Austral summer’s activities
Whether the temperature is a wintery low of -60oC or a positively balmy 5oC on the warmest of the Austral summer days, BAS scientists are at work delivering frontier science that affects us all. Alongside are Ramboll engineers and consultants supporting their work by advising how to improve and modernise Antarctic research stations and infrastructure. These projects are part of the preparation works for the new ship RRS Sir David Attenborough, which will be ready for operation in 2019.
Returned from their voyages, Ramboll personnel Kate Bunting and Jenny Symons visited three research stations; King Edward Point, Signy and Bird Island. Kate comments: “During the visits to the research stations we have undertaken a range of technical studies. It has also been an invaluable exercise to witness first-hand the daily lives of operational personnel and scientists. It has provided a real insight into living and working in the Antarctic, it is like nowhere else on earth where forward planning is vital for survival and community is essential to well-being”.
Preparations for Signy redevelopment
Ramboll engineering geologist, Jenny Symons, visited Signy and was directly involved with the recommissioning of the station followings its closure over the winter. Signy is the only BAS station that routinely closes down for winter. A full masterplan for the research station is under assessment, which will include the extension of the jetty to accommodate the new cargo tender and new buildings to improve station efficiency, extend service life and speed up recommissioning when the station is re-opened at the start of each Austral summer. As part of the preparation for the Signy redevelopment, Ramboll’s Jenny Symons visited the station to gather information on the ground conditions for the proposed new buildings and jetty. More about Jenny's trip.
Bird Island redevelopment and King Edward Point options appraisal
Bird Island will be the first of the BAS stations to have new buildings built as part of the modernisation. Kate Bunting also visited King Edward Point, a South Georgia research station where BAS scientists are also based. Kate undertook site surveys for the redevelopment preparations at Bird Island and a survey of the existing wharf structure at King Edward Point, which is undergoing options appraisal, she also assessed current cargo management practices to review potential operational efficiencies. More about Kate's trip
Liveability in the Antarctic
As well as gathering technical data on their site visits to Antarctic, Jenny Symons and Kate Bunting were also observing daily operation, “it’s not just about designing functional buildings, we are also interested in behaviours. We have carried out a liveability study to understand daily life at these small stations. Community is so important here, because the teams are so isolated. We have witnessed base personnel and scientists’ daily activities, which will inform the redevelopments. For example there are contrasting needs between those who spend most of their days outside and those who spend most time inside, and the proximity of living and working quarters needs careful planning. This will help base personnel and scientists maintain a clear distinction between the working day and their own time. Rooms which have a clear purpose are also important; we’ve found that many rooms are multifunctional. This lack of distinction prevents the space being used as intended” comments Kate.
Appointed by NERC as Technical Advisors to BAS (British Antarctic Survey), Ramboll is providing specialist engineering and consultancy services for seven years. Delivering a host of projects in the Antarctic region and in the UK, BAS and its Technical Advisors are preparing for one of the world’s most advanced Polar research ships - the RRS Sir David Attenborough (SDA), which will be ready for operation in 2019.