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Watch: Australian Defence Force drop tents and cargo in Antarctica

The air drop and retrieval was a well-planned exercise to support some very important climate science (Image courtesy: Twitter/@AusAntarctic)

A deep-field camp for a three-year scientific mission in East Antarctica has landed on the ice after an air drop from Australia to the frozen continent.

The Australian Defence Force (ADF) assisting the Australian Antarctic Division (AAD), delivered the packed tents and cargo to the Bunger Hills in remote Antarctica, following a 7,400 km flight from Hobart on Thursday.

Ten tonnes of supplies were retrieved by a team of seven expeditioners on the ground.

Five of them will spend the next three months, including Christmas, preparing the camp ahead of scientific work commencing late next year on the Denman Glacier.

The Denman Glacier is one of the fastest retreating glaciers in East Antarctica and alone holds a potential sea level rise of 1.5 m.

Key research questions will address the risk of ice mass loss on time-scales from the next few decades to centuries.

Before the science can begin teams must construct the camp, including temporary timber platforms for tents, alongside existing field huts.

AAD General Manager Operations and Safety Charlton Clark said the air drop was a key milestone for the project.

“The air drop and retrieval was a well-planned exercise to support some very important climate science,” Clark said.

“The Bunger Hills is a remote region in Antarctica where we will set up camp for Australian scientists to research climate impacts on the Denman Glacier,” he added.

The camp is anticipated to accommodate up to 27 scientists over six weeks from the AAD, the Australian Centre for Excellence in Antarctic Science (ACEAS), Securing Antarctica’s Environmental Future (SAEF) and the Australian Antarctic Program Partnership (AAPP).

Another 13 expeditioners will also live there to provide support.

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