The polar explorers told why air traps were installed near “Vernadskyi”.

The polar explorers told why air traps were installed near “Vernadskyi”.


Ukrainian scientists have installed passive sensors, which are also called air “traps”, near the Akademik Vernadskyi polar station.

According to the National Antarctic Science Center, these sensors are made of special materials that accumulate volatile pollutant particles. They work like filters and do not require a power source.

The devices were installed on the archipelago of the Argentine Islands. In this way, scientists at “Vernadskyi” will examine the air for the presence of silicones.

The polar explorers will have to check the “traps” from time to time – whether they have been blown away by the wind and whether the birds are using them for nesting.

Photo: National Antarctic Science Center

Sensors should “catch” cyclic volatile methyl siloxanes if they are present in the air. This is a group of silicone fluids often used in cosmetics and industrial products (chemical solvents, cleaning fluids, etc.)“, explained the polar explorers.

“Traps” were set by meteorologist Oleksandr Nadtochiy. In the course of work, he had a certain time not to use silicone-containing hygiene products: shampoos, moisturizers and sunscreens.

The filter had to be carefully hooked to the flask without touching it with hands. It was quite difficult in the Antarctic conditions with constant wind.

“Trap” at the station “Akademik Vernadskyi”

Passive sensors were installed in five locations:

  • on the two islands north of “Vernadsky” is the direction from which the wind mainly blows;
  • on two islands south of the station, where the wind blows, and possibly “Vernadsky” has a polluting effect on these islands;
  • directly on the roof of the scientific center.
Location of “traps” in Antarctica

“Traps” were set for at least three months. After the air sampling is completed, they will be sent to Norway for analysis.

“The obtained results will show whether the methyl siloxanes are transported over long distances. If the compounds are found in passive sensors on the first two islands north of the station, this could be evidence that they got there from the “big land”“, scientists on the Antarctic continent explained.

Within the scope of the project, samples of sediments, algae, krill, soils and mosses from the Antarctic will also be studied.

Read also: Polar scientists showed hundreds of penguins that returned to the Akademik Vernadskyi station. VIDEO



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