Operational teams, including Ramboll’s Ben Rowe, spent 13 weeks moving each of the station’s eight modules 23km upstream of a previously dormant ice chasm. The station is now ready for re-occupation at the end of the Antarctic winter (November 2017). This is the first time that the station, which has a re-locatable design to cope with life on a floating ice shelf, has been moved since it was towed from its construction site to its present location in 2012.
The station sits on Antarctica’s 150m thick Brunt Ice Shelf. This floating ice shelf flows at a rate of 0.4 km per year west towards the sea where, at irregular intervals, it calves off as icebergs. Halley VI research station is crucial to studies into globally important issues such as the impact of extreme space weather events (for example solar storm-induced electricity blackouts could cost more than $40 billion), climate change, and atmospheric phenomena. It was scientific investigations from this location that led to the discovery of the Antarctic Ozone Hole in 1985.
Director of BAS Professor Dame Jane Francis reflected:
“The relocation is a terrific achievement for our operational teams. Everyone who has worked so hard is absolutely buoyant about the success of the move. They talk about the great collegiality, what a great team they made, and how much they will miss working together. They are very proud of what they achieved – and I am proud of them all.”
The Halley VI relocation team has carried out for the first time what the station was designed to do – move. Meticulous planning and a professional operation leaves the station in excellent condition for science and support teams to resume their work in the next Antarctic summer.
Ramboll engineer Ben Rowe provided structural support to the Halley relocation project team, and earned the nickname ‘Calc’ for his mental arithmetic during on site discussions. After arriving home his departing thoughts are of the team and the extraordinary environment: “If you select people with the required mind set and send them on a journey to the Antarctic to achieve one outcome, you witness how quickly a tight knit team can form. I leave Antarctica with a feeling of great privilege to have been part of that, whilst experiencing this dynamic project in this absolutely amazing continent.”
Adam Bradley is the project manager for the relocation of Halley VI. He says,
“Delivering a complex project like this in remote Antarctica requires exceptional people. The team down here this season surpassed our expectations – they worked incredibly hard, often in very difficult conditions, to get the job done safely and on schedule. The camaraderie of the group has been amazing, which made the season fun as well as successful.”
Scientific research at Halley
Scientific research programmes at Halley date back to 1956. They are recognised globally as critical for understanding how and when the ozone hole will recover, how our climate will respond to future change, and how extreme space weather events may affect the satellite industry. Halley’s location on the Brunt ice shelf makes it ideal for measuring phenomena in the atmospheric phenomena and space weather, including solar storms that can affect communications networks on Earth. Visit the BAS website for more information on the Halley relocation and the modules.
Appointed by NERC as Technical Advisors to BAS (British Antarctic Survey), Ramboll is providing specialist engineering and consultancy services for seven years. Delivering a host of projects within the Antarctic Infrastructure Modernisation Programme (AIMP), BAS and its Technical Advisors (including NORR Architects and Turner & Townsend) are preparing for one of the world’s most advanced Polar research ships - the RRS Sir David Attenborough, which will be ready for operation from 2019.