Station Russkaya

[Topography and the local environment][General functions][Synoptic process features]
[The pressure and surface wind][Sea ice][Photo Gallery][Climatological data]
Station synoptic index 89132
Meteorological site height above sea level 124 m
Geographical coordinates 74 46'S 136 52' W
Opened March 9, 198
Closed March 12, 1990

Topography and the local environment

The Russkaya station (opened on March 9, 1980, closed on March 12, 1990) was situated in the Berks cape (Hobs shore) in the point with coordinates 74 46'S and 136 52' W at the altitude of 124 m above sea level. The coast in the station area is the snow-glacial barrier with the height from 2 to 40 m. From the western side of Berks cape the coastline turns sharply southward. 30 km distance east of the station the coastline has the latitudinal orientation. In this sector of Ruppert shore the elevation of continental glacial cover towards the pole is 300 m per 10 km. The 100 m isohypse is 3 km away from the coastline. In the vicinity of the station along the coastline the row of hills with height marks of 125-145 m is situated. The orographic features intensify the eastern winds in the surface atmospheric layer.

The sea bottom in the area of the station has a sharp declination toward the sea. Isobate of 50 m is at a 200 m distance from the shore, and 20 m isobate is at a distance of 100 m from the shore. The kind of bed is of rocky type.


General functions

The Russkaya station was opened in the central part of immense (huge) area of Antarctic, being out of scientific observations, and its purpose (function) was the execution of investigations only. A complex of hydrometeorological, geophysical, astronomical medico - physiological and others observations was carried out at the station. The synoptic information for vital activity at the station was provided by prognostic group of Molodezhnaya station.


Synoptic process features

Typical for station location area the extremely severe weather conditions are formed by combination of low temperatures with hurricane winds. The mean annual air temperature is -12.40C during all period of observations. The warmest month is January, the coldest one is August. The absolute temperature minimum is -46.40 C, and absolute maximum is +7.40 C. In the station area the blizzards are often observed (about 150 days a year) accompanying by snow fall and by restriction of visibility up to minimal values. Due to orographic features the easterly winds prevail.

The atmospheric circulation in the Pacific sector of Antarctic is characterized by high activity. The cyclogenesis processes are developed better in the cold period of the year and they are weakened on November -January. The maximal frequency of moving cyclonic eddies is registered in the area of 60-700 S, and the basic area of intensive cyclogenesis is located south of Tasmania and New Zealand islands in the area of 50-600 S. The cases of cyclone formation father south of 600 S are very seldom. The most of cyclonic eddies move along the zonal trajectories, but moving along the submeridional trajectories from the above mentioned area toward the Hobse shore cyclones are of maximal activity.

Such processes are connected with the development of blocking tropospheric High, orientated from the north to the Amundsen sea. The high frequency of similar events conduce the formation of quasi-stationary baric low north of the Hobse Shore, which is the typical situation, especially for cold period of the year. From the other side the development of blocking events accompanied by activation of Antarctic High conduces the formation of high pressure area over the Mary-Bard Land coast. The peculiarity of atmospheric circulation in the investigated region defines the unique baric and wind regimes at the Russkaya station.


The pressure and surface wind

At the Russkaya station the average for multiyear period pressure at sea level (980.9 mbar) is the lowest pressure registered at coastline Antarctic stations. The annual pressure variation is characterized by achieving of the maximum value in January and minimum value in October. The absolute pressure maximum was 1019.1 mbar. The absolute pressure minimum of 923.4 mbar was lower than absolute pressure minimum values registered at the coastal stations. The annual pressure variation amplitude of monthly mean data at the Russkaya station is much higher also, than at other Antarctic stations.

The hardness of wind regime is the peculiarity (distinctive feature) of the climate in the Russkaia station region. The mean annual wind speed there is 12.9 m/c The monthly mean wind speed maximum of 18.1 m/c was registered in March , the minimum of 9.6 m/c was observed in January. The wind speed maximum (excluding January and February) fluctuates in limits of 46-61 m/c. The registered wind gust velocity maximum was 77 m/c, it was impossible to register the stronger wind gusts due to wind anemometers destruction. There was a case, when the wind with the speed of 50-60 m/c was blowing continuously during 16 days. On an average during the year the number of days with the exceeding 15 m/c wind speed is 264 and there are 136 days a year with the wind speed exceeding 30 m/c at the station. All the hurricane winds registered at the station were of cyclonic origin with direction in the range 75-850.The slope south-easterly winds, which are typical for other areas of Antarctic coastline with sharp glacial are not stable here. Ever in the rare parts of cyclonic disturbances the wind direction has the west-south-westerly tendency, according to latitudinal orientation of the shore

In all cases the hurricane increases of wind were accompanied by the approach of very active cyclones moving from the North-West to the Mary Bard Land coastline, their trajectory was defined by localization of blocking tropospheric High, directed to the Amundsen sea. By then the centres of cyclonic eddies were located over oceanic aquatory father west of Russkaya station meridian, and cloudy front was orientated along coastline. Evidently, with account of coastline orography, such conditions are necessary for hurricane increase of winds.

For successful forecasting of such situations it is necessary to get a satellite information (data) about cloud cover not less than twice a day, it makes possible to define the velocity and direction of cloudy eddy disturbances moving. The synoptic maps can give an additional information, but they may content inaccuracies for this region due to lack of meteorological observations data.

It is possible also to predict the wind speed increase up to hurricane force with help of the meteorological observations data carried out at the station. The active cyclone approach to the coast is accompanying usually by overflowing of Cirrostratus and Altostratus cloudiness 6-12 hours before the wind speed increase. At the same time the fall of pressure and increase in temperature of 5-100 are registered. The subsequent wind turn for 75-850 predicts the soon wind speed increase if previous wind direction was different. The turn of wind to the North-East accompanied by wind speed decrease not always indicates the storm end, because it can be connected with passage of frontal sector, followed by another cyclone. Sometimes, there is the possibility of two and more cyclonic disturbances passages with period of about a day, which is the reason of long-term storm situations. Usually the wind drops fully with its turn to the South-West.


Sea ice

The main feature of ice regime in the area of Russkaya station is the yearly formed wide solid strip of fast ice and chain of stationary polynias, formed along the coastline in the summer period. The typical feature of fast ice is its increased stability.
Yearly it achieves the same maximum size of about 100 km, bounded by shelf area. In the spring-summer period about half of fast ice is destroyed. In the station area the fast ice is breaking down once per 3-4 years. In case of breakdown of multiyear fast ice the frequent hurricane winds block (prevent ) the formation of stable ice for a long time.

Due to heavy ice conditions the disembarkation at the Russkaya station is available by helicopters only.


Photo Gallery

General view of the station
Fuel supply to station Russkaya


Climatological data