Antarctic Treaty
Electronic Information Exchange System

Party: Belgium
2009/2010 Annual Information
Forward Plans
Scientific Information - Forward Plans
Science Plan/Program/Project: A team of geologists (JARE 51) will be active in the field, arriving on the 11th and 14th of November and returning to Japan on the ship the Shirase. A team of 4 microbiologists (BELDIVA) will be active from the 7th of January until the 30th of January around Utsteinen, the dry valleys, and the surrounding areas. A team from the KUL and Royal Observatory Institute for Meteorology will be present (HYDRANT, GIANT/ LISSA) on site to install and test their instruments between the 7th of January and the 22nd of February.
Planned Operating Period: From     To 
Contact Point:
Name: Vancauwenberghe Maaike
Job Title or Position: Programme manager
Phone: +32 2 2383678
Link (URL): -
Additional Information:  
Areas of Activity

Science Activities in Previous Year
Scientific Information - Science Activities in Previous Year
Project Name/Number: BELATMOS
Discipline: Monitoring of Ozone and Related Trace Gases, UV Radiation and Aerosol Particles in Support of Atmospheric Chemistry and Climate Research
Principal Investigator: Mangold Alexander Royal Meteorological Institute of Belgium Avenue Circulaire 3 Ringlaan 1180 Brussels tel: + 32 2 373 05 93
Main Activity/ Remarks: The objective of the project is to contribute to the long-term monitoring of the chemical and particle composition of the Antarctic atmosphere and to the quantification of the UV radiation reaching the surface, using a suite of complementary ground-based instruments. The proposed instruments include as primary instruments an aethalometer, a CIMEL spectrophotometer, a Tapered Element Oscillating Microbalance (TEOM), a nephelometer and a set of three pyranometers (UV-A, UV-B and total solar radiation).
Link (URL):
Additional Information:  
Operating Period: From:    To: 
Areas of Operation
Project Name/Number: BELDIVA
Discipline: Microbiology - Belgian microbial diversity project in Antarctica
Principal Investigator: Wim Vyverman Ghent University Department of Biology Krijgslaan 281 S8 - 9000 Gent Phone: +32 9 264 85 01 - Fax 09 264 85 99
Main Activity/ Remarks: BELDIVA is aimed at sampling representative habitats (potentially) containing microorganisms in an area of 200 km around the Belgian Princess Elisabeth Base (PES), Dronning Maud Land, East Antarctica. The specific objectives can be articulated as follows: 1. Conduct an exploratory field campaign in an area of c. 50 km around Utsteinen during the Austral summer of 2008-2009. 2. Develop a relational database which will be integrated with national and international data repository centres. 3. Select potentially interesting sites and habitats based on an in-depth analysis of satellite and LIDAR images, and aerial pictures in an area of 200 km. 4. Organise and conduct a field campaign to sample the selected sites during the Austral summer of 2009-2010. 5. To verify the distribution in representative samples from the field campaigns of bacterial and cyanobacterial taxa selected during the AMBIO project, and study the diversity of algae, lichens and microarthropods (Arthropoda, Hexapoda, Collembola) of the family Isotomidae. . 6. To integrate findings on microbial taxa distribution with results from AMBIO. 7. To obtain a first description of pristine areas and assess their significance and originality. This information can be used to describe new ASPAs in the region, or select sites for future research.
Link (URL):
Additional Information:  
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Areas of Operation
Project Name/Number: DELAQUA
Discipline: Deglaciation, ice-sheet thickness and climate change in Sør Rondane (East Antarctica) during the late Quaternary
Principal Investigator: Elie Verleyen Department of Biology - Protistology and Aquatic Ecology Ghent University Sint-Pietersnieuwstraat 25, 9000 Gent Belgium tel.: +32 9-264.85.04 fax: +32 9-264.85.99 e-maim:
Main Activity/ Remarks: DELAQUA aims to unravel the climate and environmental history of the Sør Rondane Mountains based on an extensive survey and exploration of various landforms and natural climate archives (e.g. lakes, moraines, lacustrine paleoshorelines). To this end, we will use a combined geomorphological and paleolimnological approach, in a close collaboration with our national and international partners. The results are expected to provide important background information to test ice-sheet models and a framework for the assessment of recently observed climate anomalies, to identify glacial refugia, and more generally to study the evolutionary, biodiversity and biogeographical patterns in Antarctic biological communities. It will thus directly contribute to and complement our ongoing paleoclimate and biodiversity related projects in Antarctica. Specifically, the proposal will tackle the following two main research questions: (i) What is the timing of deglaciation in different parts of the Sør Rondane region and what was the former ice thickness during the LGM? (ii) How did climate vary duing the late Quaternary in Sør Rondane and what was the effect of these climate anomalies on Antarctic lacustrine biota?
Link (URL):
Additional Information:  
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Areas of Operation
Project Name/Number: GIANT-LISSA
Discipline: Geodesy for Ice in ANTarctica -Lithospheric and Intraplate Structure and Seismicity in Antarctica
Principal Investigator: Thierry Camelbeeck Royal Observatory of Belgium Geodynamics and Earth Rotation avenue circulaire, 3 BE-1180 Brussels tel: + 32 2 / 373 0252 fax: + 32 2 / 373 0339
Main Activity/ Remarks: GIANT: Combine GPS and absolute gravity measurements to evaluate the mass balance of the Antarctic Ice sheet, in the vicinity of the Belgian station. Installation of two continuously operating GPS stations on the bedrock at the Princess Elisabeth Antarctic Station. In order to derive reliable surface movements the GPS data will be analysed in a dedicated manner, taking into account the location of the Station and the extreme ionospheric conditions. Annual absolute gravity measurements at the station are necessary to separate the lithospheric movements induced by the post-glacial adjustment and by the present day ice changes. Given the noise affecting the absolute gravity measurements and the ground deformations deduced from GPS measurements, we expect to extract useful information on the mass balance in a radius of 500 km around the station within 7 years. LISSA: Installation of a broad-band seismic station at the Belgian station in Antarctica. It will complete the coverage of seismic stations in Antarctica and help to better understand intra-plate seismic activity and the lithospheric structure around the Belgian station site by the modelling of receiver functions from teleseismic events.
Link (URL):
Additional Information:  
Operating Period: From:    To: 
Areas of Operation

Project Name/Number: HYDRANT
Discipline: The atmospheric branch of the HYDRological cycle in ANTarctica
Principal Investigator: Nicole van Lipzig Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences K.U.Leuven - Geo-instituut Celestijnenlaan 200E, P.O.Box 02409 B-3001 Heverlee, Belgium tel: +32 16 32 64 53 or +32 16 32 78 00 (secretary) fax: +32 16 32 29 80
Main Activity/ Remarks: To understand the current and future evolution of the Antarctic and Greenland ice sheet, an in-depth knowledge of the surface mass balance (SMB) of these ice sheets (sum of precipitation, sublimation, run-off and snowdrift) is essential. Regional atmospheric models have proven to be suitable tools for studying the SMB. The first objective of this project is to contribute to a better insight into the current evolution of the SMB of the ice sheet. For this, the regional atmospheric climate model RACMO/ANT2 (Van den Berg et al. (2006) will be used. Primary instruments will be installed are an Automatic Weather Station, a ceilometer and an infrared thermometer.
Link (URL):
Additional Information:  
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Areas of Operation
Project Name/Number: SAMBA
Discipline: search for Antarctic meteorites
Principal Investigator: Prof. Philippe Claeys Vrije Universiteit Brussel Geology Department DGLG-WE-VUB Pleinlaan 2 - 1050 Brussels Belgium Telephone: + 32 2 629 33 94 Mobile: + 32 474 840 013 Fax: + 32 2 629 33 91 Email: URL:
Main Activity/ Remarks: The goal of this proposal is to recover meteorites from the ice fields near the newly established base. The Belgian base is in an absolutely ideal location for the search of meteorites, as several blue ice fields are present at close proximity. The recovered meteorites will be studied with the aim to document important planetary processes such as: - The origin and frequency of projectiles that have impacted the Earth throughout geological times based on platinum group element ratios in meteorites and comparison with terrestrial craters. - Evolution of the parent body by the reconstruction of the processes of magmatic differentiation and shock metamorphism using detailed petrology and in-situ laser ablation isotopic ratios of small mineral phases (such as Pb, Sr by Multi-Cup Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry at new inter-university facility of the U of Ghent, KULeuven and VUB). - Early Solar System chronology using the 53Mn-53Cr isotope system on selected groups of meteorites.
Link (URL):
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Areas of Operation

Station Report
Operational Information - National Expeditions - Stations
Name: Princess Elisabeth
Type: Summer
Site Name: Utsteinen   Lat: 71º 57´ 00´´ S   Long: 23º 20´ 00´´ E  
Maximum Population: 42
Medical Facilities: Mobile unit equipment from the Belgian Army. 800kg of medical equipment and supplies. Dedicated container converted into clinic. Medical personnel: 2 Number of patient beds: 1
Remarks / Description: Activities carried out at the Princess Elisabeth Antarctic Research Station during the 2009-2010 season to complete the technical facilities and dependencies: a) Installation of communication devices (VHF & HF) New HF antennae (vertical and dipole) were erected on the roof of the station as well as to the East, allowing for easy contact with Novo Airbase and other stations in Antarctica. A repeater station was erected on the top of the Utsteinen Nunatak I, to permit a greater range for VHF communications in the field around the station. The repeater is powered by solar panels connected to a battery unit housed in a special casing, along with the electronics for reception and transmission of signals. A VHF Airband antenna was also installed on the roof of the station to allow for a greater range in the communications with flights servicing the station. Contact with flights was possible while they were at least an hour away from the station, boosting security of operations. b) Wind Park Four new wind turbines were erected to replace three damaged by heavy wind activity during the previous winter. Five wind turbines were retrofitted with special reinforcing plates for the rotor assembly. This completes the total wind park foreseen for the electrical micro-grid, as per design. c) Complete mechanical integration of the solar systems The free standing photovoltaic panels installed last season were integrated into the electrical power grid, by cabling and connection to the SMA convertors (Windy Boys). The total installed power of the free standing solar photovoltaic panels is a nominal output of approx 50 KW. Additional solar thermal systems were installed to feed heat into the snow melter. Repairs were carried out to the solar thermal system (STS I) which had been damaged during the winter. d) Installation of the Snow Melter The snow melter installation was completed via connections to the water distribution system (WSD) and the secondary solar thermal system (STS2). The unit was then integrated into the SCADA for control by the PLC (programmable logic controller). The unit is capable of producing about 500 litres per day. e) Mechanical and electrical integration of the HVAC systems. The HVAC assembly was finalised including the special ventilation of the battery room which was shown to be prone to over-heating. New carbon-dioxide sensors were installed, and the system was connected to the SCADA. Ventilation in the station is primarily driven by the levels of CO2, as the need for heating is virtually absent. Heat gains from the operation of the active systems and human activity lead to a need to cool the building rather than heat it. f) Generator integration into the grid The automatic launch of the generators in case of failure of the energy supply-side systems is a pre-requisite of stable unmanned operation, and despite technical obstacles, this was also successfully completed. g) Construction of extensions for garages and hangars to house wood-working atelier and skidoos. The request from the JARE to house skidoos and other materials led to the need to construct additional housing for the vehicle park of the PEA. The woodwork atelier and the skidoo extension were constructed in wood panels and beams, and were integrated into the Garage North, and thereby into the electrical demand side of the station. h) Complete mechanical, electrical and smart integration, and activation of the water treatment units. The Water Treatment Unit (WTU) had the final elements installed (ceramic and polymer filters and ozone treatment unit) and was tested for water-tightness, and activated in January. Tests are still needed to see if any modifications to the assembly are required. Recycled water production was successful. i) Installation of meteorological and seismological research instrumentation. Several meteorological instruments were installed on the roof of the station (ceilometer, rain radar, infra-red pyrometer). The automatic weather station’s Argos antenna was repaired, and the AWS connected by Wi-Fi to the station to allow for weather data to be available to the station in near real time. An aethaelometer was installed in the southern science platform during the season. A seismometer was installed at 13 m inside the granite of the Utsteinen Ridge, next to the Northern science platform, and connected by fibre optic cable to the station servers. It is still operational at the present time. An absolute gravimeter is foreseen for the next season. Scientific data is now accessible via a satellite link from the station, even when it is in unmanned mode. j) Installation of a satellite antenna A four and a half metre satellite antenna was installed to the North side of the station. Anchoring and mechanical integration were carried out by the IPF, the antenna was brought into service by Vertex Antennentechniek, and the link (modem, servers, accelerators, monitors etc) was established by a technical team from SES Astra. This antenna permits the station to be monitored during the winter months when it is unmanned. All the electronics of the satellite link are fully redundant to guard against the failure of the link due to malfunction in any of the parts. The link is channelled through a ground station in the United Kingdom, from where an access to the internet is possible. Several levels of security have been installed to prevent any unauthorised access to the station. All the systems of the station are linked to a central server which is connected to the outside World via satellite. 24 hour monitoring of the station is foreseen during the winter (by a service company under contract to the IPF) and technicians can intervene if a problem is detected. All scientific equipment is linked to the servers in a separate network and can be accessed during the winter months, allowing scientific observations to continue even when the station is unmanned. A broadband uplink and downlink have been provided free of charge by the sponsors of the IPF, for a limited number of years. k) Installation of computer network and interface with SATCOM. A local area network equips the entire station, allowing for all occupants to have access to high speed internet connections. A telephone (VOIP) installation is foreseen for the next season. The LAN also connects the SCADA and the PLC to the satellite link via a fully redundant switch system, to ensure against any loss of connection due to component failure. An Inmarsat antenna and modem are available for telephone connection, and also during unmanned mode to allow the station to be accessed if, for whatever reason, the satellite link should go down. An Iridum installation inside the station is also furnished with an external antenna, and is connected to the Inmarsat modem via the central servers. The Iridium unit also allows phone communications from inside the station. l) Construction of mobile science lab facilities to extend future fieldwork possibilities. Several mobile units were constructed out of empty 20’ containers, to facilitate future traverse activity. A glaciological lab was built and equipped, as well as a sleeping module, a kitchen module, and a living module, to add to the two labs already on site for use of the researchers. The modules can be equipped with internet connection for e-mail and telephone. A future scientific (e.g. glaciological) traverse can therefore be carried out with all facilities. m) Construction of fuel platform. A fuel platform 60m in length was constructed, in steel, to hold the fuel drums. The drums if left on the surface of the snow, risk becoming completely covered after the winter. Digging out fuel drums from compacted snow exposes them to a greater risk of rupture and consequent contamination of the surrounding areas. The platform is placed along the ridge and is anchored into the granite. It is raised about a metre or two above the ridge to allow snow to circulate freely underneath. By the end of the season it appeared that the strategy was working, and the fuel drums remained easily accessible.
Operating Period: From: November To: February

Vessels Report
Aircrat Report
Research Rockets Report
Vessel-Based Report
Operational Information - Non Governmental Expeditions - Vessel-Based Operations
No new information have been provided during the reported period.

Land-Based Operations
Operational Information - Non Governmental Expeditions - Land-Based Operations
No new information have been provided during the reported period.

Denial of Authorizations
Aircrat Report
Compliance with the Protocol Report
Environmental Information - Compliance with the Protocol
No new measures have been adopted during the reported period.

Contingency Plans Report
Environmental Impact Assessment: Procedures Report
Environmental Information - Environmental Impact Assessment (Procedures)
No new procedures were established during this reporting period.

Environmental Impact Assessment Report
Environmental Impact Assessment - Follow-up Activities Report
Conservation of Fauna and Flora Report
Waste Management Plans Report
Waste Management Inventory of Past Activities Report
Prevention of Marine Pollution: Measures Report
Environmental Information - Prevention of Marine Pollution
No new measures have been adopted during the reported period.

Area Protection and Management: Measures Report
Environmental Information - Area Protection and Management (Measures)
No new measures have been adopted during the reported period.

Area Protection and Management: Permit, Visit and Activities Report
Environmental Information - Area Protection and Management (Permit, Visit and Activities)
No new information have been provided during the reported period.

Area Protection and Management: Change or Damage Report
Environmental Information - Area Protection and Management (Change or Damage)
No change or damage was observed during this reporting period.

Activities Undertaken in Cases of Emergencies Report
General Report