A team of scientists monitored the environmental conditions of the white continent for five months. With this, the researchers seek to obtain a continuous record of the variations between seasons.
After spending more than five months at the Antarctic base, Professor Julio Escudero, the marine biologist from the Center for Dynamic Research of High Latitude Marine Ecosystems (IDEAL) of the Austral University of Chile (UACh) and the Center for Research in Ecosystems of the Patagonia (CIEP), Emilio Alarcón, returned to the American continent.
The researcher was one of the two professionals who participated in the first winter Antarctic Scientific Expedition (ECA) organized by the Chilean Antarctic Institute (INACH). During the campaign, he dedicated himself to studying the environmental variables of the territory’s coastal marine system.
“During this period we continued to monitor the physicochemical and biological parameters of the sea surface in Fildes Bay, King George Island. This will help us compare the information we had during the summer expeditions and have a complete picture of how it varies between seasons of the year,” explained Alarcón.
Obtaining data during the winter was not a simple task. In addition to the lack of light, with only five-hour windows, the researchers were exposed to weather conditions typical of the time. “Field work has always been a challenge, especially in Antarctica, an isolated, cold and windy place. This expedition was definitely more difficult than the summer campaigns: On several occasions we did not know if we could continue with the sampling,” he stated.
During his stay on the white continent, the researcher was able to observe some peculiarities. “This winter in the northern part of the Antarctic Peninsula was quite anomalous: The atmospheric temperatures were relatively warm, and we could corroborate this, since the bay did not completely freeze, as it usually does in winters,” he assured.
The data collected by the marine biologist during this campaign is being analyzed in the laboratory. “As the IDEAL Center, for the first time we were able to monitor the microscopic world found in the sea during these dates. That will be a good baseline to assess how winters will continue in a place that is highly sensitive to atmospheric and marine changes,” Alarcón explained.
The researcher positively evaluated this autumn-winter campaign and highlighted the opportunity to be able to study and record in situ a geographically difficult place for the study of science, thanks to the logistical work between INACh, the Chilean Air Force (FACh), the General Directorate of Civil Aeronautics (DGAC) and the Chilean Navy in the white continent.