|Elevation||4,091 m (13,422 ft)|
|Prominence||1,639 m (5,377 ft)|
Dome A or Dome Argus is an ice dome on the Antarctic Plateau, located 1,200 kilometers (about 745 miles) inland. It is thought to be the coldest naturally occurring place on Earth, with temperatures believed to get close to −90 °C (−130 °F). It is the highest ice feature in Antarctica, consisting of a dome or eminence 4,091 meters elevation above sea level. It is located near the center of East Antarctica, approximately midway between the head of Lambert Glacier and the South Pole, within the Australian claim.
Dome Argus is located on the massive East Antarctic Ice Sheet, and is the highest ice feature of Antarctica. Dome A is a plain and the elevation visually is not noticeable. Below Dome A underneath at least 2,400 meters thickness of ice sheet is the Gamburtsev Mountain Range.
This site is one of the driest locations on Earth and receives 1–3 cm of snow per year. Due to this, as well as calm weather, this site is an excellent location to obtain ice core samples for the research of past climates. Temperatures at Dome A fall below −80°C almost every winter, while in summer it rarely exceeds −10°C.
Details of the morphology of this feature were determined by the SPRI-NSF-TUD airborne radio echo sounding program between the years 1967 and 1979.
In January 2005 a team from the Chinese National Antarctic Research Expeditions (CHINARE) traversed 1228 km from Zhongshan Station to Dome A and located the highest point of the ice sheet (4093 m above sea level) by GPS survey at 80°22’S 77°21’E on Jan 18. This point is near one end of an elongate ridge (about 60 km long and 10 km wide) which is a major ice divide and has an elevation difference along its length of only a few meters. An automatic weather station (AWS) was deployed at Dome A, and a second station was installed approximately half way between the summit and the coast at a site called Eagle (76°25'S, 77°01'E, 2830 m above sea level). These AWS are operated as part of an ongoing collaboration between China and Australia which also includes a third AWS (LGB69) at 70°50'S, 77°04'E, 1854 m above sea level which has operated since January 2002. Station at Dome A is powered by solar cells and diesel fuel and requires yearly service and refuelling.
The coldest air temperature recorded at Dome A since January 2005 thus far (28 September 2010) was in July 2005: -82.5°C. The lowest air temperature (−93.2°C) at the surface of the earth was recorded on August 10, 2010 between Dome Argus and Dome Fuji. Analysis of satellite data and atmospheric models shows that the Ridge A which is located 144 km south-east from Dome A is potentially even better location to look for lowest temperatures on Earth.
The Polar Research Institute of China deployed a robotic observatory called PLATO (PLATeau Observatory) on the dome in January 2008. PLATO was designed and built by the University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia to provide a platform from which astronomical observations and site-testing could be conducted. Various institutions from Australia, US, China and the UK provided instruments that were deployed with PLATO, these instruments included CSTAR, Gattini, PreHEAT, Snodar, Nigel and the PLATO web cameras.
The Kunlun Station, China's third Station in Antarctica, was set up at the dome on January 27, 2009. Thus far the Antarctic Kunlun Station is suitable as a summer station, but there are plans to develop it further and build an airfield nearby to ease servicing, as it is not reachable by helicopters.
- Pole of Cold
- Pole of Inaccessibility
- Ridge A
- Dome C (also known as Dome Circe or Dome Charlie)
- Dome F (also known as Dome Fuji)
- East Antarctica Ranges
- List of Ultras of Antarctica
- "Antarctica Ultra-Prominences" Peaklist.org. Retrieved 2012-09-05.
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- Li Yuansheng, Polar Research Institute of China (2005). Introduction to Chinese Dome A Inland Traverse.
- NASA-USGS Landsat 8 Satellite Pinpoints Coldest Spots on Earth
- PLATO – Dome A Robotic Observatory
- Live Webcams From Dome A
- International Polar Foundation coverage
- PLATO – Dome A Robotic Observatory – Chinese Translation
- China to Build Third Station in Antarctica (China Daily, Oct 14 2004)
- Photo Gallery (People's Daily, Jan 19 2005)
- Chinese Engineer Receives Medical Treatment After Falling Ill During Antarctic Traverse (US National Science Foundation, Jan 19 2005)
- Expedition Photographs (People's Daily, Jan 21 2005)
- An account of the Dome A expedition (Beijing Review, May 2005)