Despite the coronavirus restrictions, Ukraine is trying not to reduce the volume of scientific and technical work at the Antarctic Akademik Vernadsky station. On January 20, 2021, another seasonal expedition set off from Kyiv to the station; it included scientists and technicians who will be engaged in the modernization of the station.
So, in order to eventually replace the diesel equipment, it is necessary first install new reinforced concrete structures designed for long-lasting frosts and high moisture. They need to mount a new crane capable of lifting multi-ton loads. And only after that it will be possible to replace diesel generators, which provide heat and light for the entire station.
The engineering team must also install new electric power pylons, modernize the heating system, repair the berth, and so on.
Recall that during the time that the station belongs to Ukraine, that is, for 25 years, its large-scale modernization is being carried out for the first time. It started in 2019, and through last year’s Coronavirus restrictions, it will last a little longer than planned.
Meanwhile, the research team will continue to study how terrestrial and marine ecosystems respond to climate change in the region. Scientists will take samples and analyze the composition of phytoplankton. A separate direction will concern the study of unique vascular plants of Antarctica – Deschampsia antarctica and Colobanthus quitensis. Scientists plan to study the microclimate in the area of distribution of these plants, as well as to obtain additional data on the mechanisms of their “movement” by birds and other vectors. At the same time, the dynamics of growth of moss banks will be studied.
Scientists at the station will get new opportunities to study the upper atmosphere, in particular the ozone hole. Special software will be installed, which will allow to conduct preliminary analysis of the obtained data on ozone concentration directly at Vernadsky, and thus significantly speed up the final results of research.
The seasonal detachment should reach Antarctica by mid-February.