Snowstorm at Princess Elisabeth Antarctica, back in December 2011 - © International Polar Foundation

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Antarctic season delayed by bad weather

Wild Antarctic winter is currently preventing our operations team from reaching Princess Elisabeth Antarctica, for what was already planned to be a very busy season. The team members, led by Foundation president Alain Hubert, is currently in Cape Town, anxiously waiting for news on weather improvements. 

They were due to fly from Cape Town and land on the ice beside the zero emission polar research station on Tuesday, November 6th. While the weather at Princess Elisabeth Antarctica is reportedly good, the route of the team’s Ilyushin 76 transport plane necessitates a stopover at Novo Air Base, the world’s most southerly international airport, which lies next to Russia’s Novolazarevskaya Station.

The delay, which is now expected to stretch into next early week, is the first major delay in the five-year history of operations at Princess Elisabeth Antarctica, and will likely have repercussions for the season’s already packed schedule.

Princess Elisabeth Antarctica has been unmanned since personnel wound down the 2011-2012 season on February 27, after the station's most ambitious season to date. During the four-month 2012-2013 season, the station will welcome some 30 scientists from the fields of atmospheric science, glaciology, meteorology, geology, and microbiology, from several countries, including Belgium, Germany, the UK and Japan.

Meanwhile, back in Belgium, the Mary Arctica cargo vessel has been successfully loaded with machinery and building materials and is due to arrive at the coast Antarctic, 200km from the station in late December. Preparations are ongoing for Inside the Station, an exhibition celebrating Princess Elisabeth Antarctica, which opens in December. And speaking of December, if you're looking for a polar Christmas gift, why not consider our new book, Princess Elisabeth Antarctica - and the Zero Emissions Quest?

Author: IPF

Picture: Snowstorm at Princess Elisabeth Antarctica, back in December 2011 - © International Polar Foundation

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