Ocean Ecosystems: the Southern Ocean is facing many threats to its marine life and ecosystems as a result of physical and biological changes that are being caused because of fishing, climate change and acidification. Scientific research under this theme is helping scientists understand the impact of global change on Southern Ocean ecosystems, the effective conservation of Antarctic and Southern Ocean wildlife and the sustainable, ecosystem-based management of Southern Ocean fisheries.

Frontier Science: The focus of Frontier Science is to encourage and support research that falls outside the priorities of the other research departments along with focusing in the environmental science in the other categories. It is basically about learning about sciences beside climate change and the causes and effects of them.

6. If you were travelling to a penguin colony 90 kilometres away from Mawson Station, you would most likely travel by a small plane or helicopter capable of landing without requiring a constructed airstrip or helipad. These to options would be far better than by land as conditions along the way could potentially halt your journey-leaving you stranded without support or rescue, it would take a lot longer and a lot more supplies and clothing would be required. Adequate clothing would be required to battle the cold temperatures especially during winter. You would carry and wear a thermal, a suit that constrains heat, thick gloves, headwear that covers majority of your face as well, long insulated pants, thick jackets and other items of clothing usually warn also in Northern Russia and Canada.

7. The area of Antarctica is almost double the size in September than in March as a result of sea ice freezing during the winter (September) and melting during the summer (March). Over a 12-month period, the sea ice begins to melt and the size of Antarctica begins to decrease towards the end of September. It continues to do so until March, when it is almost half the size. Once again, when winter begins around the beginning of April, the sea ice begins to gradually freeze; increasing the area of Antarctica every month until September before the cycle begins again. Scientists use a variety of technology to research these changes. They use drones and satellites to examine the area and measure the increase of size. The satellites map out the area and give an aerial view for scientists to examine and interpret. They examine the oceans, atmosphere and climate patterns to describe and prove how the change occurs.

An ice core is a core sample that is typically removed from an ice sheets, most commonly from the polar ice caps or high mountain glaciers. As the ice forms from the incremental build up of annual layers of snow, lower layers are older than upper, and an ice core contains ice formed over a range of years. The properties of the ice and the recrystallized inclusions within the ice can then be used to reconstruct a climatic record based around the age range of the core, normally through analyzing their elements. This enables the reconstruction of local temperature records and the history of atmospheric composition as they contain information about the past climate.

8. Over time the emperor has developed many physical and behavioral adaptations that leave it as a truly amazing bird, which not only can survive the Antarctic winters, but also are capable of doing almost anything during the time. Unlike other animals that have inhabited Antarctica, emperor penguins spend time on both land and water throughout the year, being able to do what they like without the fear of fearful predators and possibly not surviving through the winter.

Emperor Penguins have excellent insulation against the cold in the form of several layers of scale-like feathers that take very strong winds (over 60 knots) to get them ruffled. They have a very small bill and flippers, which conserve heat and are not as exposed to the temperatures due to their size. Their nasal chambers also recover much of the heat that is normally lost during exhalation. They also possess strong claws in their feet for gripping the ice and slippery surfaces, allowing them to waddle instead of sliding around on their bellies all the time.

Another special physical adaptation of the emperor penguin is the ability to ‘recycle’ its own body heat. The emperor’s arteries and veins lie close together so that blood is pre-cooled on the way to the bird’s feet, wings and bill and warmed on the way back to the heart. Emperor penguins have large reserves of energy-giving body fat to use during low-level activities during winter.

The emperor penguin also possesses many behavioral advantages to survive in the climate of Antarctica. They are very social creatures, and one of their survival mechanisms is an urge to huddle together to keep warm. To keep warm, the males close ranks to share their warmth. Even though Emperors are large birds and when carrying their incubation fat, they are about as large around the chest as a human, they still huddle on very cold days, with as many as ten packed into every square metre, cutting heat loss by as much as 50%. This huddling instinct means that they do not defend any territory (the emperor penguin is the only species of penguin that is not territorial) and instead radiate heat and keep warm together.

Another behavioral technique used by the emperor penguin to survive the conditions in Antarctica is their ability to mate and reproduce during winter rather than in summer and take care of their eggs. Like most penguins, emperor parents closely share parental duties. What is unique about emperors however, is the co-operation between males while carrying out their parenting duties. Once the egg has been laid during winter, the male emperor puts the egg under his brood flap to keep it warm at about 380C so that the egg can eventually hatch instead of dying inside.

During this period of a few months, the male does not eat anything and instead closes together with the others to stay warm himself and to keep the egg warm while the mother goes off to find food. When she comes back after winter is almost done, the chick, which would have hatched around the time, is fed and looked after until December at which stage, they are almost the same size as their parents. Because of this cycle formed by the emperor penguins and the ability to breed during winter, the young are hatched and brought up during the early summer instead of peak winter, giving them a higher chance of survival.

Scientists are continuously researching and discovering new behavioral and physical facts about the emperor penguin. They capture the penguins for a while to examine them, using state of the art technology undertaken by biologists both on Antarctica and back in Australia. Some of the research includes: learning about the emperor’s breeding habits, physical body, behavior habits and they are adapting to the changing climate.

9. Tourist travel to Antarctica for a wide range of reasons including an opportunity to experience and view the unique environment with incredible icebergs, auroras, ice arches and wildlife only seen and present there. Tourists usually make the boat trip to Antarctica during the summer between October and February as the climate is at its best, the pack ice is at its lowest, the Sun is high in the sky for most of the day and wildlife is most active at the time, wondering out into the open. A typical journey taken by a tourist to Antarctica usually begins in either: Ushuaia (Argentina), Hobart (Australia), Cape Town (South Africa) or Christchurch (New Zealand) with most choosing the first two. A large boat or small ship is taken from one of these locations, before a long few weeks spent on the waters in more than adequate living conditions.

During the journey, tourists can take part in many activities normally present on basic ocean cruises. These include activities like swimming, movies, dining, whale watching, witnessing sights found nowhere else on Earth and other activities to pass time. Once arriving at a station in Antarctica, tourists spend their time on the continent in and around the station, undertaking numerous activities ranging from casual indoor activities like rock climbing, viewing scientific programs and spending time in the library to outdoor activities like watching the penguins, taking a sea kayak to get a close up on sea birds and whales, trekking past and up majestic mountains, scuba diving, walking on the ice and exploring historic huts left behind by various expeditions.

There are many impacts on the environment and wildlife in Antarctica caused mainly by the tourists that come and go. The tourism industry to Antarctica involves much more than just the tourists as it involves the ships, accommodation, vehicles and other amenities required for the tourists. Because of this, the wildlife is having a major impact with usual feeding and huddling grounds for penguins being disturbed ad in some cases destroyed along with other places for other species like the rocks being used for construction, taking away the habitat of the seals. Tourists also have an impact on the environment like they do all around the world with specific places being developed especially for them.

Parts of Mawson Station has been developed and built recently just for tourists, destroying parts of the natural environment as many of the materials like rocks come from Antarctica instead of being shipped over. The transport in which tourists arrive, boats, also have effect the waters as oil spills- regular due to the ice- pollute the waters harming the whales and other marine life. As a result of this, large ships have been prohibited from the waters around Antarctica as they not only pollute the water, but also disturb and crack the ice. Waste management is another problem occurring at Mawson Station with tonnes of waste accumulating on the continent, creating a major headache for workers to clean up before it’s the toxic chemicals start having an impact on the environment.

Free Antarctica Report – The Location And Purpose Of Mawson Station Essay Sample

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