The Bureau of Meteorology staff report on the end of summer activities and a visit from Chinese ship Xue Long.

G'day from BOM

To keep fit and give back, 17 people from the station are rowing their hearts out and collectively we’ve now rowed 652,471 metres and raised $3426. Dainn, Bureau of Meteorology’s (BOM’s) very own superstar tech has been running the Million Meter Marathon Rowing event to raise awareness and funds for Huntington’s Disease. It’s been a massive effort from everyone!

This week, BOM staff have been busy finalising the replacement of the weather satellite reception systems. New robust tracking antenna equipment is being installed in order to maintain and enhance existing weather forecasting services for at least the next decade. Upgraded processing equipment is also being installed alongside the polar orbiting satellite tracking antenna receivers and protective radome systems. A special thank you to the varied trades people, plant-operators and logistics personnel who assisted in the installations alongside the Bureau staff to ensure the realisation of this enhanced satellite reception capability. 

It’s been a very exciting time this summer at Casey with possibly the largest number of BOM staff in the same place at the same time including wintering techs Dainn and Emry, forecasters Kerri and Bill, observers Jacob and Katie, project techs Tony S, Dave and Adam, head office representative John D, the regional observations manager Matt and to top it all off, the director of the Tasmania/Antarctic region John B.

One memorable short stay visitor last week was Mina Guli (CEO of Thirst) a non-for profit organisation. Thirst is a community of young global leaders dedicated to changing the way the world thinks about, used and consumes water. Mina is attempting to become the first person to run 40 marathons across seven deserts on seven continents in seven weeks to raise awareness of the global water crisis. The stop in Antarctica was her third desert. Throughout her busy schedule Mina still managed to squeeze in a visit to the meteorology office, where chatted to Jacob about all things weather, and release a helium balloon as part of the global upper air network!

One of the challenges Mina faced while running in Antarctica were constantly changing weather conditions. In a whiteout the absence of horizon and surface definition along with reduced visibility make orientation very difficult and wreak havoc on operations such as aviation.

The week also saw the Chinese ship Xue Long (Snow Dragon) bring supplies for the winter project of building the wastewater treatment plant. Resupply was very quick and efficient and was completed in half the anticipated time. There was even an opportunity for the Chinese crew to have a tour of Casey station.

We farewelled a large number of the summer population recently with all the science projects now concluded. We’ll definitely miss our newly made friends. One of the biggest convoys took 32 departing expeditioners to Wilkins runway, about 70 km away from Casey station. The trip takes about three hours at the average speed of 20–30 km/hr. On departure day, it was a scenic ride with a stop at the Antarctic Circle for everyone to stretch their legs.