British Antarctic Survey News

The frame and instruments as they were when they washed up. Photo: NOC

Lost @ Sea: Missing Equipment Washes Up Five Years Later

Circumpolar Current, which is the largest ocean current in the world. The instrument was due to spend two years collecting data at a depth of 1100 metres, before being recovered on Christmas Day in 2013 by a research expedition on the Royal Research Ship (RRS) James Clark Ross, operated by British Antarctic Survey. However it did not return to the surface as planned for reasons that are not clear, possibly due to something getting tangled up with the release mechanism.After being presumed lost, the deep ocean instrument frame was discovered washed up on a beach on the western tip of Tasmania. After

© peteri/Adobe Stock

Scientist Pool Data to Create the $3B Ocean Map

depth and topography of the ocean floor. That creates data points, which can be converted into a map."With advanced sonar technology it really is like seeing. I think we've come out of the era of being the blind man with the stick," said Robert Larter, a marine geophysicist at the British Antarctic Survey."We can survey much more efficiently - and, not only that, but in much greater detail," he said, adding that the work was painstaking."The ocean's a big place!" he said.The advent of new technology such as underwater drones and robots is also speeding up the mapping

Number 1 on MTR's list of "Top10 Ocean Influencers" is Yohei Sasakawa, chairman, Nippon Foundation. (Copyright: Nippon Foundation.)

MTR’s “Top 10” Ocean Influencers

to unmanned, autonomous vehicles to provide a consistency of presence and economy of scale that is unmatched by manned operations, MTR thought it appropriate to go ‘old school’ on number eight with a nod to Cammell Laird shipyard, the U.K. Natural Environment Research Council and British Antarctic Survey courtesy of its state-of-the-art polar research ship, the 129-m, 10,000-ton RRS Sir David Attenborough. The vessel is still under construction, but recently passed a major milestone when hull number 1390 was launched, scheduled to come into operation in 2019.RRS Sir David Attenborough drew

The 10,000-metric-ton hull of the RRS Sir David Attenborough glides into the water (Photo: BAS)

RRS Sir David Attenborough Launched

maritime vessels.Shipyard workers, engineers, scientists and maritime industry experts were among thousands who gathered to celebrate the launch along with special guest speakers, including renowned naturalist and broadcaster Sir David Attenborough, who pressed the launch button together with British Antarctic Survey Director Professor Dame Jane Francis.Once in the River Mersey, the hull was towed to the shipyard’s wet basin where the ship will undergo the next stages of construction before entering operation in 2019.The 129-meter Rolls-Royce designed vessel was commissioned by the Natural Environment

Photo: Houlder

Houlder Joins Sir David Attenborough Celebrations

Naval architect and marine engineering firm Houlder has played a key role in the development of the U.K.’s new polar research vessel, RRS Sir David Attenborough, since it was first conceived by the British Antarctic Survey.CEO Rupert Hare will join members of the project team as hull number 1390, comprising 10,000t of steel, is launched at Cammell Laird Shipyard on July 14.As experts in ship construction, and ice class design in particular, Houlder worked with the British Antarctic Survey and the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) initially through the vessel’s concept design and

Photo: NOC

NOCS: Expedition to Investigate Carbon in the Benguela Upwelling

of ecology, such as temperature, which cannot explain the observed efficiency of carbon transport alone. A simple mathematical model of the twilight zone will first be created and then applied in global climate models.The COMICS project is led by the NOC and is a collaboration between the British Antarctic Survey and the Universities of Queen Mary London, Liverpool, Oxford, Heriot-Watt and Southampton. The project has received funding from the Natural Environmental Research Council (NERC). 

Autonomous underwater vehicle Boaty McBoatface (Photo: NOC)

Boaty McBoatface Completes First Antarctic Mission

Filchner Ice Shelf in West Antarctica.From January to February 2018, the AUV was deployed in the southern Weddell Sea during RV Polarstern cruise PS111 as part of the Filchner Ice Shelf System (FISS) Project – a collaboration involving leading U.K. research institutions including the NOC, British Antarctic Survey (BAS), Met Office Hadley Center, University College London, University of Exeter and Oxford University, and international partners including Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI), and University of Bergen (UiB). The AUV plays a critical role in the project that aims to investigate and describe

Dr. Miguel Morales Maqueda (center) with Alicia Mountford and Liam Rogerson, the group from Newcastle University carrying out research in Antarctica as part of the ORCHESTRA project. (Photo: Newcastle University)

Researchers Set out to Study the Southern Ocean

a Wave Glider.   Fitted with a GBS antennae – a highly accurate GPS system – the glider will survey the ocean surface, measuring properties such as near-surface meteorology (wind, air pressure and air temperature), waves, ocean temperature and currents.   Led by the British Antarctic Survey (BAS), the aim is to gain a better understanding of the mechanisms that lead to the transfer of heat and greenhouse gases from the atmosphere into the ocean and how they are subsequently distributed globally.   The Southern Ocean takes a staggering 75 percent of the heat and 50 percent

(Credit: Rolls-Royce)

Research Vessels: The Fleet is In

, a name better fit for a $256 million high-tech research ship (though the Boaty McBoatface name will live on via an AUV onboard).   RRS Sir David Attenborough will be one of the world’s most technologically advanced research vessels when it sets sail in 2019, operated by British Antarctic Survey. Currently under construction at England’s Cammell Laird shipyard, the Rolls-Royce designed vessel will replace RRS Ernest Shackleton and RRS James Clark Ross to aid extended scientific research missions in both Antarctica and the Arctic.   The Polar Code 4 ice class vessel

Photo courtesy of Rolls-Royce

Another Milestone for RRS Sir David Attenborough Build

resilient foundation. This huge specialized rigid welded skid, which sits on rubber noise dampers, is an integral part of the vessel’s low underwater radiated noise design. The foundation is followed by the engine itself and then the alternators.   Professor Dame Jane Francis, British Antarctic Survey (BAS), Director, said, “All of our scientists, engineers and support teams are watching the build progress of our new ship with excitement. This latest milestone takes us a step closer towards using this state-of-the-art research facility. Our engineers and scientists need the ship&rsquo

Sonardyne’s Ranger 2 will support the RRS Sir David Attenborough’s work by enabling science teams to precisely monitor the position of underwater systems including Boaty McBoatface. (Image: Sonardyne)

Sonardyne Ranger 2 for RRS Sir David Attenborough

with, scientific instruments and robotic vehicles deployed from the vessel, including the now famous Boaty McBoatface AUV. Ranger 2 will also be interfaced with the vessel’s dynamic positioning (DP) system for precise station keeping during science operations.   Commissioned by British Antarctic Survey, an institute of the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), and being built by Cammell Laird in Birkenhead to a Rolls Royce design, the RRS David Attenborough will be one of the most advanced vessels of its type when it enters service in 2019. Measuring 128 meters long and 24 meters

(Photo: Cammell Laird)

Construction Milestone for RRS Sir David Attenborough

in Birkenhead.    The new ship is a major U.K. Government investment in frontier science. Commissioned by NERC, and built by the world famous marine engineering company Cammell Laird Shiprepairers & Shipbuilders Ltd. The vessel is a Rolls-Royce design, and will be operated by British Antarctic Survey when the ship enters service in 2019.   The transportation of the 899-metric-ton steel block (known as Block 10) – which is the equivalent weight of 71 London double decker buses, and more than 23 meters long and 24 meters wide – is a major engineering challenge and a

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

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, scientists monitored the progress of the rift in the ice shelf using the European Space

(Photo: Cammell Laird)

RRS Sir David Attenborough: Construction Progressing

giant beat off competition from around the world to be appointed to build the £15 0million vessel. The ship, which is the biggest commercial shipbuilding project in Britain for 30 years, has been commissioned by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), and it will be operated by British Antarctic Survey (BAS), transforming the U.K.’s polar research capability.    Cammell Laird CEO John Syvret CBE said since August 2016 1,800 metric tons of steel, out of a total of 5,200 metric tons, had been fabricated to make the hull of the ship, which carries the Cammell Laird hull

Artist's impression of the RRS Sir David Attenborough unloading supplies in Antarctica. Copyright Rolls Royce.

Cammell Laird Awards Coatings Contract for RRS Sir David Attenborough

, U.K.   The £150 million contract to build the vessel, which Cammell Laird won in 2015, represents the biggest commercial shipbuilding contract in Britain for 30 years. The ship has been commissioned by the National Environment Research Council (NERC) and will be operated by British Antarctic Survey (BAS).   The shipbuilder awarded a coatings contract to Subsea Industries, based on the performance of its Ecospeed hull coating system on the Royal Research Ships Ernest Shackleton and James Clark Ross already in operation.   “Sir David Attenborough required a fully

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

Vast Iceberg Poised to Crack off Antarctica

slide faster towards the sea as temperatures rise because of global warming, raising world sea levels. Several ice shelves have cracked up around northern parts of Antarctica in recent years, including the Larsen B that disintegrated in 2002. Andrew Fleming, remote sensing manager at the British Antarctic Survey who also tracks the Larsen C, said the ice was being thawed both by warmer air above and by warmer waters below. In some cases, big icebergs simply float around Antarctica for years, causing little threat to shipping lanes as they melt. More rarely, icebergs drift as far north as South

© sichkarenko_com / Adobe Stock

Polar Sea Ice the Size of India Vanishes in Record Heat

square miles) below the 1981-2010 average, according to NSIDC satellite measurements. That is roughly the size of India, or two Alaskas.   Antarctica's expanding sea ice in many recent years has been a big theme for those who doubt global warming is man-made.   John Turner of the British Antarctic Survey said chilly westerly winds that sweep around the continent, perhaps insulating it from the effects of global warming, were the weakest for November in two decades. That may have let more heat seep south, he said.   A recovery of the high-altitude ozone layer over Antarctica, which

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