Spend some time with the Bureau of Meteorology

A day in the life of an Antarctic weather observer (Davis station version)

5:00am - Wake up (multiple alarms necessary!)

5:30am - Walk to work and take a quick aurora australis photo. Prepare morning weather balloon.

6:15am - Release weather balloon. Weather balloons record the temperature, humidity, pressure and wind through the atmosphere. This data tells us what the clouds are doing and helps make the local and Australian weather forecasts accurate!

7:00am – Observations of clouds and weather conditions. We record all sorts of weather data including temperature, pressure, wind, clouds, visibility etc.

7:30am – Ozonesonde preparations (a special instrument attached to a weather balloon to monitor the concentration of ozone in the atmosphere and the state of the ozone hole).

9:45am – Swap sunshine recorder cards, snow gauge and perform thermometer comparison tests. Clean out any snow built up in the Stevenson screen.

10:00am - Weather observation of clouds and weather conditions. Rush back for the delicious morning tea that our chef Jordan has prepared. Change the chart in the station barograph which records pressure.

10:30am – Administration and maintenance of equipment. The equipment (and humans) need lots of maintenance to ensure they continue functioning in such extreme conditions of cold, wind and blizzards down here.

1:00pm - Weather observation of clouds and weather conditions. End of the morning shift

1:30pm – Perform daily maintenance of hydroponics, harvesting delicious tomatoes, cucumbers, capsicum, salad leaves and herbs. Ensure the plants are growing well and manually pollinate as there are no insects to do it for us!

2:30pm – Gym and sauna session to stay fit and healthy.

3:30pm - Relax reading a book or enjoy the sights outside.

5:30pm – Afternoon shift starts with evening balloon preparation.

6:15pm – Release evening weather balloon. Race back for dinner before the tasty food is all finished by the other expeditioners! If we are lucky and it is someone’s birthday we get one of chef Jordan’s famous birthday cakes.

7:00pm - Weather observation of clouds and weather conditions.

8:00pm – Shift finishes. Enjoy a game of darts and good conversation with fellow expeditioners.

9:00pm – Early bedtime before doing it all again tomorrow!

Robert Makepeace
Weather observer/tech/cloud enthusiast