The presence over the Antarctic sky of clouds made up of nitrogenous compounds, chlorates, bromates and other gases of industrial origin that capture oxygen and prevent the replenishment of the ozone destroyed by the sun’s rays in the stratosphere is just one of the parameters surveyed by the researchers at the Argentine Antarctic Institute (IAA) and that are internationally recognized in discussions on the progress of climate change.
The doctor in Physics and head of the Department of Atmospheric Sciences at the IAA, Adriana Gulisano, stated, in dialogue with Télam, that “our field of research encompasses all recordable phenomena from the ground to space. For what is very broad and diverse; we do both ozone layer monitoring and space weather or space observation.
The researcher stated that “in addition to monitoring the ozone layer, we survey polar stratospheric clouds, which are not always made up of water or ice, but rather nitric acid or sulfuric acid and have nitrogenous compounds, chlorates or bromates, that capture the atomic oxygen released when the sun’s rays destroy ozone, preventing this gas from reforming”.
In 2019, the Argentine Antarctic Space Meteorology Laboratory was installed at the Marambio base.
And he warned: “These gases produced in industrial processes or the chlorofluorocarbons (agents that reduce the ozone layer) from domestic aerosols and other halogenated compounds are very stable, so they take a long time to release the oxygen they capture. We need the rate of combination of oxygen to create ozone is greater than the destruction of that gas in the stratosphere, and these gases put that balance at risk.”
Gulisano explained that “to record what happens to the ozone layer in Antarctica we use Brewer spectrophotometers, balloons with ozone probes that collect information up to 30 kilometers high, with a cooperation agreement with the Spanish space agency INTA that has in addition to optical means to record the presence of these gases”.
“From Antarctica we can also collect very important data to carry out space meteorology, with the magnetometers installed in different Argentine bases we can record disturbances in the Earth’s magnetosphere, and we also have ionosonder equipment to measure the ionization of the atmosphere caused by the sun’s rays , a phenomenon that is used to bounce radio waves,” he said.
The researcher recalled that “in 2011 the Argentine Laboratory of Space Meteorology (LAMP) was created, an interdisciplinary and inter-institutional group formed by the Institute of Astronomy and Space Physics (IAFE UBA-Conicet), the Argentine Antarctic Institute and the Department of Sciences of the Atmosphere and the Oceans of the FCEyN of the UBA, directed by Dr. Sergio Dasso”, whose activity can be consulted at http://spaceweather.at.fcen.uba.ar/2/lamp/.
In 2019, the Argentine Antarctic Space Meteorology Laboratory was installed at the Marambio base, which has, among other instruments, a Cherenkov detector in water to measure the flow of cosmic rays; This last instrument is part of the LAGO (Latin American Giant Observatory) collaboration with detectors from Mexico to Antarctica and of which Dr. Gulisano is the representative of our country in the Collaboration.
“The Climate Change research lines carried out by the researcher Alfredo Costa, who has been working and analyzing series of data on trends and anomalies in the temperatures that are recorded in the Argentine Antarctic bases; we can detect how the Antarctic Peninsula is warming, while the interior of the continent cools, and that is already impacting the behavior of all Antarctic ecosystems,” he warned.
Mr. Costa is also beginning to work on the propagation of microplastics.
“The work with atmospheric sciences in Antarctica not only has immediate applications such as those mentioned, but we also learn a lot in the development of basic sciences”Adriana Gulisano-PhD in Physics and head in charge of the Department of Atmospheric Sciences at the IAA
Gulisano emphasized that “Argentina is the only country that has done science in Antarctica permanently since 1904, the rest came later and for a long time through expeditions that spent a season and came back, the constant records that our country has generated for more than a century are a very valuable scientific capital, in the same way as the decision to have constituted the first Antarctic Institute in the world”.
“Argentina always has a fundamental role in the definition of conservation zones in Antarctica, and within the Antarctic Treaty system, Argentina has a South American leadership role through its scientific results that are validated through peer review in publications. scientific”, he valued.
The researcher pondered that “all the data that Argentina produces in Antarctica on space weather are highly demanded, for example, this information is useful for the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) so the pilots before taking off in addition to the usual weather information They have data on space weather conditions and forecasts of possible disturbances that could cause telecommunications or their global positioning systems to fail”.
“The work with the sciences of the atmosphere in Antarctica not only has immediate applications such as those mentioned, but we also learn a lot in the development of basic sciences and we verify that by global circulation all those gases generated by the industrial powers in the hemisphere north are also affecting life in Antarctica,” Gulisano added.