CONCORDIA ANTARCTIC STATION
Concordia is a joint French-Italian research facility opened in 2005 on the Antarctic Plateau, Antarctica (75°6 0 S, 123°20 0 E), managed together by PNRA (Italian National Antarctic Programme) and IPEV (Institut Polaire Français Paul Émile Victor).
It is built at 3,233 m above sea level on the third highest summit of Antarctica: Dome C.
Concordia is the fourth permanent, all-year research station on the Antarctic Plateau besides Belgrano II (Argentina), Vostok (Russia) and Amundsen-Scott (USA).
Concordia has a total station area of approximately 5000 m2 and a maximum accommodation capacity of 60 persons per day.
The station is mainly used for research into the following disciplines:
- Environmental monitoring
- Geomagnetic observations
- Glaciology - continental
- Human biology
- Meteorological observations
Dome C is one of the coldest places on Earth. Temperatures hardly rise above -25°C in summer and can fall below -80°C in winter.
The annual average air temperature is -54.5°C. Humidity is low and it is also very dry, with very little precipitation throughout the year.
The station has gained international excellence in the field of ice-coring thanks to the multinational European project EPICA.
This site was chosen to obtain the longest undisturbed chronicle of environmental change, in order to characterise climate variability over several glacial cycles, and to study climatic phenomena and their feedback in events of other regions. Drilling was completed on December 2004, reaching a drilling depth of 3270.2 m, 5 m above bedrock. The retrieved core will extend the record to an age estimated to be around 890 000 years old.
Concordia Station has been also identified as a suitable location for extremely accurate astronomical observations.
The transparency of the Antarctic atmosphere permits the observation of stars even when the sun is at an elevation angle of 38°.
Other advantages include the very low infrared sky emission, the high percentage of cloud-free time and the low aerosol and dust content of the atmosphere.