Southern Ocean News

(File photo courtesy of Liquid Robotics)

Wave Gliders to Study Arctic and Southern Oceans

Oceanographers will deploy long duration unmanned ocean robots called Wave Gliders as a sensor platform to conduct advanced scientific research in inhospitable and remote regions of the Arctic and Southern Oceans.Using Liquid Robotics’ wave and solar powered Wave Gliders, scientists from Scripps Institution of Oceanography (Scripps) and the Applied Physics Laboratory of the University of Washington (APL-UW) will obtain real time data and rare insights into the dynamic conditions that drive the world’s weather and climate. This data is critical for scientists to understand and improve

ATCM Paves Way for Marine Protection in Southern Ocean

Antarctic, after key countries committed to work together in the lead up to this October's Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) meeting in Hobart. The Antarctic Ocean Alliance attended as part of the delegation of its partnering organization, the Antarctic and Southern Ocean Coalition (ASOC), who has recognized NGO status at the ATCM and CCAMLR. Parties to the Antarctic Treaty this week encouraged CCAMLR to continue their fruitful discussions on marine protected areas (MPAs) in the months leading up to their annual meeting, during which two MPA proposals in the

Ice profiling Antarctica: Image NIWA CCL

How Southern Ocean Waves Affect Antarctic Ice: New Research

Zealand's National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) have made a breakthrough in understanding one of the key processes driving changes in sea ice. Drs Alison Kohout, Mike Williams and Sam Dean along with Australian based scientist Dr Mike Meylan, have been researching how the Southern Ocean’s biggest waves are affecting Antarctic sea ice, explains NIWA. Their new data show that large waves in the Southern Ocean - those bigger than 3 m - are able to break sea ice over greater distances than previously believed, and that this process may be the missing science that explains

Antarctic Survey Vessel Wyatt Earp passing an iceberg in Antarctica.. Photo: Royal Australian Navy

Wyatt Earp Continues Antarctic Mission

.  Data from these hydrographic surveys will assist with safe passage of shipping transiting this area.   Wyatt Earp is loaded onto Australia’s Antarctic Flagship, the RSV Aurora Australis, which then makes the journey from Hobart to the Australian Antarctic Stations across the Southern Ocean. Winds here can reach up to 120-150 kilometres per hour, coupled with with storms that can generate seas of up to 10 metres.   The Antarctic Survey Vessel is the namesake of the polar exploration ship Wyatt Earp, built between 1918 and 1919, which has a Royal Australian Navy history. This

Photo: Damen

First Steel Cut for Australia's New Polar Research Ship

for the Australian Antarctic Division (AAD). “The new vessel is a multi-mission ship designed to sustain our geographically dispersed stations, support helicopter operations, sustain shore parties on remote islands, map the seafloor and undertake a variety of scientific activities across the Southern Ocean,” said AAD Modernization Program Manager Rob Bryson.   To fulfil these diverse roles, the ASRV boasts considerable cargo capacity: up to 96 TEU below decks and 14 TEU and six 10-foot containers on the aft deck, as well as more above the helicopter hanger and in front of the helideck

Photo: NOC

How Does Ocean Circulation Impact Marine Protected Areas?

strongly in time, due to the seasonal monsoon in the Indian Ocean.   Combining the footprints from each MPA with maps of human population, the researchers were also able to show that not all connectivity with land was the same. While South Georgia was connected to land, its closeness to the Southern Ocean meant that most of this land was unpopulated Antarctica. In contrast, Ascension and BIOT were both strongly connected to major human population centers and, potentially, sources of pollution, including plastic pollution.   Robinson, added “Our results show the connections MPAs have

The atlas: Image courtesy of the publishers

Southern Ocean Biogeographic Atlas to be Published

The book is to be launched shortly by the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR) at its Open Science Conference in Auckland, New Zealand. Background The publisher's web portal explains that the Southern Ocean waters to the west of the Antarctic Peninsula are warming faster than almost any other place on Earth. This area of most rapid environmental change was among others targeted by the Census of Antarctic Marine Life in its collection of biogeographic information. Such biogeographic information is of fundamental importance for monitoring biodiversity, discovering biodiversity hotspots

(Photo: Damen)

Keel Laid for Australia's New Antarctic Supply/Research Vessel

Island with cargo, equipment and personnel. This will be facilitated by the ability to stow more than 100 TEU.   In terms of research, the ASRV signifies the Australian government’s commitment to a long term scientific programme focused on the understanding and stewardship of the Southern Ocean. With laboratory and office spaces totalling 500 m2, up to 116 scientific staff will be able to perform a huge range of cross-disciplinary studies of the biological, physical, chemical and geological systems of the region. Placing a coin under the keel of a ship at the start of construction

(Photo: Sea Shepherd)

Japan Won't Lower Guard of Whaling as Sea Shepherd Changes Tactics

official said on Tuesday.   Paul Watson, founder of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, said in a statement on Monday the group’s limited resources made it difficult to compete with the military technology Japan employs to guard its whaling fleet and it would not send ships to the Southern Ocean this year.   But an official at Japan’s Fisheries Agency was skeptical.   “It’s not clear what the real intention of their statement is and we don’t know whether the organization will stop its anti-whaling actions this year,” the official, who declined

Next generation Wave Glider heading out to sea (Photo: Liquid Robotics, A Boeing Company)

Liquid Robotics Debuts Next Generation Wave Glider

ever before to tackle the dull and dangerous missions.”   Wave Gliders are used for unmanned exploration and surveillance missions as well as for collecting an communicating data through a wide range of conditions and oceans around the world, including the Arctic (latitude of 78.76N) and Southern Ocean (latitude of 64.8S). The newest version builds on the current platform capabilities with the following innovations:  Performance in high sea states (sea state 6 and greater) Advanced navigation in high latitudes (ex: Arctic and Antarctica) Supports 30 percent heavier payloads

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 team from Newcastle University has arrived in Antarctica this week as part of a major new research project to measure the rate of uptake of heat and CO2 in the Southern Ocean.   Dr. Miguel Morales Maqueda, Alicia Mountford and Liam Rogerson from Newcastle University have joined the ORCHESTRA research project (Ocean Regulation of Climate by Heat and Carbon Sequestration and Transports) to carry out sea surface measurements using a Wave Glider.   Fitted with a GBS antennae – a highly accurate GPS system – the glider will survey the ocean surface, measuring properties such as

Fig.1. Sodebo Ultim arrives home after Thomas Coville’s record-breaking trip. (Photo Credit: Team Sodebo)

Around the World in 49 Days

, Coville reduced the previous record for solo global circumnavigation by eight days. That record had stood for 12 years. In fact, Coville had previously made three unsuccessful attempts to break it. For two weeks, Coville’s route headed south from France down the Atlantic and far into the Southern Ocean. There he picked up strong winds called the Roaring Forties. In less than three weeks, Coville sailed clockwise around Antarctica keeping the Indian Ocean and Pacific Ocean à gauche. After 32 days of sailing, Coville finally turned north into the Atlantic, headed to his homeland and the

Courtesy  Antarctic Ocean Alliance

AOA Calls for Southern Ocean Conservation Commitments

The Antarctic Ocean Alliance (AOA) called on the 25 member countries gathering today for the annual meeting of the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) to finally agree on lasting and significant Southern Ocean protection.   CCAMLR previously pledged to establish two marine protected areas by 2012, but, because of a lack of consensus, member states have failed to reach agreement on two major proposals on four separate occasions. The Southern Ocean is home to more than 10,000 unique species, including most of the world’s penguins, whales, seabirds

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

on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) today agreed to set 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

Pine Island Glacier rift seen from the Digital Mapping System camera aboard NASA's DC-8 on Oct. 26, 2011 (Image Credit: NASA / DMS)

Huge Iceberg Broken off Antarctica Heads for Open Ocean

concerned about shipping lanes. We know where all the big ones are," she said. Scientists are especially interested in this iceberg not only because of its size but because it originated in an unexpected location, said Brunt. "It's like a large sheet cake floating through the Southern Ocean," she added. The glacial crack that created the iceberg was first detected in 2011, according to Brunt, a scientist with NASA Goddard Space Flight Center and Morgan State University in Maryland. Pine Island Glacier has been closely studied over the past two decades because it has been

© sichkarenko_com / Adobe Stock

Polar Sea Ice the Size of India Vanishes in Record Heat

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 freak natural

Aboard RSV Aurora Australis at the front of the Totten Glacier in 2015 – the first time a ship had been able to access the front of the Totten Glacier which is normally surrounded by thick sea ice. (Photo: Paul Brown)

Expedition to Study Ocean’s Role in Glacial Melting

Australian scientists are stepping up efforts to understand how the Southern Ocean is changing and how these changes are likely to affect the East Antarctic ice sheet.   A team of around 30 scientists, technicians and PhD students from CSIRO, the Antarctic Climate & Ecosystems CRC (ACE CRC), the University of Tasmania’s Institute for Marine & Antarctic Studies, and the Australian Antarctic Division will leave from Hobart on Australia’s icebreaker Aurora Australis today (Thursday).   Chief Investigator and CSIRO Oceans and Atmosphere scientist, Dr. Steve Rintoul

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