March 3, 2024
Chilean base in Antarctica records hurricane-force winds

Chilean base in Antarctica records hurricane-force winds

A strong wind storm hit the Chilean polar base Professor Julio Escudero on Sunday, located on King George Island, at the northern tip of the Antarctic Peninsula. On several occasions, visibility was almost non-existent due to the heavy and constant winds that blew a lot of snow.

Wind gusts reached hurricane speed. The wind speed at the base was 110 km / h, but the winds throughout Sunday reached at least 140 km / h. This is because when a wind speed of 140 km/h is reached, the anemometer (the device that records winds) stops working. The information comes from the Antártico Chileno Institute, which monitors meteorology at the base.

According to INACH, the temperature during the violent storm was minus 13 degrees. “This is one of the first autumn storms that prevented the daily launch of our radio probe in cooperation with the Chilean Meteorological Department,” the instrument said.

Radiosondes are meteorological measurements that fetch data from the vertical profile of the atmosphere such as temperature, wind, and humidity, among other variables. When the weather balloon to which the probe is connected rises in the atmosphere, the instrument transmits weather information from different altitudes.

Weather model maps showed a low pressure center of 960 hPa, then very deep, west of the King George Islands. The extratropical cyclone was hundreds of kilometers south of Ushuaia and Punta Arenas. The region frequently experiences severe cyclones from the low pressure belt around Antarctica.

According to the Instituto Antártico Chileno, the weather at Escudero’s base has been relatively “nice” so far this fall. The spring-summer mission at the base has ended and the researchers have already returned home, but one is still on site working on the research platform associated with the base.

Researcher Juan Manuel Carrera, a Venezuelan, will spend most of the winter at Escudero’s Antarctic base and will face new major windstorms, only slated to return in August.