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Leonard, K. (2013, updated 2019) Underway snowfall measurements collected during the SIPEX II voyage of the Aurora Australis, 2012 Australian Antarctic Data Centre - doi:10.26179/5d282780c5d15
Underway snowfall measurements collected during the SIPEX II voyage of the Aurora Australis, 2012
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Australian Antarctic Data Centre, Australia
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Matlab file containing raw data snowfall data collected aboard the RV Aurora Australis using Campbell Scientific dataloggers. Two Wenglor brand YHO3NCT8 photoelectric sensors were mounted on the forward railing of the ship's "monkey deck". The beam heights of the sensors were 18cm above the upper railing, oriented parallel to the railing (perpendicular to the long-axis of the ship), approximately 6m apart. The port sensor was purchased in 2012, from a batch of these sensors manufactured in a new Eastern European factory while the starboard sensor came from a lot purchased in 2007, manufactured in Wenglor's German factory and extensively tested for use in snow. Pulse counts measured by the port sensor were consistently lower in magnitude than those recorded during the same interval by the starboard sensor. It is not currently clear whether this was due to the ship's tendency to be oriented with the wind to starboard, or whether this is due to differences in instrument characteristics. Data recorded between 17/9/2012 and 26/10/2012 was logged by a CR10x datalogger. Data recorded after 26/10/2012 was logged by a CR1000 datalogger. Information on converting the pulse-count data into a mass flux of snow is contained in Leonard, K.C. and R.I. Cullather (2008) Snowfall measurements in the Amundsen and Bellingshausen Seas, Antarctica. Proceedings of the Eastern Snow Conference, 65, 87- 98.

These two datasets are identical, but have been separated into two matlab structures contained in the same "shipsnow.mat" file: "snow" and "snow2". Data contained in these structures includes the following variables, with units:
Datenm: matlab 'datenumber'. Change to conventional format using the "datevec()" command
Port: beam interruptions per 10s interval, port-side sensor
Stbd: beam interruptions per 10s interval, starboard-side sensor
Ptemp: temperature of a thermistor mounted beneath the datalogger's wiring panel. The datalogger was contained in a fiberglass box, strapped into the starboard side observation shelter on the monkey deck.
Volt: voltage received and transmitted by the datalogger. Power came from a 12v 1Ah converter plugged into the ship's power supply.

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When the instruments and CR10x datalogger were first plugged in to ship power on the 17th October, it appears that the CR10x datalogger's internal battery failed. On every subsequent power cut the timestamp reset to time 0,0,0,00:00. The files have been corrected for this, with the possible loss of up to several minutes data during power cuts of unknown duration, since the files were time-stamped assuming that the power cuts were each 10s or less in length.

A file download on the 25th of October indicated that more serious problems had resulted in the loss of 2-3 days of data immediately following the previous data download on the 11th of October. The re-awakening of the logger appears to have coincided with ship power testing on the 14th (during ice station 6).

On the 26th of October, the CR10x datalogger was replaced with a CR1000 datalogger, and data collection was restarted. Both the port and starboard sensors were powered, but it appears the starboard sensor was not being correctly logged, and data from the starboard side sensor was recorded as a string of zeros in the "snow2" matlab structure.


These data are not yet publicly available.

Temporal Coverages

Spatial Coverages

Science Keywords

Additional Keywords

  • Snowfall




  • R/V Aurora Australis


  • Computer



Use Constraints

This data set conforms to the CCBY Attribution License

Please follow instructions listed in the citation reference provided at when using these data.


    ISO Topic

    • OCEANS

    Dataset Language

    • English

    Orignating Centre

    • Australian Antarctic Division

    Dataset Progress


    IDN Node

    • AMD
    • ACE/CRC
    • CEOS
    • AMD/AU

    Metadata Revision History

      2013-05-24 - record created by Dave Connell from a template completed by Katherine Leonard. 2014-03-17 - record updated by Dave Connell to remove Robyn Schofield's name. 2019-07-12 - record updated by Dave Connell - basic updates.

    Creative Commons License