On Chilean Antarctic Day, we tell you why the White Continent is a key territory for studying the effects of global warming and preventing future climate scenarios.
At the start of the year, Chile launched the Climate Change Observatory, a platform that collects and shares data from a network of sensors strategically located throughout the country, from Visviri in the north to Antarctica in the far south. The aim is to collect information to formulate public policies based on scientific evidence.
The South Pole is a crucial part of this project, as it regulates many climatic events that happen in Chile. For example, the high temperatures recorded in Antarctica in March 2015 coincided with downpours in the Atacama Region on the same date. 20 sensors will be installed in the Chilean Antarctic Territory to better understand the relationship between these phenomena and the effects of global warming on the White Continent, as well as to prevent future climate scenarios.
The first of them was installed at the Union Glacier Station in December 2021. To date, four sensors have been installed, the others at the Profesor Julio Escudero Base, the Yelcho Base and the Teniente Luis Carvajal Villaroel Antarctic Base.
“The importance of the project to provide the Antarctic Peninsular with a network of latitudinally-oriented sensors connected to a brain in Punta Arenas basically consists of measuring the effects of a phenomenon that has various physical expressions. The stations will measure many parameters through highly complex sensors that will record and transmit temperature, pressure and more complex parameters such as albedo and solar radiation in real time. This large number of sensors will collaborate to assemble images of a continent for which we have very little data, and which we know has a very powerful influence on the global climate, particularly in Chile,” stated the director of the Chilean Antarctic Institute, Marcelo Leppe.
The backbone of the sensor network in Antarctica covers 2,118 linear kilometers, from the aforementioned Profesor Julio Escudero Base to the Union Glacier Joint Scientific Polar Station. It is the southernmost network of permanent sensors that the country has installed so far in Antarctica.
These devices are capable of measuring wind speed and direction, solar radiation, air, water and soil temperature, relative humidity, precipitation, snow depth, and sea level and temperature, as well as other climatic factors. For these reasons, sensors are a tremendously valuable tool to better understand the dynamics of Antarctic ecosystems and, in turn, devise future development models based on quality scientific information.
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