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BIF South Pole by Ella Derbyshire

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About This Gigapan

Taken by
Ella Derbyshire Ella Derbyshire
Explore score
Print Pricing
$6.00 to $1,047.00
0.08 Gigapixels
Date added
Apr 24, 2009
Date taken
Apr 24, 2009

Nikon D80's

architectural, environmental, indoor

GigapanMagazine.org Will open in a new tab or window
vol 1 issue 2

Contributors: W. Lance Roth, Kristina Shiroma and Katy Jensen

Here is the interior of the Balloon Inflation Facility, (BIF) as we prepare to launch dual plastic balloons. We are using plastic today because the latex balloons break prematurely in the cold temperatures of an Antarctic winter. The plastic balloons are able to carry their payloads high enough to gather the data that we need.

The payloads are radiosondes that are carried by the balloons to altitudes of 10,000-11,000 meters above sea level. There they collect data such as humidity, temperature, pressure, wind direction and wind speed, and they send the information down to a radio receiver at the Pole. In the winter months, information from South Pole’s daily weather balloons is sent back to the United States to be used in forecasting weather worldwide.

In the summer, the meteorologists launch balloons twice daily to collect the same type of weather information to support the planes flying over Antarctica as well as provide information for worldwide weather forecasting. During the summer you would see round, white latex weather balloons flying above the South Pole.

There are two payloads today. In addition to the meteorologist’s radiosonde, the balloons will carry a separate sonde for the scientists from the South Pole’s Atmospheric Research Observatory (ARO). They send up their weekly balloons to measure ozone levels in the stratosphere. Their sondes collect and transmit data that will be used to study changes in the ozone hole which develops over the South Pole with the return of the sun each year. As September and sunrise approach, ARO will also be increasing the frequency of their balloon launches.

There are a few hints in this photograph that tell you that you are somewhere very cold. Have a look around and see what you can find.

The 24 images of this panorama were photographed with a Nikon D80 and stitched with Autopano Pro.

Gigapan Comments (1)

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  1. Ella Derbyshire

    Ella Derbyshire (August 31, 2009, 02:00PM )

    The South Pole is considered an important place for studying the ozone layer. The hole in the ozone layer over the South Pole is of particular interest because the ozone layer filters harmful ultraviolet rays out of sunlight before it reaches humans, animals and plants on the ground. In people, ultraviolet radiation is a major factor in the development of cataracts and certain skin cancers. Ultraviolet radiation also harms plants and affects their growth and reproduction. It has adverse effects on phytoplankton, which is the base of the food chain in our oceans. There are chemicals that destroy ozone, and there are global efforts to reduce our use of ozone-depleting substances. Monitoring the size of the ozone hole here gives indications of how effective our efforts have been.

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