Sunny Skies over the Antarctic Peninsula
Sunny skies and westerly winds prevailed over the Antarctic Peninsula on April 24, 2012. Cloudy weather had just moved out, and temperatures rose well above freezing as the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite passed overhead and captured a natural-color image acquired April 24, 2012(top). NASA Earth Observatory image by Jesse Allen
The relatively warm conditions on the peninsula in late April 2012 were driven in part by warm downslope winds, known as Chinook or foehn winds, that were channeled through valleys such as the one holding the Flask Glacier. Such winds can lead to extensive melt in the summer.
Scientists can access timely weather information from the Antarctic Peninsula thanks to a group of remote, satellite-linked weather stations known as the Automated Met-Ice-Geophysics Observation System (AMIGOS). Deployed in 2010–11, AMIGOS stations are part of a National Science Foundation-funded project to study environmental change in the rapidly changing area around the Larsen Ice Shelf. Each station is equipped with a thermometer, instruments to measure wind speed and direction, and a camera to photograph its surroundings. Stations installed on the flowing ice have also been equipped with global positioning system (GPS) receivers to track changes in flow speed.
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