Antarctica News

Antarctic Icebergs Have Surprise Role in Slowing Warming

The biggest icebergs breaking off Antarctica unexpectedly help to slow global warming as they melt away into the chill Southern Ocean, scientists said on Monday.   The rare Manhattan-sized icebergs, which may become more frequent in coming decades because of climate change, release a vast trail of iron and other nutrients that act as fertilisers for algae and other tiny plant-like organisms in the ocean.   These extract carbon dioxide from the atmosphere as they grow, a natural ally for human efforts to limit the pace of climate change blamed on man-made greenhouse gas emissions.  

The robot submarine ready for launch from an icebreaker offshore Antarctica.

Thickness of Antarctic Sea Ice Surpass Expectations

  Antarctica's ice paradox has yet another puzzling layer. Not only is the amount of sea ice increasing each year, but an underwater robot now shows the ice is also much thicker than was previously thought, a new study reports. The discovery adds to the ongoing mystery of Antarctica's expanding sea ice. According to climate models, the region's sea ice should be shrinking each year because of global warming. Instead, satellite observations show the ice is expanding, and the continent's sea ice has set new records for the past three winters. At the same time, Antarctica's ice sheet (the

© sichkarenko_com / Adobe Stock

Polar Sea Ice the Size of India Vanishes in Record Heat

Sea ice off Antarctica and in the Arctic is at record lows for this time of year after declining by twice the size of Alaska in a sign of rising global temperatures, climate scientists say.   Against a trend of global warming and a steady retreat of ice at earth's northern tip, ice floating on the Southern Ocean off Antarctica has tended to expand in recent years.   But now it is shrinking at both ends of the planet, a development alarming scientists and to which a build-up of man-made greenhouse gases, an El Nino weather event that this year unlocked heat from the Pacific Ocean and

MERMAC R10 AHC -ROV (Photo: MacArtney Group)

ROV Winch Supplied for Antarctica Expedition

Antarctica expedition benefits from a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) winch supplied by MacArtney Underwater Technology. An icebreaking polar supply and research vessel is to map out underwater conditions in the icy waters in terms of subsurface and marine life.    The winch system, which was acquired through Swedish SubSea Solutions on the part of University of Gothenburg, will be put to good use on board South African icebreaking polar supply and research vessel S. A. Agulhas II designed to carry out scientific research and supply to South African research stations in Antarctica. Soon it

A massive rift in the Antarctic Peninsula's Larsen C ice shelf. (Image Credit: NASA/John Sonntag)

Vast Iceberg Poised to Crack off Antarctica

A vast iceberg, expected to be one of the biggest ever recorded with an area almost the size of the U.S. state of Delaware or the Caribbean island state of Trinidad and Tobago, is poised to break off Antarctica. A rift, slowly developing across the Larsen C ice shelf on the Antarctic Peninsula in recent years, expanded abruptly last month, growing by about 18 km (11 miles). It is now more than 80 km long with just 20 km left before it snaps, scientists said. "The Larsen C Ice shelf in Antarctica is primed to shed an area of more than 5,000 square km (1,930 square miles) following further

Adélie penguin populations have increased by 69% in East Antarctica over the past 30 years. (Photo Louise Emmerson)

Adélie Penguin Population Doubles

 Adélie penguin populations in East Antarctica have almost doubled over the past 30 years, according to research published in PLOS ONE today. Australian Antarctic Division seabird ecologists, Dr Colin Southwell and Dr Louise Emmerson, alongside colleagues from Australia, France and Japan, found that the five main regional populations of Adélie penguins in East Antarctica have increased by 69 per cent since 1980. The team used aerial photographs and ground-based observations to count Adélie penguins during recent summer breeding seasons at 99 sites located along 4500 km

Courtesy  Antarctic Ocean Alliance

AOA Calls for Southern Ocean Conservation Commitments

oceanographic and seafloor features coupled with its biological value to seabirds, seals, and other animals, make the East Antarctic coastal region a prime area for protection.   “CCAMLR members have a clear task to complete: to work together to create the marine protected areas that Antarctica’s waters and wildlife need,” said Mark Epstein, executive director of the Antarctic and Southern Ocean Coalition.  “CCAMLR promised that this protection would come by 2012, yet the process has been stalled for the last four meetings. Global leaders—many of whom are

Image credit: British Antarctic Survey

Scientists Say Antarctic Glaciers in 'Irreversible' Thaw

Vast glaciers in West Antarctica seem to be locked in an irreversible thaw linked to global warming that may push up sea levels for centuries, scientists said on Monday. Six glaciers, eaten away from below by a warming of sea waters around the frozen continent, were flowing fast into the Amundsen Sea, according to the report based partly on satellite radar measurements from 1992 to 2011. Evidence shows "a large sector of the West Antarctic ice sheet has gone into a state of irreversible retreat", said lead author Eric Rignot of the University of California, Irvine, and NASA's Jet

Triton Subs in Fort Lauderdale

Triton Submarines (Triton) continued to promote its new four, six and eight passenger deep-diving submersibles at the 2013 Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show (FLIBS). Triton’s booth at FLIBS featured a Triton 1000/2 (the same 1000/2 that made the first-ever manned submersible dives in Antarctica last year) as well as a scale model of a Triton 3300/3. Triton will also be promoting its new iPad application. www.tritonsubs.com   (As published in the November/December 2013 edition of Marine Technology Reporter - www.seadiscovery.com)

Image courtesy of NIC

World’s Largest Iceberg Continues to Break Apart

into four pieces. B15T remains, while the resultant icebergs are named B15Z, B15AA and B15AB. B15T is the largest surviving remnant of the largest ever recorded iceberg B15, which calved from the Ross Ice Shelf in March of 2000 and was roughly the size of Jamaica when it originally separated from Antarctica. As B15 broke apart, all pieces over 10 nautical miles long received their own designation and were tracked. Over the past 14 years, pieces of B15 began to exit the Ross Sea and travel westward around Antarctica, traveling hundreds of miles and going as far as the Antarctic Peninsula in the

Image: Linden Photonics

Antarctic ROV to Help Researchers Prepare for Space Missions

Searching for life with ROV Icefin, Georgia Tech and Linden’s STFOC   The search for life on other planets starts on Earth, of course.  In the summer of 2014 a team of scientists from the Georgia Institute of Technology headed to Antarctica to deploy Icefin - a 10-foot long, 12-inch diameter, 220 pound, first of its kind ROV - deep beneath the ice shelf.  This mission, funded by NASA and supported by the National Science Foundation, was intended to prepare for potential future missions on Jupiter’s moon, Europa.   Europa has an outer ice shell, a rocky interior

Commission on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) today agreed to set aside more than 1 million square kilometres of the Ross Sea Image ASOC

Antarctica’s Ross Sea Gets Protection

aside more than 1 million square kilometres of the Ross Sea in recognition of its incredible scientific and biodiversity values.   CCAMLR committed to creating a system of marine protected areas in the Southern Ocean in 2009 and has been discussing the creation of MPAs in the Ross Sea and East Antarctica for several years. Claire Christian, director of the Antarctic and Southern Ocean Coalition, said  “ASOC is thrilled to see that CCAMLR has protected 1.55 million square km of the Ross Sea, 1.12 million square kilometers of which will be fully protected with the remaining area designated

Joint hydrographic and seabed characterization survey in coastal waters off Davis station, Antarctica. (Photo: Royal Australian Navy)

Australian Scientists Study the Antarctic

further examine the data to determine the relationships between the shape and composition of the seafloor and what lives there. This information can then be used to better manage this unique environment. Marine geoscientist Dr. Alix Post participated in a voyage to the Sabrina Coast region of East Antarctica on board the RV Investigator. The voyage, led by Macquarie University, completed the most extensive hydrographic survey in East Antarctica to date and collected long sediment cores that contain a rich archive of climate information. In addition, the survey completed detailed assessments of benthic

Thermal wavelength image of a large iceberg, which has calved off the Larsen C ice shelf. Darker colors are colder, and brighter colors are warmer, so the rift between the iceberg and the ice shelf appears as a thin line of slightly warmer area. Image from July 12, 2017, from the MODIS instrument on NASA's Aqua satellite. (Image: NASA Worldview)

Giant Iceberg Breaks off Antarctica

One of the biggest icebergs on record has broken away from Antarctica, scientists said on Wednesday, creating an extra hazard for ships around the continent as it breaks up.   The one trillion tonne iceberg, measuring 5,800 square km, calved away from the Larsen C Ice Shelf in Antarctica sometime between July 10 and 12, said scientists at the University of Swansea and the British Antarctic Survey.   The iceberg, which is roughly the size of the U.S. state of Delaware or the Indonesian island of Bali, has been close to breaking off for a few months.   Throughout the Antarctic winter

Arctic scene: File photo

Record Decline of Greenland & Antarctic Ice Sheets

Researchers from the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI), have for the first time extensively mapped Greenland’s and Antarctica’s ice sheets with the help of the ESA satellite CryoSat-2 and have thus been able to prove that the ice crusts of both regions momentarily decline at an unprecedented rate. In total the ice sheets are losing around 500 cubic kilometres of ice per year. This ice mass corresponds to a layer that is about 600 metres thick and would stretch out over the entire metropolitan area of Hamburg, Germany's second largest city.

ATCM Paves Way for Marine Protection in Southern Ocean

, during which two MPA proposals in the Southern Ocean will be considered. The partners of the Antarctic Ocean Alliance, including The Pew Charitable Trusts, ASOC, WWF, and Greenpeace, are calling on CCAMLR to create the world's two largest marine protected areas (MPAs) in the Ross Sea and East Antarctica, at the October meeting. CCAMLR is an international organization established under the Antarctic Treaty, which is made up of 24 member countries and the European Union. CCAMLR is responsible for protecting the marine life of Antarctica's Southern Ocean, and[i] operates by consensus, meaning all

Antarctic Survey Vessel Wyatt Earp Surveying Newcomb Bay. Photo: ABHSO Dyer, Royal Australian Navy

Australian Navy Surveys Antarctica

Survey Team returned from a six-week Antarctic expedition to collect essential data for navigational charts and scientific research. The team sailed from Hobart in RSV Aurora Australis on December 11, 2013 to conduct a hydrographic survey in the vicinity of Casey Station, a permanent base in Antarctica managed by the Australian Antarctic Division (AAD). The Officer in Charge of the survey team, Lieutenant Peter Waring, said the cold climate task was challenging and fascinating: “We conducted the survey from onboard the Australian Hydrographic Service’s nine meter Antarctic Survey

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