Dome Argus, the coldest place in Antartica and on Earth. Photo: Blogspot
Dome Argus, the coldest place in Antartica and on Earth. Photo: Blogspot

The first Chinese unmanned weather station in Antarctica, built on the 4,093-meter-high Dome Argus, the highest point on the Antarctic Plateau, has just wrapped up a year of testing in a place thought to have the lowest naturally occurring temperatures on Earth, believed to reach between minus-90 and minus-100 degrees Celsius, or even colder.

Run by the Chinese Academy of Meteorological Sciences, the station marks another feat of China’s Antarctic exploration, as it joins the elite club of installing permanent, fully automatic climate observation facilities in the most frigid point on the Antarctic ice sheet.

Before China, monitoring stations erected by Australia and the United States had already been up and running there.

antarctic st
A file photo shows an Australian weather observation station on Dome Argus. Photo: Australian Antarctic Division

“The station has been operating non-stop without any glitch throughout the one-year trial run,” Ding Minghu, deputy director of the academy’s Institute of Polar Meteorology, told Xinhua.

His academy has conducted research on facilities for automated weather stations that are durable in ultra-low temperatures since 2010, including battery technology, wind-direction detectors and energy-control systems.

On July 10, 2017, the Dome Argus station recorded a temperature of minus-78.9 degrees, the lowest so far, said Ding, adding that the efficiency and accuracy of the statistics have been proved by comparative data collected by other countries’ automatic weather stations.

All data collected will be shared among countries running Antarctic programs.

An expert at the Polar Research Institute of China said the unmanned weather station was fully automatic, since it is difficult for people to stay for extended periods in the extreme Antarctic conditions.

China is on course to build its fourth research station in Antarctica, on Inexpressible Island. The nation also inaugurated its first North Pole station, the Yellow River Station, in 2004.