British Antarctic Survey (BAS) is
Kingdom's national Antarctic
operation and has an active role in Antarctic affairs.
is part of the Natural Environment
(NERC) and has over 400 staff. It operates
five research stations
, two ships
and five aircraft in and around Antarctica. BAS addresses key
global and regional issues. This involves joint research projects
with over 40 UK universities and more than 120 national and
Tabarin was a small British expedition in 1943 to establish
permanently-occupied bases in the Antarctic.
It was a joint
undertaking by the Admiralty
At the end of the war it was renamed the Falkland Islands Dependencies
(FIDS) and full control passed to the Colonial
Office. At this time there were four stations, three occupied and
one unoccupied. By the time FIDS was renamed British Antarctic
Survey in 1962, 19 stations and three refuges had been
The Antarctic explorer Sir Vivian Fuchs
was Director of BAS from 1958 to 1973.
Bases in Antarctica
Rothera Research Station
The BAS operates five permanent bases in the British Antarctic
Of these bases, only Rothera and Halley are manned throughout the
year. The remaining bases are manned only during the Antarctic
Bases on South Georgia
also operates two permanent bases on South Georgia:
Both South Georgia bases are manned throughout the year.
headquarters of the BAS are in the United Kingdom, in the
university city of Cambridge, on Madingley Road.
This facility provides offices,
laboratories and workshops to support the scientific and logistic
activities in the Antarctic.
The BAS also operates the Ny-Ålesund Research
on behalf of the NERC. This is an Arctic
research base located at Ny-Ålesund on the Norwegian island of Spitsbergen.
RRS James Clark Ross
wharf at Rothera base
BAS operates two ships in support of its Antarctic research
program. Whilst both vessels have research and supply capabilities,
the RRS James Clark
is primarily an oceanographic
research ship, whilst the
RRS Ernest Shackleton
is primarily a logistics ship used for the resupply of scientific
Both vessels depart from the United Kingdom in September or October
of each year, and return to the United Kingdom in the following May
or June. Both vessels undergo refit and drydock during the
Antarctic winter, but are also used elsewhere during this period.
The James Clark Ross
often undertakes scientific research
on behalf of other organisations in the Arctic
, whilst Ernest Shackleton
chartered into commercial survey work.
The two civilian ships operated by the BAS are complemented by the
capabilities of HMS
, the Royal Navy
ice patrol vessel that operates in the same waters. The
enable BAS staff to get to remote field sites that
BAS aircraft cannot access.
operates five aircraft in support of its research program in
The BAS Dash-7 at Port Stanley Airport
on the Falkland Islands.
The aircraft used are all products of
de Havilland Canada
four Twin Otters
two Dash 7s
. During the
Antarctic summer the aircraft are based at the Rothera base, which
has a 900 metre gravel runway. During the Antarctic winter
conditions preclude flying and the aircraft return to the United
larger Dash 7 undertakes regular shuttle flights between either
Airport on the Falkland Islands, or Punta Arenas in Chile, and
It also operates to and from the ice runway at the
Sky Blu base. The smaller Twin Otters are equipped with skis for
landing on snow and ice in remote areas, and operate out of the
bases at Rothera, Fossil Bluff, Halley and Sky Blu.
January 2008, a team of British Antarctic Survey scientists, led by
Hugh Corr and David Vaughan, reported that 2,200 years ago a
volcano erupted under Antarcticas ice sheet (based on airborne survey with radar images).
biggest eruption in the last 10,000 years, the volcanic ash was
found deposited on the ice surface under the Hudson
Mountains, close to Pine Island Glacier.
Extreme Engineering: the challenges of working in Antartica,
Ingenia, September 2005
- BBC NEWS, Ancient Antarctic eruption noted