Casey Station

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Casey Station
Flag of Australia.svg
Base Information
Country: Australia
State: Australian Antarctic Territory
District: Wilkes Land
Coordinates: 66°16′56″S 110°31′40″E / 66.28222°S 110.52778°E / -66.28222; 110.52778
Established: 1964
Antarctica map with Casey Station on the right-hand side of the map.

Casey Station is a permanent base in Antarctica managed by the Australian Antarctic Division (AAD). It lies on the northern side of the Bailey Peninsula overlooking Vincennes Bay on the Budd Coast of Wilkes Land in the Australian Antarctic Territory. Casey is 3880 kilometres due south of Perth, Australia.

History[edit]

Casey is close to the now-abandoned Wilkes Station established by the United States of America to support science and exploration of Antarctica during the International Geophysical Year (IGY) in 1957–1958. The base was named after Richard Casey, Baron Casey.[1]

Australia took over Wilkes after the IGY, but the American buildings were already unusable due to the build-up of ice around them. Australia built the first Casey Base (originally as 'Repstat'[2]) on the opposite south side of the Newcomb Bay in 1964 with works completed in 1969.[3] This set of buildings was a unique attempt to prevent the problem of ice build-up by elevating the buildings on stilts, to encourage the wind to blow beneath as well as above, and connecting the entire line of buildings with a corrugated iron tunnel.[4] This would, it was hoped, clear the buildup of snow each year, while allowing personnel to move between buildings without having to brave the elements.[2] It worked for some time until corrosion occurred.[4]

Casey Station from the air

The current Casey Station headquarters (the "Red Shed") was built in the late 1980s as part of the Australian Government's Antarctic Re-building Program. It was prefabricated in Hobart, Tasmania by Hobart construction firm, Contas Pty Ltd, trial-erected on the wharf at Hobart, then dismantled, packaged and shipped to Antarctica. It was erected at Casey by tradespeople employed as workers on the normal summer expedition crews. It incorporates innovative design features to prevent the transfer of heat through the structure. The "Shed" is conspicuously located near the top of the hill on which the old radio masts stood. It is probably the largest single structure on Antarctica and was first occupied in 1988. Antarctica has two other sheds the green shed for storing their food, and the yellow shed for brewing. Homebrew beer is served at the station's bar, "Splinters".[5]

One of the reasons for having a base at Casey is to study the Law Dome, a miniature version of the entire Antarctic Ice Cap.

Road[edit]

The old and new stations are connected by a 1.5-kilometre-long (0.93 mi) road.[5][6] The road is excavated by a bulldozer/excavator set at the end of every winter, providing a means to get supplies from the wharf to the new station, leaving ice walls 8 metres (26 ft) tall in places.[7]

Airstrips[edit]

Casey is significant as a transport hub for the Australian Antarctic program, with the introduction of intercontinental jet flights for scientists and operational staff from Hobart to the Wilkins ice runway, 65 kilometres (40 mi) inland from Casey station. The inaugural landing of the AAD's Airbus A319 aircraft was on the evening of 9 December 2007.

The smaller Casey Station Skiway is located 8 kilometres (5.0 mi) east of the station, and opened on 30 December 2004.

In March 2009, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's (ABC-TV) international affairs program "Foreign Correspondent" featured air operations at Casey Station as part of a report titled: "Antarctica - What Lies Beneath".[8]

Climate[edit]

Casey Station experiences a polar climate:

Climate data for Casey Station
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 9.2
(48.6)
6.6
(43.9)
3.6
(38.5)
3.0
(37.4)
4.5
(40.1)
4.2
(39.6)
2.4
(36.3)
5.0
(41)
3.9
(39)
1.1
(34)
4.9
(40.8)
8.0
(46.4)
9.2
(48.6)
Average high °C (°F) 2.2
(36)
−0.1
(31.8)
−4.1
(24.6)
−7.5
(18.5)
−11.1
(12)
−10.4
(13.3)
−10.2
(13.6)
−10.2
(13.6)
−9.7
(14.5)
−8.0
(17.6)
−2.5
(27.5)
1.4
(34.5)
−5.9
(21.4)
Average low °C (°F) −2.6
(27.3)
−5.0
(23)
−9.8
(14.4)
−14.6
(5.7)
−18.5
(−1.3)
−18.3
(−0.9)
−18.4
(−1.1)
−18
(0)
−17.1
(1.2)
−15.1
(4.8)
−9.0
(15.8)
−3.7
(25.3)
−12.5
(9.5)
Record low °C (°F) −10.3
(13.5)
−18.0
(−0.4)
−22.3
(−8.1)
−31.3
(−24.3)
−34.4
(−29.9)
−34.1
(−29.4)
−33.3
(−27.9)
−37.5
(−35.5)
−31.2
(−24.2)
−31.2
(−24.2)
−23.4
(−10.1)
−13.0
(8.6)
−37.5
(−35.5)
Average precipitation mm (inches) 9.3
(0.366)
15.2
(0.598)
18.0
(0.709)
20.6
(0.811)
25.6
(1.008)
27.5
(1.083)
28.5
(1.122)
21.0
(0.827)
17.3
(0.681)
16.5
(0.65)
12.7
(0.5)
12.9
(0.508)
222.5
(8.76)
Average precipitation days (≥ 0.2 mm) 6.6 7.5 8.9 9.3 9.7 11.2 10.3 8.5 8.6 8.1 5.9 5.9 100.5
Mean monthly sunshine hours 161.2 135.6 99.2 60.0 21.7 3.0 12.4 43.4 87.0 139.5 213.0 182.9 1,158.9
Source: Bureau of Meteorology [9]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Australian Philatelic Bulletin, Vol. 16, p. 28
  2. ^ a b Founding Davis and Casey
  3. ^ Casey station: a brief history
  4. ^ a b A brief history
  5. ^ a b Rubin, Jeff (2008), Antarctica, Lonely Planet, p. 314, ISBN 9781741045499 
  6. ^ Road From the Station to Old Casey (PDF) (Topographical map), Australian Antarctic Data Centre, 1999 
  7. ^ "The annual Casey road building challenge", This week at Casey (Australian Government Department of Environment, Antarctic Division), 21 November 2014 
  8. ^ What Lies Beneath?
  9. ^ "Climate Statistics for Casey". Climate statistics for Australian locations. Bureau of Meteorology. Retrieved 23 October 2012. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 66°16′54″S 110°31′28″E / 66.28167°S 110.52444°E / -66.28167; 110.52444