A number of similarity criteria, in particular time scaling, for the physical modelling of snowdrift in wind tunnel were examined. Modelling of snowdrift was conducted in a purpose-built turbulent boundary layer wind tunnel. Iversen's (1980) proposed dimensionless time, which includes scaling of particle and fluid densities, Froude Number, particle threshold speed, mean wind speed, time and length, was found to produce a reasonable correlation of snowdrift accumulation rate between model and prototype. The results were used to formulate design guidelines for buildings in Antarctica.


Antarctica is the coldest, highest, driest and windiest continent on Earth. It covers one-tenth of the Earth's land surface, roughly the size of Europe and Australia combined. Its land area of 14 million square kilometers is largely covered by an ice sheet with an average depth of two kilometres. It contains nearly three-quarters of the world's store of fresh water and vitally affects Australia's climate and ocean currents.

1.1 Buildings in Antarctica - their adequacy

Despite its harsh environment, a major reason for many nations being in Antarctica is to ensure the continuity of their claim and/or to get their share of whatever resources or territory might eventuate in the future (Sydney Morning Herald, 1982). The most acceptable means for achieving this is to become a full voting member of the Antarctic Treaty, that is, an Antarctic Consultative Party. This requires that a nation "demonstrates its interest in Antarctica by conducting substantial scientific research activity there, such as the establishment of a scientific station or the despatch of a scientific expedition" (Antarctic Treaty Article VIII, Clause 2). The choice has been predominantly the establishment of stations, as they appear to be the most substantial expression of each nation's expenditure and reinforce any potential territorial or resource claim in the future.

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