FRANCE

METEO- FRANCE

CATALOGUE OF CLIMATOLOGICAL DATA ON FRENCH STATIONS IN ANTARCTICA AND THE SUB-ANTARCTIC REGION

November 1994

INTRODUCTORY NOTE

This catalogue gives an overview of Météo-France's climatological data for stations located at bases in the French Southern Lands and in Adélie Land. In addition to Météo-France, other France scientific bodies take some physical and chemical measurements of the atmosphere; these institutions have been indicated in the catalogue and can be consulted for more precise information.

As the text explains, the Martin de Viviès (Nouvelle Amsterdam Island) station is included in this catalogue although it is not in the sub-Antarctic region but rather in the temperate zone of the southern Indian Ocean. It has been included simply because it has traditionally been dealt with in this manner, owing to the particular type of administration of the island (the same is true for the other Southern Lands as well).

BRIEF HISTORY OF THE FRENCH PRESENCE IN ANTARCTICA AND IN THE SUB-ANTARTIC REGION (and of the French meteorological stations in these region)

The French overseas territory known as the Territory of the French Southern and Antarctic Lands, which is administered from Paris, is composed of the districts of Crozet, Kenguelen, Saint-Paul and Nouvelle Amsterdam (the Southern Lands) and Adélie Land (Antarctica). Météo-France operates a meteorological station in each of these districts.

The selection and implementation of scientific and technological programmes in polar and sub-polar regions is the responsibility of the French Institute for polar Research and Technology (established on 13 January 1992), Paul-Emile Victor Missions, with headquarters in Brest. It was formerly called the French Polar Expeditions (established on 27 February 1947), Paul-Emile Victor Missions, with headquarters in Paris.

 

Antarctica

Adélie Lands consists of islands and territories located south of 60°S and between 136°E and 142°E(1). It was discovered on 20 January 1840 by French admiral Jules Dumont d'Urville, who commanded the corvettes "Astrolabe" and "Zélée". The explorer named this territory after his wife, Adèle. Later, the French explorer Jean Charcot(1) organized two expeditions to Antarctica, on the ships "Français" (1903-1905) and "Pourquoi pas?" (1908-1910). Adélie Land was the scene of the feat performed by Australian geologist Sir Douglas Mawson in January 1912: after losing two fellow explorers (the first was killed in a crevasse and the second died two weeks later of fatigue), he drifted in search of his base using a make-shift sail (1, 8).

On 20 January 1950, some 110 years after Dumon d'Urville, 15 men from the French Polar Expeditions led by André Frnak Liotard landed in Adélie Land from the aviso "Commandant Charcot" (3), commanded by Max Douguet (an aviso was a type of small, fast ship in the French navy). They were to build the first French base there, called the Port-Martin base, on the coast at 66°49'S and 141°24'E. The base was named after one of the members of the expedition, J.A. Martin, who died on board in 1949 off the Cape of Good Hope(8). It operated from 14 February 1950 to 20 January 1952, when it was destroyed by fire(9). A small annex base called Marret was built on Pétrels Island (in the Geology Point archipelago) from 18 February 1952 to 30 December 1952(9) to study a large colony of emperor penguins. The remains of this base can still be seen on the island.

A part of the International Geophysical Year (IGY) in 1957-1958, France set about building two stations in Antarctica: one on the coast and another near the magnetic pole. The rocky site on Pétrels Island was used again for the coastal station, which was named Dumont d'Urville base(4). Indeed, climatic conditions there were better than at Port-Martin: there was less katabatic wind than on the mainland and fewer blizzards, and from the central part of the island (mean elevation 40m) there was a clear view for scientific observations in all directions. The mainland was also accessible from the base via Cape André Prudhoome a few kilometres away.

The first French expedition to Antarctica for the IGY landed on Pétrels Island on 1 January 1956 and completed the construction of the base on 1 April 1956, when the meteorological station (66°40'S), 140°01'E, 40m barometer elevation) began taking measurements. A second station, called the Charcot base, was built on the continent at 69°23'S and 139°01'E, some 318 kilometres from the coast and at and altitude of 2,400 m. It was completed in January 1957. The second expedition reached a point called "Antipode" at 70°47'S and 139°12'E, at 2,520m elevation. The third expedition reached the southernmost point, called "Terme Sud", at 71°09'S and 139°12'E, some 550 kilometres from the coast(5).

After the IGY, the French Government decided to maintain the Dumont d'Urville base on a permanent basis. As early as 1960 a plan to rebuild the base was drawn up, and it was implemented in the southern summer of 1962-1963. On 22 February 1965 the meteorological station was moved to its current site at 66°40'S, 140°01'E, 43m barometer elevation. After the fire at the balloon launching shed on 16 June 1970, the station switched to using helium. It launches a daily rawinsonde and since 1990 has carried out about 40 soundings per year for vertical ozone profiles.

 

The Sub-Antarctic region

The French Southern Lands consist of the Crozet Archipelago and the Kerguelen Islands, as well as the Saint Paul Islands and Nouvelle Amsterdam Island, a few degrees to the north. Although the latter two groups are in the temperate zone, they are described in this section for convenience.

Crozet

On 18 October 1771, a Frenchman named Nicolas Marion-Dufresne, commander of the "Mascarin", and his second-in-command, lieutenant Julien Crozet (commanding the "Marquis de Castries"), set out from the Ile de France (Mauritius). After finding Marion and Prince Edward Island on 13 January 1772, they came upon the "Ile Froides" (Ile aux Cochons and the Ilots and Apotres, in the Crozet Archipelago) on 22 January. Two days later they discovered new mountain peaks. Marion-Dufressne sent Julien Crozet to the island to lay a bottle there with a parchment in memory of King Louis XV of France. The island was named "Ile de la Prise de Possession"(6), and is now called "Ile de la Possession". In 1964 the Alfred Faure base (named after a French meteorologist) was built there. It has been a permanent base ever since.

The first regular scientific missions began in 1961. A first automatic weather station was set up in the summer of 1961-1962 not far from the site that wa slater to house the manned station which was operated as from February 1963. A second automatic station was in service form 1969 to 1980. The current station, which is manned, was set up in February 1973 at 46°26'S, 51°52'E and 142 m elevation, and takes only surface measurements. On 4 September 1984 the station was moved slightly, and it is now at 143 m elevation.

Kerguelen

On 13 February 19772 a French knight named Yves de Kerguélen de Trémadec, commanding two ships, the "Fortune" and the "Gros-Ventre", discovered an island beyond 40°S latitude. Bad weather forced the vessels far to the south, and the next morning they found more islands. Kerguélen returned to the area on 14 December 1773, at 49°10'S and 64°45'E (the west coat, discovered the year before). But he only laid claim to these islands in 1774, when he returned with the "oiseau" and the "Rolland"(9).

In 1776 the island was visited by Captain James Cook, and through the late 19th century a number of American, English and Norwegian whaling and seal-hunting vessels landed in the island's numerous fjords. Sir James Clark Ross, commander of the "Erebus" and the "Terror", visited the island during his expedition in 1840.

In 1874 the islands were visited during major joint scientific expeditions sent from England, America and Germany to observe the passage of Venus before the sun, on 9 December.

French sovereignty was confirmed in 1893, with the arrival of the aviso "Eure", under the command of Lieutard. Subsequently, many French and foreign expeditions on this large island(6).

in 1924 the Kerguelen Islands and the other southern islands were placed by French government decree under the authority of the Government of Madagascar, which was administered at the time by France. The other main events in the history of the Kergeulen Islands were the following:

1901-1903

Scientific mission by the German ship, "Gauss"

1908-1909

Creation of port Jeanne d'Arc, a Norwegian base (named after the ship that brought the Norwegians to the island)

1913-1914

Second hydrographic voyage of the Rallier du Baty brothers

1929-1930

Australian scientific mission, and first visit by the French geologist, Edgar Aubert de la Rüe

1929

Abandonment of Port Jeanne d'Arc

1930 & 1939

Visit by the French avisos "Antarès" and "Bougainville"

1940-1941

Mooring of the German cruisers, "Kowet", "Pingouin" and "Atlantis"

1941

Presence of the Australian fleet(3)

In December 1949 the aviso "Lapérouse" brought the first French mission under the leadership of Sicaud. The mission chose to land at a place it called Port-aux-Français(6), which is still a port to this day. A nearly complete meteorological station began observations on 2 January 1950 (at 49°21'S, 70°13'E and 12 m elevation). From 28 July 1951 to 31 January 1960 the barometer elevation was 14 m, and from 1 February 1960 to 8 December 1964 it was 18 m. On 9 December 1964 the station was transferred to its current location (49°21'S, 70°15'E and barometer elevation 30 m) and the height of the wind sensors was lowered from 15 m to 11.8 m. The station launches a rawinsonde on a daily basis.

 

Nouvelle Amsterdam Island

This island was discovered on 18 march 1522 by the Portuguese explorer Sebastien Del Cano(2), who assumed the command of the "Victoria" after Ferdinand Magellan died in the Philippines on 27 April 1521. Nearly a century later, commander Harwick Cleasz de Hillegom of the Dutch ship "Zeewolf" was able to make out the southernmost of the two islands, Saint-Paul, through the fog, he established the latitude at 38°50'S, and decided to name the island after his ship, as it had not been previously charted.

On 17 July 1633, Antonio Van Diemen, a Dutch Governor who was on his way to java, passed between Saint-Paul and Nouvelle Amsterdam on his boat, the "Nieuw-Amsterdam, and gave the same name to the north island, keeping Saint-Paul as the name for the south one. The island was for some time called Nouvelle Amsterdam in French, but since the 19th century the French name has been simply "Ile Amsterdam"(6)*. It was not until 1696, when Wilhelm van Vlaming arrived, that the islands were explored. On 1 July 1793, Lord Macartney landed with his two vessels, the "Lion" and the "Hindustan", on his way to China.

France's possession of the islands dates back to 1 and 3 July 1843, when martin Dupeyrat, a captain with much experience in long ocean crossings, arrived commanding the "Olympe" from Bordeaux(7). He staked a claim that was ratified only 50 years later, in January 1893, when the aviso "Eure" came back from the Kerguelen Islands(6). From then until the Second World War, many fishing and scientific ships of various nationalities visited Nouvelle Amsterdam, despite the difficulties involved in disembarking there.

In April 1949, to meet the need for meteorological data in this part of the ocean, the French parlement adopted a resolution. On 24 December 1949 a French mission left Réunion on the lobster boat "Sapmer 1" under the command of Captain Verdavaine. It was to set up a permanent base on the island, which came into view on 31 December. The conditions were so bad, however, that it was impossible to disembark until 26 January 1950. The base was named Martin de Viviès, after French meteorologist Paul de Martin de Viviès, who headed the mission. A meteorological station (37°48'S, 77°32'E, barometer elevation 28 m) began operating on 11 March 1950, and conducted surface observations as well as Pilot wind ballon soundings in July 1950. Daily rawindsonde launches began on 16 March 1951(7). The current station (barometer elevation 29 m) was built in July 1961, in the immediate vicinity of the old station, and is known locally as the "Antonelli meteorological station" (François Antonelli, a French meteorologist, died in a fatal fall on 23 April 1958 while repairing the anemometer mast at the station).

 

REFERENCES

Decree of the French Government, 1 April 1938.

Encyclopédie de l'Empire Français, 1947 (tome deuxième, pp 80), R. Jeannel, Paris.

La Documentation française, 12 juillet 1973, cahier n°4 005 (pp. 16-17), Paris.

Les Expéditions Polaires Française (Missions Paul-Emile Victor), 4ème trim. 1987, Paris (non publié).

Les Expéditions Polaires Française (Missions Paul-Emile Victor), Toponymie de la Terre Adélie, Paris.

Toponymie des Terres Australes (Terres Australes et Antarctiques Française), 3ème trim., 1973, N°1037, Paris.

Archives de la base Martin de Viviès.

Dubard, P. and Bayle, L.M., 1951, Le "Charcot" et la Terre Adélie (p. 14 et p. 158), Editions France Empire, Paris.

J. Chesneau and J. Heuzey, "Données climatiques de la stations Dumont d'Urville", Monographies de la Météorologie nationale N° 72, 1968 Trappes.

Paris, 9 Noember 1994

Serge Auzeneau

Département Réseau

Météo-France.

 

DONNEES SYNOPTIQUES EN SURFACES DISPONIBLES ET CONSTANTE DES STATIONS

DANS L'ANTARCTIQUE

STATIONS

ANNEES

FREQUENCES DES OBSERVATIONS

ALTITUDE

LATITUDE

LONGITUDE

NATURE DU SOL (ETE)

Port-Martin (Terre Adélie)

1950-1951

3h

14m

66°49'S

141°24'E

glace

Dumont d'Urville (Terre Adélie)

1956-

3h

43m

66°40'S

140°01'E

roche

 

DANS LE SUBANTARCTIQUE

STATIONS

ANNEES

FREQUENCES DES OBSERVATIONS

ALTITUDE

LATITUDE

LONGITUDE

NATURE DU SOL (ETE)

Alfred Faure (Iles Crozet)

1974-

3h

143m

46°26'S

51°52'E

roche

Port-aux-Français (Iles Kerguelen)

1950-

3h

30m

49°21'S

70°15'E

pierres

 

AUTRE REGION

STATIONS

ANNEES

FREQUENCES DES OBSERVATIONS

ALTITUDE

LATITUDE

LONGITUDE

NATURE DU SOL (ETE)

Martin de Viviès (Ile Amsterdam)

1950-

3h

29m

37°48'S

77°32'E

herbe

 

Contact:

M. Marc Payen
METEO-FRANCE
Service Central d'Exploitation Météorologique
Division SCEM/CBD
42, avenue Gustave Coriolis
31057 TOULOUSE CEDEX
France

Telephone international: 33 61 07 83 00
Télécopieur: 33 61 07 83 09

PARAMETRES CLIMATOLOGIQUES EN SURFACE DISPONIBLES SUR LES STATIONS*

Parametres

Port-Martin

Dumont D'Urville

Alfred Faure

Port-Aux- FrancaisS

Martin de Vivies

température

1950-1951

1956-

1974-

1950-

1950-

maximale

1950-1951

1956-

1974-

1950-

1950-

minimale

1950-1951

1956-

1974-

1950-

1950-

temp. du therm. mouillé  

1956-

1974-

1950-

1950-

temp. du point de rosée  

1956-

1974-

1950-

1950-

tension de vapeur  

1956-

1974-

1950-

1950-

humidité relative  

1956-

1974-

1950-

1950-

pression au niveau de la mer

1950-1951

1956-

1974-

1950-

1950-

pression au niveau de la station

1950-1951

1956-

1974-

1950-

1950-

vent moyen

1950-1951

1956-

1974-

1950-

1950-

vent maximal instantané

1950-1951

1956-

1974-

1950-

1950-

vent maxi > = 16, 21, 25 et 28 m/s

1950-1951

1956-

1974-

1950-

1950-

nombre de jours avec:          
grêle  

1956-

1974-

1950-

1950-

gel  

1956-

1974-

1950-

1950-

brume  

1956-

1974-

1950-

1950-

brouillard  

1956-

1974-

1950-

1950-

orage  

1956-

1974-

1950-

1950-

neige  

1956-

1974-

1950-

1950-

chasee-neige  

1956-

     
neige au sol  

1956-

1974-

1950-

 
ciel couvert  

1956-

1974-

1950-

1950-

ciel clair  

1956-

1974-

1950-

1950-

nébulosité totale  

1956-

1974-

1950-

1950-

précipitations (quantité)    

1974-

1950-

1950-

précipitations (durée)  

1956-

1974-

1950-

1950-

isolatiion  

1956-

1974-

1950-

1950-

rayonnement global  

1970-

 

1972-

 
température sol -10 cm    

1989-

1972-

1972-

température sol -20 cm    

1989-

1972-

1972-

température sol -50 cm  

1974-

 

1972-

1972-

température sol -100 cm  

1975-

 

1972-

1972-

tableau approximatif

 

DONNEES EN ALTITUDE DISPONIBLE*

Parametres

Port-Martin

Dumont D'Urville

Port-Aux- FrancaisS

Martin de Vivies

pression, température, humidité… (fréquence: 24h)

1951 (seulement)

1956-1962

1973-

1971-

1951-

Vent (fréquence: 24h)

1951 (seulement)

1956-1962

1967-

1961-1962

1971-

1965-

tableau approximatif

 

DONNEES MARITIMES DISPONIBLES

Dans sa base de données, Météo-France dispose d'observations de navires. Par exemple, sur un domaine 35 S - 75 S/ 50 E- 145 E, le nombre de message SHIP recensés est le suivant:

période 1954-1993: 16 142 observations de navires français selectionés;
période 1973-1993: 155 249 observations de navires de toutes nationalités

 

Contact:

M. Marc Payen
METEO-FRANCE
Service Central d'Exploitation Météorologique
Division SCEM/CBD
42, avenue Gustave Coriolis
31057 TOULOUSE CEDEX
France

Telephone international: 33 61 07 83 00
Télécopieur: 33 61 07 83 09

 

PHYSICO-CHIMIE DE L'ATMOSPHERE*

 

Terre Adélie

Crozet

Kerguelen

Amsterdam

radon

1960-1983

1967-

1960-

1967-

carbone 14

1960-1994

 

1960-1994

 
carbone particulaire      

1992

CO2    

1991-1992

1981-

méthane      

1990-1992

noyaux de condensation      

1994-

ozone troposphérique      

1994-

* tableau approximatif

 

Contact:

M. Jean-Claude Duplessy
Laboratoire mixte CNRS/CEA
Centre des Faibles Radioactivités
B.P. 1 - Avenue de la Terrase
91198 GIF-SUR-YVETTE CEDEX
France
Téléphone international: 33 1 6982 3526
Télécopieur: 33 1 6982 3568

 

OZONE POLAIRE

(Ozono-sondages depuis janvier 1990 à Dumont d'Urville, Torre Adélie)

Fréquence: environ 40/an (4 à 5 par mois au printemps austral et environ 1 par mois les autres mois).

Contact:

M. Jean-Pierre Pommereau
Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique
Service d'Aéronomie
B.P. 3
91371 VERRIERES-LE-BUISSON
France
Téléphone international: 33 1 6447 4288
Télécopieur: 33 1 6920 2999