This week at Macca, we get some insight into the 2023 Macca BoM team.

BoM Team - Macquarie Island Winter 2023

The Bureau of Meteorology has a long and proud history of Antarctic and sub-Antarctic service, and like our other Australian Antarctic stations, the Bureau has been here at Macca since the establishment of the station. For Macca, that was 75 years ago in 1958, although the Bureau’s George Ainsworth was here with Douglas Mawson’s team way back in 1911.

This year, the 76th ANARE includes three Bureau Technical Officers/Observers: Jadon our fearless (lovely and hardworking) leader, Damien (that guy!) and myself. We are lucky to have the opportunity to be part of the continuous recording of climate data on this unique sub-Antarctic outpost in the Southern Ocean. The data we monitor and collect here is varied. In addition to meeting the World Meteorological Organisation’s standards for surface observations as part of the contribution to global climate monitoring, we also maintain an upper air program to record the conditions through the atmosphere. This data feeds into global numerical weather predication models that produce the weather forecasts we all use every day. Releasing the weather balloons to get this upper air data can be a challenge at times – the wind is our main combatant, but at times there are elephant seals or driving rain to contend with as well.

Macca is also a key location for monitoring ozone in the atmosphere. This is part of the Montreal Protocol, which was universally ratified in 1987 with an aim to reduce ozone depleting substances in the atmosphere. Here at Macca we measure ozone daily through automated measurements on our Brewer instrument and manual measurements on our Dobson spectrophotometer. We have a love/hate relationship with the Dobson. It’s a piece of equipment that would feel at home in a science museum, but is so well built and fit for purpose that it’s still doing the job required of it, many decades later. As part of the ozone program, we also release one ozone sonde each week that records the ozone profile in the atmosphere in real time and is critical data for global records and also to ground-truth the other ozone measurements we are making here at Macca.

At Macca we are lucky to collect data for a range of other organisations as well. This includes rainfall collection for ANSTO (the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation), clean air sample collections for CSIRO, aerosol samples for the SAEF project (Saving Antarctica’s Environmental Future) and automated data collection for NIWA (NZ’s National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research). It is very rewarding to be able to contribute to these science agencies and to be part of larger projects monitoring critical atmospheric conditions.

On top of all this, we get to live in a fantastic community amongst spectacular scenery and amazing wildlife. Life is good.

- Rachel McInerney, Technical Officer, Bureau of Meteorology - 76th ANARE Macquarie Island