Location: 80°22' S 77°22'E.
With a surface elevation of 4093 m, Dome Argus (Dome A) is the highest place in Antarctica, though one of the least-known places on the globe. It lies near one end of an elongate ridge (about 60 km long and 10 km wide). The ice thickness there is more than 3000 m, overlaying the subglacial Gamburtsev Mountains. Palaeo-scientists consider it suitable for collecting an ice core that will provide a record of past climate and atmospheric gas composition going back more than one million years.
The coldest place on Earth?
The world’s lowest temperature ever recorded was −89.2°C in July 1983, at the Russian station Vostok, inland of Australia’s Casey station. Dome A is nearly 600 m higher in elevation than Vostok, so there’s a good chance that the automatic weather station at Dome A will one day record the world’s lowest surface temperature. The coldest temperature reached to date was −82.5°C in July 2005.
Automatic weather station (AWS)
An automatic weather station was deployed at Dome A as part of an Australian-Chinese collaboration in January 2005. No ground-based scientific investigation had been made at this site before the arrival of the Chinese over-snow traverse team.
What does it measure?
- wind speed
- air temperature – with sensors mounted on mast arms at 1 m, 2 m and 4 m above the snow surface
- snow temperature at 0.1 m, 1 m, 3 m and 10 m depth
- atmospheric pressure
- wind direction
- incoming solar radiation
- relative humidity
- snow-fall rate.