Remediation of past experimental infrastructure

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This week at Davis: 30 March 2012

As new science projects evolve with the new science strategy it is important to remediate past experimental sites at our stations. For example, at Davis a ground plane and support infrastructure was needed in the early-1980s to mid-1990s to acquire data on the global electric field circuit which results from global lightning discharge processes. This experiment yielded a PhD for Dr Stan Malachowski (AAD Davis Physicist 1983) and numerous international peer reviewed science papers on the topic of the Sun’s impact on global lightning discharge and thus rainfall and the weather and climate system. The research at Davis also concluded that coastal effects diminish the optimal measurement of the electric field and moreover a preliminary experiment conducted at Law Dome showed the importance of inland sites for this research. Dr Gary Burns, the Project Chief Investigator (now retired from AAD), relocated the Electric Field Mill to Vostok station and positioned a second system at the French-Italian station Concordia. The Russian Antarctic Program will now provide ongoing support to this experiment and science conducted at Vostok. The ground plane was retained at Davis just in case coastal measurements were needed again or the platform could be used for other experiments.

An Environmental Preliminary Assessment for remediation of the ground plane and associated infrastructure was submitted to the AAD Policy section. Rebecca Malcolm, the AAD Environmental Officer, informed us that a permit compliant with the Madrid Protocol environmental annex was granted for removal of the redundant infrastructure. Thanks to the Davis ESS’s Joe Brennan and Kenny Smith for provision of enthusiastic trade expeditioners who diligently and carefully removed the steel and concrete infrastructure. John Harris, Brent Dennett, Ilias Zotos, Ben Honor, Greg Crawford and Mark Baker did a great job during some chilly days to completely remove the ground plane. It is really pleasing and important to be able to remediate past and no longer required infrastructure at locations with no historical value. Indeed it is almost impossible to recognize that infrastructure ever existed at this site, unless you had prior knowledge you would simply walk by oblivious to past important science activity conducted at this site, given the truly transitory nature of the impact. Well done team Davis.

Electric Field Mill ground plane
Electric field mill ground plane
(Photo: Ray Morris)
Removal of the Electric Field Mill ground plane
John Harris cutting off the ground anchors
(Photo: Ray Morris)
Brent Dennett and Ilias Zotos cut up the scaffold pipes
Brent Dennett and Ilias Zotos cut up the scaffold pipes
(Photo: Ray Morris)
Electric Field Mill ground plane remediation
Greg Crawford removing concrete blocks
(Photo: Ray Morris)
Greg Crawford removing the old rio mesh for re-cycling
Greg Crawford removing the old rio mesh for re-cycling
(Photo: Ray Morris)
Electric field mill site after removal
Infrastructure vanished! Well done team
(Photo: Ray Morris)
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This page was last modified on 30 March 2012.