As of the 1999 field season, 18 automatic weather stations (AWS) are collecting climate information on Greenland's ice sheet. Each AWS is equipped with a number of instruments to sample the following:
- air temperature, wind speed, wind direction, humidity, pressure
- accumulation rate at high temporal resolution to identify and resolve individual storms
- surface radiation balance in visible and infrared wavelengths
- sensible and latent heat flux fluxes
- snowpack conductive heat fluxes
Hourly average data are transmitted via a satellite link (GOES or ARGOS) throughout the year. In addition, measurements are stored in solid state memory. The system is powered with two 100 Ah batteries, charged by a 10 or 20 W solar panel. The satellite data-link is powered by two separate 100 Ah batteries connected to a 20 W solar panel. This setup guarantees continuous data recordings and storage, even in the case of satellite transmission failure. The expected lifetime of the instrumentation is 5 years.
Source: Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences CIRES