We are taking off in a few days to Argentina on campaign. Over the next 3 months we will be located in the picturesque Rio Grande in the Patagonia region of South America. Join us and follow what’s going on during a campaign abroad.

The purpose of this blog is to provide insight into the life of a scientist during some of the most exciting times in his/her career, Campaign. A young scientist definition for campaign is: new science, endless planning, travel to new and exciting places, extremely hard work, adaptation, really long hours, FUN, night shift, stress, unforgettable memories, and a indescribable time that you will never forget.

In short this blog will be mostly on the fun stuff; however, I did think it worthy of including the scientific aims within the first blog post.

The campaign will consist of 2 phases with two separate objectives. The objective of the first campaign will be to measure gravity waves (for a basic description of gravity waves and the campaign see https://youtu.be/aag86esFGuY) entering the polar vortex (really fast wind spinning around the pole in the stratosphere). These gravity waves slow down the vortex and allow the ozone ‘poor’ air (within the Ozone hole) to escape. The polar vortex breakdown is one of the leading uncertainties in climate models, and we aim to understand this better. How exciting can it get?!

But wait, it gets better; the objective of the second phase is to study the chemical interactions of the air inside the ozone hole (polar vortex) drifting to the outside. The air from inside the vortex is normally isolated within the vortex (by the strong winds) for months from the outside air. This makes for an interesting area with regards to chemical reactions. Also in the second phase, emphasis will be put on interactions between the troposphere and the stratosphere. This is another mechanism not well understood in global circulation models. So stay tuned as we unravel a mystery…

In case you are wondering what it’s like to be a part of a campaign costing about EUR 3 million, with +-120 scientists and technicians from over 9 different organizations and to investigate this indescribable happening then make sure to follow us over the next 3 months.

In the following link I provide a very brief outline of myself, the campaign and gravity waves:


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About Markus Geldenhuys

Markus Geldenhuys was a PhD student at the Institute for Energy and Climate (IEK-7, Stratosphere) and a HITEC fellow. During his PhD, he was working on gravity waves observed by the infrared spectrometer GLORIA. He was responsible for forecasting, flight planning and data processing during the SOUTHTRAC Campaign.

2 Responses to “Welcome to the SOUTHTRAC campaign!”

  1. Andreas Marsing

    Hi Markus,
    thank you for sharing your insights and experiences from the campaign! I’m looking forward to meeting you in Río Grande.

    • Markus Geldenhuys

      Thanks Andreas. I look forward to meeting you here! Best of luck with the long travel, but enjoy all the beautiful views on the way!


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