focussing on the AMRC


The International Antarctic Weather Forecasting Handbook:

IPY 2007-08 Supplement


Shelley Knuth

Antarctic Meteorological Research Center

947 Atmospheric, Oceanic and Space Sciences

Space Science and Engineering Center, University of Wisconsin-Madison

1225 West Dayton Street, Madison, WI 53706

Email: shelley.knuth@ssec.wisc.edu  

Submitted April 2008

*Contribution relevant to Chapter 4 Data Availability and Characteristics.

Editors’ note: at this time, the contribution has not been adapted to the original Handbook style, especially wrt numbering of figures etc.

The Antarctic Meteorological Research Center (AMRC), located at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, is the primary meteorological data repository for the United States Antarctic Program (USAP).  The AMRC houses meteorological data in various forms, and from various countries around the world.  Found in the data collection are satellite imagery, including the AMRC’s own satellite composite images, automatic weather station data, forecast model output, and various observational data.  All data are available free of charge if used for scientific or educational purposes, and when possible, in real-time. 

The two main types of data available at the AMRC are the AWS data and the satellite composite imagery.  The AWS data are available for all 100+ USAP stations over the project’s operating time of nearly 30 years, and is available in 10 minute and 3 hourly formats.  The stations report temperature, pressure, wind speed and direction, and on some stations, relative humidity and vertical temperature difference.  Data for weather stations from other countries, such as France and the United Kingdom, as well as data from the SPAWAR stations, are also available. (Figure 1 (Data sources))

AMRC’s signature product is the Antarctic satellite composite.  These composites cover the region from the South Pole to about 40ºS, and are produced every 3 hours from 0 UTC.  The AMRC archive includes infrared imagery, available since 1992, water vapour imagery, available since 2001, and visible imagery, available since 2003.  The images consists of combined geostationary and polar orbiting satellites from around the world, including GOES, POES, MODIS, Europe’s Meteosat, Japan’s Geostationary Meteorological satellite (GMS), India’s Kalpana satellite, China’s FY2C, and DMSP. 

Several other types of data available from the AMRC include ship and buoy observations, weather balloon observations, pilot reports, satellite and AWS data for the purposes of tracking icebergs, METAR observations, and synoptic data.  The AMRC is also the main data center for the USAP staffed station climatological data from South Pole, McMurdo, and Palmer stations.  AMRC’s data are available in several formats, including raw text, JPEG or GIF imagery, netCDF files, Flat (text or binary), and McIDAS (AREA, MD, GRID, etc) files.  Products can be tailored to specific requests.  All data are available via web or ftp at http://amrc.ssec.wisc.edu or ftp://amrc.ssec.wisc.edu.

In addition to the AMRC, there are several locations with various other Antarctic meteorological datasets available.  In the United States, the Polar Meteorology Group at The Ohio State University has several datasets collected by members of its group, which can be found here:  http://polarmet.mps.ohio-state.edu/PolarMet/acd.html.  As well, the group has available real-time output from the Antarctic Mesoscale Prediction System (AMPS), the primary forecasting model used for the Antarctic: http://www.mmm.ucar.edu/rt/mm5/amps/.   Data from weather stations deployed as part of the Antarctic Long Term Ecological Research project are also readily available online:  http://huey.colorado.edu/LTER/meteordata.html.  The National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) is also an excellent source for several types of data in the Antarctic, including ice cores, satellite data, and sea ice data, which can be found here:  http://nsidc.org/data/collections.html). 

In addition, the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) has put together a collection of climatological, ozone, surface temperature, upper air, and sodar data for the Antarctic, which can be found at http://www.Antarctica.ac.uk/met/.  The Russian and Australian Antarctic programs also have available data from weather and staffed stations at these sites, located at http://www.aari.aq/data/Catalogue.html and http://aws.acecrc.org.au/, respectively.  The Italian Antarctic Research Programme also has available a website of Antarctic meteorological data, which can be found at:  http://www.climantartide.it/index.php?lang=en.  Especially important is the link from this site to the Antarctic meteorological polar links section, which lists all of the above data repositories as well as several additional locations to find weather data for the Antarctic:   http://www.polarlink.org/meteo/meteo.php.  

Figure 1 (Data sources)  Schematic showing locations of AWS in the Antarctic from which the AMRC received data in 2008