Twenty-one Argentine experts who will investigate climate change have arrived at the country's southernmost Antarctic Belgrano II Base, it was reported.
The scientific and military experts will face a four-month long polar night after landing more than 4,500 kilometers away from Buenos Aires and less than 1,700 from the South Pole, with temperatures that can reach around or below minus 35 degrees Celsius. Belgrano II is the southernmost of the Argentine bases and is located to the east of the Weddell Sea, so the newly arrived staff will not have contact with people outside the group until they are relieved in December 2017.
To get here we had to leave Buenos Aires on an Aerolineas Argentinas flight that left us in Ushuaia; from there an Ilyushin-76 transport plane took us on a four-hour flight to the Union Glacier aero-drone where a Basler BT-67 connecting plane was waiting to take us on a three-hour flight to the airstrip five miles off Belgrano II..., base commander Army Captain Alejandro Hermosa said.. The journey was completed with transport vehicles fitted for the local conditions.
The team consisis of 16 Army personnel, two Air Force staff from the National Meteorological Service and three scientists from the National Antarctic Directorate who work at the Argentine Antarctic Institute.
Belgrano II's geographical position allows for much research on the ozone layer, the polar auroras and other atmospheric phenomena, and there are several works related to glaciology, Hermosa explained. He added that some of the equipment needed for the studies is to be airdropped in the coming days.
The most complicated thing during polar night is the water supply, Hermosa sentenced. Every day we will have to go out to chop blocks of ice that we will have to get into the base to melt them, he added. Belgrano II is quite isolated and we are aware that it is very difficult to count on outside assistance in the event of any contingency, so we have an doctor and a nurse on the premises.