A Lesson in Baseline

October 30th, 2018

Baseline air hasn’t had contact with land for days-to-weeks.

It’s hard not to get blown away (quite literally) by the sweeping landscapes of Tasmania’s coastlines and Cape Grim is no exception. Bearing the scars of a violent past does not detract from the beauty of the area, and the ACC’s most recent visit is testament to this. We were greeted with brilliant winter sunshine and the accompanying breezes any regular to the post will attest to.

The Cape Grim Baseline Air Pollution Station (CG-BAPS) is one of world’s 3 premier Baseline Air Pollution Stations and in partnership with the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM), CSIRO has been gathering atmospheric observations for over 40 years. Its clean air measurements remain critical, contributing to greenhouse gases, ozone depleting gases and aerosols studied to monitor our changing climate.

An aerial view of the Cape Grim Baseline Air Pollution Station

In August 2018, a contingent of staff from O&A’s Aspendale and Hobart sites converged at the station to complete a team refresh and training period. Bringing a combined team would allow for knowledge transfer to localised staff members as well as those overseeing instrumentation and measurements on Australia’s RV Investigator, which has recently been recognised as the world’s first mobile GAW station – a floating Cape Grim if you will.

Visiting Cape Grim as a group ensures a multitude of staff are trained adequately to be part of the rotating roster required to oversee regular maintenance, calibration and servicing of the scientific equipment housed within the Station’s laboratories. It also allowed time to review procedures and documents associated with these processes and for staff to have a hands on view of the routine tasks completed by the BOM staff who permanently oversee the running of the station.

The visit was seen as positive by those team members taking part. The ability to gain further understanding of the physical processes behind each measurements were new to a number of attendees and as was readily expressed at the time, hugely beneficial.

And despite us all being aware that measurements are only taken when the wind direction falls within the baseline sector, we still get excited when the baseline indicator light throws out its glow!

The visiting teams from Aspendale and Hobart on the Cape Grim roof.


Conducting flow calibrations on the HiVol aerosol samplers.


Taking apart the Condensation Particle Counter, measuring the number concentration of atmospheric particles.