Vernadsky Research Base
Vernadsky Research Base
Антарктична станція Академік Вернадський
Faraday Research Base (until 1996)
|Islands of Antarctica||Wilhelm Archipelago|
|Established||1947 (by the United Kingdom)|
|Transferred||February 1996(to Ukraine)|
|Named for||Vladimir Vernadsky|
|• Body||National Antarctic Scientific Center of Ukraine|
|Time zone||UTC-3 (ART)|
The Vernadsky Research Base (Ukrainian: Антарктична станція Академік Вернадський) is a Ukrainian Antarctic Station located at Marina Point on Galindez Island of Argentine Islands, not far from Kyiv Peninsula. The region is under territorial claim between three countries (more Territorial claims in Antarctica). The single Ukrainian Antarctic station is named after Russian and Ukrainian mineralogist Vladimir Vernadsky (1863–1945) who was the first president of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine.
Before being handed over to Ukraine in 1996, the research base for almost half of century existed as a British research base.
British Faraday Station (Station F)
The Faraday Station existed for 49 years and 31 days (7 January 1947 – 6 February 1996) operated by FIDS and BAS.
The research base was established in 1947 at the Wordie House site on Winter Island by the Falkland Islands Dependencies Survey (today British Antarctic Survey) as Argentine Islands. The primary purpose of the station was to research geophysics, meteorology, and ionospherics.
In May 1954 the base moved from Winter Island to the present site on adjacent Galindez Island where the main building was named "Coronation House" in honor of the 1953 coronation of Elizabeth II.
On 15 August 1977 it was renamed as Station F — Faraday soon after the Argentine Air Force established own military base at Southern Thule earlier in November 1976 (see Corbeta Uruguay base) during 1970–1980s contestation of the region between Argentina and the United Kingdom. The British base was renamed Faraday Station in honour of British scientist Michael Faraday. In September 1976 at Rasmussen Island was planted memorial cross in honor of G H Hargreaves, M A Walker and G J Whitfield. On 14 August 1982 another memorial cross was planted at Petermann Island in honor of A C Morgan, K P Ockleton and J Coll.
Ukrainian Vernadsky Station
In 1992, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia declared itself the successor to all the Antarctic stations of the USSR and refused to transfer one of them to Ukraine. During February-August 1992, a number of initiative letters were sent by scientists and specialists, appeals of institutions and organizations to state bodies on the need to resume and continue Ukraine's activities in Antarctica.
On July 3, 1992, President of Ukraine Leonid Kravchuk issued a decree on Ukraine's participation in Antarctic research. In August 1992, the Verkhovna Rada approved the documents on Ukraine's accession to the Antarctic Treaty, and on October 26, 1993, the Center for Antarctic Studies (later the Ukrainian Antarctic Center) was established, headed by Petro Gozhyk.
In November 1993, the United Kingdom circulated a proposal to the embassies to transfer the Faraday station on the island of Galindez in the Argentine archipelago to one of the states that did not yet have stations on the continent. This idea was picked up by Ukrainian diplomats - the then Ambassador of Ukraine to Britain Serhiy Komisarenko and Counselor of the Embassy for Science Roland Franco.
On November 21, 1994, the Renaissance Foundation allocated $ 12,000 for the Ukraine Returns to Antarctica project. On July 20, 1995, in London, Ambassador of Ukraine Serhiy V. Komisarenko signed an intergovernmental agreement, and Petro Gozhyk, Director of the CAD, signed a Memorandum between the CAD and the BAS on the transfer of the Faraday Antarctic Station to Ukraine no later than March 31, 1996.
On February 6, 1996, at 6:45 p.m., a yellow and blue flag was solemnly raised above the station.
The first expedition was successful. For high professionalism shown in the extreme conditions of Antarctica in carrying out the tasks of the First Ukrainian Antarctic Expedition by the Decree of the President of Ukraine in April 1998 the Order of Merit of the III degree was awarded to G.P. Milinevsky (station chief), the Order of Courage of the III degree V. G. Bakhmutov (geophysics) and L.S. Govorukha (glaciologist). A monument with a list of participants of the First Antarctic Expedition remained at the station.
Ukraine took over the operation of the base in February 1996, which was sold by the UK for a symbolic one pound. The cost of disassembling the base with good environmental practices and standards would be too costly. The National Antarctic Scientific Center of Ukraine continues a programme of meteorology, upper atmospheric physics, geomagnetism, ozone, seismology, glaciology, ecology, biology and physiology research. The purpose of the State Targeted Scientific and Technical Program for Antarctic Research for 2011-2020 is to ensure the conduct of basic and applied research in Antarctica, the effective operation of the Antarctic station "Academician Vernadsky", Ukraine's international obligations under the Antarctic Treaty and scientifically sound assessment of prospects for the development of biological and mineral resource potential of the region.
The climate of the base is classified as marine subantarctic. The climate is strongly influenced by the surrounding Pacific Ocean, moderating winter and summer temperatures. Thus, winter temperatures rarely fall below −20 °C (−4 °F) owing to the warmer waters while in summer, the cool waters and snow cover causes temperatures to rarely reach above 0 °C (32 °F). The mean annual temperature is −4 °C (25 °F) although within the last decade, temperatures have risen with much of it in winter and autumn.
Being located in the west coast of the Antarctic Peninsula, the climate is dominated by the low pressure systems that develop over the Pacific Ocean and move eastwards towards the peninsula mountain range. This process leads to frequent precipitation and strong winds in the base. Unpredictable and short snowfalls and snowstorms occur often. On average, the base receives 300 days with snow per year. Anticyclone weather patterns caused by high pressure systems in the interior of Antarctica or from the north are rare. In the cases that they occur, when the weather is influenced by the high pressure system from the interior of the continent, cold air masses from the south moves northwards. This can occasionally lead to foggy conditions and hoarfrost.
|Climate data for Vernadsky Research Base|
|Record high °C (°F)||10.0
|Average high °C (°F)||2.6
|Daily mean °C (°F)||1.4
|Average low °C (°F)||0.3
|Record low °C (°F)||−10.6
|Average relative humidity (%)||87||84||81||84||81||79||80||81||84||83||84||86||83|
|Source: Deutscher Wetterdienst|
The station consists of nine buildings standing on rock foundations. A 1961 extension at the east end of the hut provided living quarters for 15 people. Major alterations in 1980 updated the living and working accommodation. A two-storey extension provides sleeping accommodation for 24 people, a clothing store, boiler room and reverse osmosis plant on the ground floor. Upstairs are a lounge, library, dining room, gift store and kitchen. Visitors could purchase $3 shots of horilka (made on the premises) up until 2016 in the lounge. The old part of the building is now mostly laboratories and work rooms, together with the surgery and washrooms. The generator shed was erected in 1978-79, with the old one now used as a frozen food store and a carpenter's workshop. Other buildings include two non-magnetic buildings, a balloon launching shed (now skidoo garage), and a general store.
Not part of the current Ukrainian Research Base, yet associated with the history of preceding British Faraday Station, the Wordie House served as a foundation of new British Antarctic station. Built on the site of an earlier British Graham Land Expedition sometime in 1935–36, it was destroyed, possibly by a tsunami, in 1946. The hut was named "Wordie House" after Sir James Wordie, a member of 1914–16 Shackleton's Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition who visited during its construction.
To commemorate the historic landmark, on 19 May 1995 the Wordie House at Winter Island has been restored and designated as Historic Site and Monument No. 62. After Faraday base complex at Galindez Island was transferred to Ukraine, the new Vernadsky base personnel continued temporarily supervise the Wordie House.
In January 2007 the landmark was inspected by conservation architect for BAS and since October 2009 the Wordie House is managed by United Kingdom Antarctic Heritage Trust under a "Memorandum of Understanding" with BAS.
At Rasmussen Island there is a hut that was under official use in Mar 1984–6 Feb 1996. Currently it is considered as closed, yet used occasionally by Ukrainian personnel from Vernadsky Station for emergency refuge shelter and recreational.
As one of the longest operating bases in Antarctica, Vernadsky Station has been the subject of scientific research studies on long-term temperature trends that indicate global warming. A study published in the April 2013 issue of the International Journal of Climatology examined the daily observed temperature at the Faraday/Vernadsky station from 1947 to 2011. It concluded that “Faraday/Vernadsky is experiencing a significant warming trend of about 0.6°C/decade (1.1°F) over the last few decades. Concurrently, the magnitude of extremely cold temperatures has reduced.”
Postal services and tourism
Vernadsky Station operates several services for visiting tourists. A post office accepts postcards at a cost of US$2 each. This is one of only a few post offices where visitors may send mail from Antarctica. Stamps for letters cost $6. Mail will take several months to be delivered. In addition to selling postage and accepting outgoing mail, the post office sells commemorative postcards and envelopes for $2 to $3 each.
During 2013–14, Vernadsky Station is staffed by 12 Ukrainians who make up the XVIII Ukrainian Antarctic Expedition.
In popular culture
The first Ukrainian expedition to the research base is featured in the Death and the Penguin (1996) novel by Ukrainian author Andrey Kurkov, which was one of the first internationally successful books of independent Ukraine, as well as its sequel Penguin Lost (2002).
- XVIII Ukrainian Antarctic Expedition
- Akademik Vernadskyi Antarctic station, chronology of events (Станція АКАДЕМІК ВЕРНАДСЬКИЙ: хроніка подій). National Antarctic Scientific Center of Ukraine.
- History of Faraday (Station F). British Antarctic Survey.
- "Faraday station". British Antarctic Survey. Retrieved 2007-11-24.
- "Академік Вернадський", Вікіпедія (in Ukrainian), 2021-02-06, retrieved 2021-02-09
- "About scientific research". Retrieved 2021-07-10.
- "Український полярник: у мене в морозилці шість невідомих науці видів". BBC News Україна (in Ukrainian). Retrieved 2021-02-06.
- "Meteorological conditions in Vernadsky Station area". National Antarctic Scientific Center of Ukraine. Archived from the original on 5 April 2017. Retrieved 5 April 2017.
- "Klimatafel von Faraday / Argentine Island (Großbritannien) / Antarktis" (PDF). Baseline climate means (1961-1990) from stations all over the world (in German). Deutscher Wetterdienst. Retrieved 5 April 2017.
- "NASC History". Ukrainian Antarctic Station "Akademik Vernadsky". Retrieved 2021-07-10.
- "Wordie House". British Antarctic Survey. Retrieved 2007-11-24.
- History of Rasmussen Hut (Station RS). British Antarctic Survey.
- Vernadsky Station -- TravelPod
- "Celebrating the Vernadsky Research Base". Google. 6 February 2021.
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