What Are They Doing?

Mr. Beckendorf and the team worked on the Antarctic Automatic Weather Stations Project deploying, supporting, and maintaining a network of instruments that take automated weather measurements throughout the year. The data are transmitted via satellite in real-time and the sites themselves require relatively little upkeep. Since the beginning of the project in 1980, there have been approximately 100 weather stations deployed across Antarctica, largely powered through solar energy. The Antarctic Automatic Weather Stations are a very important part of many scientific projects taking place in Antarctica, as these stations provide the only weather measurements available on most parts of the continent.

Where Are They?

The research team was based out of McMurdo Station, the largest base in Antarctica. The team also had the opportunity to travel to other weather station sites outside of the McMurdo area.

Expedition Map

Dates
-
Location
Antarctica
Project Funded Title
Monitoring Automatic Weather Stations Across Antarctica
Kirk Beckendorf - Teacher
Teacher
NOAA Office of Education

Kirk Beckendorf teaches middle school science in Blanco, a small rural school district in central Texas. He has taught life, earth, and physical science to middle school students in both Texas and Oregon. Mr. Beckendorf has participated on a number of research projects over the years and has worked with a variety of scientists from oceanographers to atmospheric chemists. Prior to teaching, he drove stagecoaches in Yellowstone and guided pack trips and whitewater raft trips near Denali National Park in Alaska. He has worked as a foreman and ranch hand on dairy farms in Texas and Alaska. In his spare time Mr. Beckendorf enjoys outdoor activities such as biking, hiking, fly fishing, whitewater kayaking, and blacksmithing.

Jonathan Thom - Researcher
Researcher
University of Wisconsin

Jonathan Thom is an Associate Researcher at the Space Science and Engineering Center at the University of Wisconsin. He received a Masters degree from the University of Wisconsin in Atmospheric Sciences. His research interests include meteorological instrumentation and polar climates. Mr. Thom has worked for the Automatic Weather Station project for seven years and has worked in Antarctica for ten seasons.

George Weidner - Researcher
Researcher
University of Wisconsin

George Weidner has worked on the automatic weather station program at the University of Wisconsin since 1981. During that period, he has participated in 20 field seasons in Antarctica and four field seasons in Greenland. His work includes the design, building, maintenance, and processing of data from weather stations for field programs in Antarctica, Greenland, and Peru. Mr. Weidner holds Bachelors and Masters degrees in Astronomy and Meteorology from the University of Wisconsin.

Shelley Knuth - Researcher
Researcher
University of Wisconsin

Shelley Knuth is a researcher at the Antarctic Meteorological Research Center at the University of Wisconsin. Ms. Knuth holds Bachelors and Masters degrees in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences from the University of Wisconsin. Ms. Knuth’s current research interests include precipitation and snow accumulation.

Latest Journals

Today was a very productive day at orientation which began at 8:30 AM. I think one of the most important aspects of the PolarTREC program is to hear comments, suggestions and hear about experiences from PolarTREC alumni. Each of the comments are designed to help each of the current PolarTREC cohort…
What is an AMOMFW? Since the field season has been over for several months I dropped into Madison, WI to find out what the scientists have been doing. When do they look at their data, analyze what happened in the field, plan the next field season and communicate with other scientists about their…
WATIZIT WATIZIT I planned to write this final” report as I was flying north, but as you can see that didn’t happen. I am not sure which was more disorienting and surreal; last week when I arrived back in Texas and walked through the San Antonio airport and out into the darkness to catch a…
Have my room inspected, Pack everything, Haul it up the hill to be weighed, Leave half of it, Carry the other half back to my room, Wait for tomorrow's flight in the C-17. Bag Drag and Flight Notice Packed and ready to Drag Lots of dragged bags.
McMurdo Posting TIme 1-27-08 1:11 PM Central Standard Posting Time 1-26-08 6:11 PM Byrd AWS Weather Data Temperature- 5 F Wind Direction- East South East Wind Speed- 22 MPH Wind Chill- -15 F Today’s WATIZIT Picture WYIZE Why Is He Hitting The…
Local Posting Day and Time- 1-27-08 10:45 AM Central Standard Posting Day and Time- 1-26-08 3:45 PM Theresa's Weather 1-27-08 Temperature- 5 F Wind Direction- East Wind Speed- 22 MPH Wind Chill- -15 F Today's WATIZIT WATIZIT WATIZIT Our…

Antarctic Weather Stations Resources

Overview

Students will undertake a long term project to evaluate the effectiveness of different local forecasters, match the forecast with the actual weather and analyze which forecaster is best.

Lesson
Arctic
More than a week
Middle School and Up
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Overview

This activity is designed to make a connection between a group of scientists and the students.

Objective

Students will learn that scientists are people too.

Lesson
Arctic
Less than a week
All Aged
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Students will calculate and measure out equivalent amounts of water to model the distribution of the world’s water supply.

Objective

Students will be able to compare the amounts of water and the states of water in different geographic locations.

Lesson
Arctic
About 1 period
Middle School and Up
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Overview

Students use data and pictures of a destroyed wind sensor, to develop a theory of what happened to the station. They then develop a plan to make sure the station is not destroyed again.

Objective

Students will be able to use data to develop a reasonable hypothesis.

Lesson
Antarctic
Less than a week
Middle School and Up
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Overview

Students will use maps to track the teacher's location.

Objective

Students will be able to use latitude and longitude to find locations on a map. They will be able to identify locations within Antarctica.

Preparation

Teachers will need to explain the concepts of latitude and longitude to the students.

Lesson
Antarctic
Less than a week
Middle School and Up
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