Princess Elisabeth Antarctica viewed from the sky

in Press Releases

Scientists Arrive at Princess Elisabeth Antarctica for Polar Research Season

Antarctica, 27 November 2013 – A group of Belgium-based scientists have arrived this week at Princess Elisabeth Antarctica research station, to begin the 2013-2014 four-month BELARE scientific research season. 

The arrivals include German glaciologist Dr Reinhard Drews, based at Université libre de Bruxelles (ULB), who makes his second trip to Princess Elisabeth Antarctica as part of his InBev Baillet Latour Antarctic Fellowship. Drews received the award for his project Be:Wise, which investigates how the potential disintegration of Antarctic floating ice shelves could contribute to increased ice flow from inland glaciers, and a resulting rise in global sea level [1].

Also at the station is Dr Nicholas Bergeot (France) from the royal Observatory of Belgium (ROB), who will install GPS antenna to track crust motion due to ice mass variation as part of the ongoing ICECON project at the station.

Alexander Mangold (Germany) of the Royal Meteorological Institute of Belgium, returns to Antarctica to continue his long-term monitoring of the chemical and particle composition of the Antarctic atmosphere, ozone monitoring and of UV radiation.

A team of four scientists from Japan’s National Institute of Polar Research’s (NIPR) JARE-55 expedition are due to arrive at Princess Elisabeth Antarctica this week.

During the 2013-2014 BELARE season, the zero emission Princess Elisabeth Antarctica will host scientists working in the fields of atmospheric science, glaciology, meteorology, geology, and, from several different countries, including large from Belgium, Germany, Switzerland and Japan [2].

“The International Polar Foundation is proud to welcome polar scientists who make the journey to Princess Elisabeth Antarctica, and to support their endeavours so that we may better understand the Earth and its mechanisms.” said expedition leader Alain Hubert, at the zero emission polar research station.

On December 2nd, a ship carrying equipment and supplies for the Princess Elisabeth Antarctica will depart the Belgian port of Zeebrugge. On board the Mary Arctica will be a Komatsu hybrid excavator HB215LC-1, a gift from Komatsu to the International Polar Foundation [3].

The International Polar Foundation operates Princess Elisabeth Antarctica [4], and supports the activities carried out there, on behalf of the Belgian state [5]. The Foundation supports polar scientific research for the advancement of knowledge, the promotion of informed action on climate change, and the development of a sustainable society.


For interviews, or images of Princess Elisabeth Antarctica and the science projects taking place there, please contact


International Polar Foundation
+32 2 543 06 98

Dave Walsh, media officer
+32 493 140 966

Twitter: @polarfoundation and @antarcticbase


For more about Princess Elisabeth Antarctica, visit

For more about the International Polar Foundation, visit

[1] Antarctic Ice Sheet Scientist Awarded €150,000 Fellowship

InBev Baillet-Latour Fellowship laureate Reinhard Drews begins research in Antarctica

[2] Details of science projects at Princess Elisabeth Antarctica during the BELARE  2013-2014 season:

  • BE:WISE: Research on buttressing effects on ice shelves (ULB) – Dr Reinhard Drews and Lionel Favier will work on the Antarctic coast, funded by the InBev Baillet Latour Antarctic Fellowship.
  • BELATMOS - Ozone, UV radiation and atmospheric composition - Belgian Royal Meteorological Institute (RMI). Dr. Alexander Mangold will maintain the existing atmospheric observatory instrumentation and will install a new aerosol instrument during this summer season.  In addition, the possibility to do filter sampling for aerosol chemical analysis will be tested.  Funded by BELSPO.
  • ICECON: Understanding ice dynamics – Dr Nicholas Bergeot from royal Observatory of Belgium (ROB) will install GPS antenna to track crust motion due to ice mass variation . Funded by BELSPO.
  • JARE-55: National Institute of Polar Research (NIPR) team from Japan will carry out absolute gravimeter readings, as well as a reconnaissance flight over the Belgica Mountains.
  • GIANT-LISSA: Dr Denis Lombardi from Royal Observatory of Belgium will engage in setting up a seismometer transect across the western Sor Rondane mountains.
  • AWS AIR, AWS GUN– Simon Steffen of Swiss Institute for Forests, Snow and Ice (WSL) of a new Automatic Weather Station at the Romnoes Blue Icefield, donated to the International Polar Foundation by the University of Colorado and WSL in Zurich. Two more AWS will be equipped with Argos antennae.
  • LGGE – Alain Hubert , Nighat Amin and Simon Steffens to carry out snow density measurement –traverse of 180 km, measurement of 60 points, twenty cores to measure snow density.
  • GEOMAG project:  Site survey for installation of radome for the geomagnetic observatory. Jean Rasson from IRM Dourbes in Belgium carrying out survey in preparation for construction of geomagnetic observatory next season.
  • ACME: Launch Radio sounding balloon to investigate the water vapour in the air column rising up to the troposphere. Partnership between International Polar Foundation, Swiss Institute for Forests, Snow and Ice and IRM.

[3] The Komatsu hybrid excavator HB215LC-1 was presented to the International Polar Foundation on November 27 2013.

[4] Princess Elisabeth Station is located in the Sør Rondane Mountain Range, Dronning Maud Land, East Antarctica. The station lies at 71° 57' S and 23° 20' E, 220 km due South from the edge of the ice shelf.

[5] The International Polar Foundation is the appointed operator of Princess Elisabeth Antarctica station for the Belgian State.

About Princess Elisabeth Antarctica

As an Antarctic legacy project of the 2007-2009 International Polar Year, Princess Elisabeth Antarctica research station was designed and built to respect the letter and spirit of the Madrid Protocol to the Antarctic Treaty. But the project went a step further: Princess Elisabeth is the world’s first Zero Emission polar research station. Located in East Antarctica’s Sør Rondane Mountains, Princess Elisabeth Antarctica welcomes scientists from around the world to conduct research in this little-studied and pristine environment.

Operated by the International Polar Foundation, in partnership with the Belgian Polar Secretariat, the station is an evolving technical prototype. Princess Elisabeth Antarctica’s design and construction seamlessly integrate passive building technologies, renewable wind and solar energy, water treatment facilities, continuously monitored power demand and a smart grid for maximising energy efficiency.

The success of Princess Elisabeth Antarctica marks an important development in the philosophy of sustainable development, demonstrating how the climate challenge can be met through goodwill and collaboration between civil society, business and governments. The project proves how readily accessible technology can be harnessed to achieve a low carbon society, without compromising our collective or individual wellbeing.

The energy solutions perfected at Princess Elisabeth Antarctica are already being successfully commercialised by the project’s technical partners for use in mainstream applications.

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