With only 19 days before the first plane is expected to arrive, the station is a hive of activity getting ready for the summer crew.

Station update

The countdown has begun here at Casey and we have only 19 days remaining until the first scheduled flight of the season.

The focus on station has shifted to getting jobs finalised and work places tidied and organised for the incoming team. Brewing is also in overdrive trying to stockpile homebrew for the summer crew.

It’s been a hive of activity in our ops building here at Casey this week, with a record four people plus a crew of visiting sparkies completing fire testing, all congregating into this vibrant hub of activity. Some might say that the ops building is actually the beating heart of station.

We have all been challenged this week on account of us making a three hour time zone hop last weekend to line back up with Hobart time, which ordinarily would not be an issue, however we now have bright daylight until after 10 pm, which has most of us hiding behind the blackout blinds after dinner trying to adjust.

Our team members up at the Wilkins aerodrome continue to make great progress toward runway establishment, this week completing the building of the camp, supported by dieso Ricky, sparky Zac, Comms Tech Clint and BoM Tech Mark. Work is continuing now on getting the runway ready to receive the first flight.

Jacque Comery, Station Leader.

Supporting science — air sampling

There are no science personnel on station over winter, and any projects with a year round data collection requirement are reliant on training up station personnel to support their project.

This project is called ‘Antarctica as a sentinel for Southern Hemisphere Persistent Organic Pollutant Usage; Facilitation of the Global Monitoring Plan'… or as we know it ‘Bengston-Nash'.

Supervising communications technical officer, Clint Chilcott was selected to monitor the project over winter, clearly impressing the project proponents with his reliable technical demeanor (having said that, this is the same guy that built the igloo that still stands on the heli pad!).

The project is led by Susan Bengston Nash from Griffith University.

Polar regions are environmental ‘sinks’ for man–made, persistent organic pollutants (POPs). These chemicals are toxic, bioaccumulative and considered a substantial threat. The Stockholm Convention on POPs aims to reduce and ultimately eliminate these chemicals from the environment. Australia has ratified the Convention and holds a legal obligation to conduct continuous, comparable, and high quality monitoring of POPs within their states and territories.

Chemical levels and profiles at the Poles of the Earth reflect hemispheric usage and as such are of particular importance and special interest under the Global Monitoring Plan (GMP). The Department of Environment are the lead agency responsible for fulfilling Australia’s responsibilities under the GMP. This project seeks to provide and safeguard ongoing, streamlined Antarctic access for the purpose of longitudinal monitoring of POP input, distribution, fate in the Antarctic region to serve federal obligations under the GMP.

Whilst this sounds awesomely scientific, our role here at station is just to maintain the passive air samplers out near the old Wilkes station. It pretty much involves swapping out foam filter media which is left in place for six week at a time to capture air particles.

The first time I went out sampling with Clint it was a lovely sunny day and not nearly as cold as the second trip. On this occasion it was Clint, Steve ‘Muscles’ Middleton, and I that formed the crack science support team. Muscles and I generally tried to stay out of the way, and opened and closed boxes and jars as directed by our trusty leader!

Clint still has all of his fingers, and we achieved another win supporting science in the Antarctic!

September weather summary

The Month that was:


The September monthly maximum average was −12.3°C, which is 2.7°C cooler than the long term average of −9.6°C. The hottest day for the month was the 9th of September at −4.7°C.

The September monthly minimum average was −19.8°C, which is 2.8°C cooler than the long term average of −17.0°C. The coldest day for the month was 28th of September at −33.8°C.


The September monthly precipitation (snowmelt) total was 11.8mm, which is below the monthly average precipitation of 17.3mm. There were 10 precipitation days (long term average 8.6). The highest daily total of 3.2mm was on the 25th of September.

Sunshine hours

The average daily sunshine for September was 4.8 hours (direct sunlight where the sun is not obscured by cloud). The daily long term average for September is 3.0 hours.

Wind and phenomena

The maximum wind gust for September was 220km/hr or 119 knots from the East on the 8th. The current September monthly record is 241 km/hr or 130 kts from the East on the 7th of September 2003.

The average daily wind run above 3m (that is how far a parcel of air would have travelled in 1 day) was 697km, which is lower than the long term monthly average of 720km. The total wind run for the month was 20913km. The highest daily total was 3298km on the 9th and the lowest daily total was on the 15th with 204 km.

September had 16 strong wind (22–33 knots) days (average 16), 9 gale force (>34 knots) wind days (average 12), 11 snow days (average 14), six blizzard day (average six), and eight blowing snow days (vis<1km).

In a nutshell:

We made a record!

The coldest temperature recorded for September at Casey on 28th of September 2017 with −33.8°C. Yahooo!

An impressive blizzard with winds to 119 kts (220km/hr) on the 8th Sept.

The Month to come:

October should bring with it some warmer temperatures, with the long term average daily max temp being −8.0°C and the average daily min temp being −15°C. October should also be less windy than September.

Averages for October: three less blizzard days, three less strong wind days and three less gale days than September.

Ahs Wilson, BoM Observer