High frequency measurements from Explorers Cove Meteorological Station (EXEM), McMurdo Dry Valleys, Antarctica (1995-2022, ongoing)


As part of the McMurdo Dry Valleys Long Term Ecological Research program, meteorological data are collected from various locations throughout the McMurdo Dry Valleys of Antarctica. This package contains 15-minute data from the Explorers Cove Meteorological Station (EXEM), located in Taylor Valley (Latitude: -77.588733, Longitude: 163.417523, Elevation: 25 meters above sea level). EXEM was acquired from USGS in 1997, during the 97/98 field season.

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Meteorological data is collected year-round at each of MCM LTER stations. Data is manually downloaded from the meteorological stations during the austral summer. Raw 15 minute data (Level 0) is processed and provided as Level 1 data on the MCM LTER website. Field notes, sensor information, processing procedures, QA/QC, and metadata is provided in the Meteorological Post Processing Documentation and Task Lists for each field season at the following address:

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At the start of the first McMurdo LTER field season (1993-1994), Explorers Cove station was one of only two meteorological stations operating on the floor of the McMurdo Dry Valleys. The U.S. Geological Survey continued to manage the station. From November 24, 1995 to February 26, 1996, precipitation levels were sampled every hour for the long-term ecological research program.On February 26, 1996, the signal from the precipitation gage went dead and remained so until new equipment was installed in November, 1997. As a result there is a gap in the data collected at Explorers Cove meteorological station.In November, 1997, a new station with all new sensors mounted on Clow's old tripod was set up. At that time, the station was set up to sample sensors every 30 seconds and send summary statistics (for example, averages and maximums) to solid-state storage modules every 15 minutes. This has resulted in approximately 20 values being recorded for final storage in the more recent output intervals.In 2014, the data loggers lost most of the season data, and the streamed record is spotty.Sampling and Averaging Intervals For Sampling frequency and Data Logger output and averaging intervals please visit:


On September 6, 1999, the data manager added the 1998-1999 data to this dataset. In the process, she did some fine-tuning of the data, which included the removal and flagging of precipitation values between Nov 21, 1997 @ 11:00 and Jan 13, 1998 @ 9:30. This was done at the request of Thomas Nylen. In May 2000, the 1999-2000 data was posted. In the process, Denise Steigerwald changed the layout of the files so that they were sorted by category (air temperatures, humidity, radiation, wind etc.) rather than by year. Files containing monthly and daily averages were generated and minor adjustments were made to the metadata.

On May 24, 2000, relative humidity (RH) values were corrected for a systematic error in the measurement created by an instrument manufacturer error. All RH data with air temperatures below freezing were corrected using the vapor pressure over ice (rather than over water which was used initially). The error became quite large for very cold temperatures (the correction could grow to around 30%). The formula used for the correctio n was: 


where RH_corr = corrected relative humidity 
RH_orig = original relative humidity
temp = air temperature
A = 4.165E-5 B = 9.7E-3 C = 1.0

For example, with an air temperature of -2.3 and RH_orig of 50.6, the RH_corr will be 51.7. Records that showed corrected RH values greater than or equal to 100 were changed to 99.99 and flagged. In June 2000, summary files were added to the web containing daily and monthly statistics.

These were generated by creating "views" of daily and monthly means, minimums, maximums and counts of the records represented in the Oracle database's meteorology tables.

In 2006, metadata Chris Gardner and Inigo San Gil standardized the metadata to the EML.

In 2014, metadata was refined further using the Drupal Ecological Information Management System (Inigo San Gil)

In 2016, data from 2013 through 2016 onwards was recovered and posted - Maciek, San Gil.

A Decagon soil moisture and temperature sensor was installed at this station from December 2018 to December 2021, with data spanning 12/20/2018 to 12/23/2021. The sensor was damaged during routine maintenance on 12/23/2021, after which the station temporarily stopped recording data. Consequently, there is a gap in the data from 12/23/2021 10:00 to 12/28/2021 10:45. The sensor was later removed during the 2022-2023 field season.


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