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Antarctica

Interesting albatross personalities

Interesting albatross personalities

Far away in the Antarctic, life for the albatross is hard. Fishing vessels are sources of food, but the prime fishing is found in productive shallow seas near islands. The personalities of these birds have always been intriguing, and now we have a start on discovering more about their lives.

The Big Climate Debate

The Big Climate Debate



When rivers flowed and heat was bearable, ice still remained on the Arctic Ocean and Antarctica was safe from development. Fond memories!

Huge Antarctic rift provides clues on ice loss

Huge Antarctic rift provides clues on ice loss



A massive ancient ice rift, up to one mile deep in places, has been found in Antarctica. The rift basin is linked to the warming ocean that effects ice flow, say the British scientists that found it.

West Antarctic ice shelf - a nudge and a push from collapse?

West Antarctic ice shelf - a nudge and a push from collapse?

An important ice shelf responsible for pinning back much of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet is in danger of collapse, according to new studies out today. Ice-penetrating radar has discovered giant pools of sea-water underneath much of the ice shelf; models suggest that warm waters melting it from beneath may cause the shelf to give way. That could potentially open the gates to the great mass of ice stacked up behind it - and more significant sea level rises.

Warm ocean currents and Antarctic ice loss

Warm ocean currents and Antarctic ice loss

A new study on ice loss in Antarctica by the British Antarctic Survey confirms what we already know about the effects of global warming but it differentiates between the effects of ocean currents, their cause and the air temperature effects at the ice surface.

Japan's Whaling in Antarctica

Japan's Whaling in Antarctica

Information about the commercial whaling carried out by Japan in Antarctica. The Institute of Cetacean Research sounds like a whale protection and research body, but this inapt name is used by Japanese whalers.

Unique fish are dealt a dodgy deal

Unique fish are dealt a dodgy deal

For three species in the family Notthenioidae, a bleak outlook once again threatens. Climate change is about to deal a double evolutionary deal on a group of Antarctic animals that have adapted well to the icy environment only to lose out to global warming.

Vent beasts give clues to a whole new biogeography

Vent beasts give clues to a whole new biogeography



The Galapagos trench and many other Pacific, Indian Ocean (possibly related to a SW Pacific biogeographic province) and mid-Atlantic trenches have been slowly 'unearthed', until recently the faunal diversity was found to be centred on the Antarctic Ocean.

Mystery of Antarctica's Gamburtsev Mountain Range solved

Mystery of Antarctica's Gamburtsev Mountain Range solved

A 50-year puzzle about how a mountain range, the Gamburtsev Subglacial Mountains, 3km under the Antarctic ice, was created looks like it has been solved by a team of international scientists.

Take water, a pinch of salt and a moon called Europa

Take water, a pinch of salt and a moon called Europa



Some inveterate searchers after life have decided the icy moon Europa is the next place to look. One of Jupiter's finest, the thick icy surface had previously put astronomers off the scent. Now Antarctican research has helped identify chaos terrains on Europa's ice.

Ninth largest hole in ozone layer

Ninth largest hole in ozone layer

Ninth largest hole in ozone layer: NASA. This year's Antarctic ozone layer hole was the ninth largest on record, say leading scientists.

Ice Warms in Antarctica

Ice Warms in Antarctica



The wild west of Antarctica has many thinning glaciers such as the huge Getz Ice Shelf, the Pine Island Glacier, and the Thwaites Glacier. NASA's Ice Bridge Project is now in full production there, showing how this strategic locked-up water is liable to be released quicker than we thought, causing higher sea levels worldwide.

Mars Carbs.

Mars Carbs.

The oldest rocks known include the Martian meteorite ALH84001, from the Allen Hills in Antarctica. Geologists believe it started life, 4 billion years ago, tens of metres below the Martian surface and was 'snookered' off the planet by another meteorite when it struck that area, a mere 16 million years ago.

Climate information unlocked from the Antarctic ice

Climate information unlocked from the Antarctic ice



Samples of sediment and water will be extracted by a team from the BAS to help research in numerous fields. Sediment samples can provide a record of climate change and help us to understand the natural processes that can be involved in such a change.

New age for ice spotters as satellites map Antarctic

New age for ice spotters as satellites map Antarctic

A NASA project has for the first time mapped the glacial flows of Antarctica, providing vital information in the monitoring of climate change. The map they have created shows glaciers as they snake their way from the desolate Antarctic interior to the southern oceans.

'Happy Feet' goes online for Antarctic return

'Happy Feet' goes online for Antarctic return

A penguin found thousands of miles off course in New Zealand will be tracked online as he returns to the deep south. 'Happy Feet', a juvenile Emperor Penguin, was washed up on Peka Peka beach close to Wellington in June, around 3,000 miles from where he should have been.

North and south, changes to polar ecology racking up

North and south, changes to polar ecology racking up



Not all of the changes ongoing in the Arctic and Antarctic are big and dramatic. Small-scale changes to the bugs and soils are likely to change the face of the poles too, says a presentation to the Ecological Society of America, made in Texas yesterday.

Japanese tsunami broke chunks off Antarctica's ice sheet

Japanese tsunami broke chunks off Antarctica's ice sheet

Photographic evidence has emerged that suggest the Japanese earthquake and subsequent Tohoku Tsunami caused 50 square miles of ice to break off Antarctica. Images from the European Space Agency show that icebergs, some larger than Manhattan island, broke away from Antarctica just a few days after the quake.

Underwater volcanoes found under the Southern Ocean

Underwater volcanoes found under the Southern Ocean

Active volcanoes discovered deep under cold waters. Previously unknown volcanoes have been discovered under the Southern Ocean around the remote South Sandwich Islands. Scientists from the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) used sea-floor mapping technology to find 12 underwater volcanoes, some up to 3 kilometres high.

Right time for whales to return to New Zealand's calving grounds

Right time for whales to return to New Zealand's calving grounds

The playful antics of the gentle-but-gigantic right whales may be about to return to New Zealand, after an absence of 50 years - according to a new study published in Marine Ecology Progress Series. These formerly teeming calving grounds are being rediscovered by intrepid pioneers from near the Antarctic - and this may herald a return to the stunning yearly spectacle, last seen 100 years ago, before the whalers laid waste to these graceful giants.

Book holds up 50-year old Antarctic Treaty as beacon of hope

Book holds up 50-year old Antarctic Treaty as beacon of hope



A new book on the diplomatic triumph of the 'border-less' Antarctic Treaty in 1959, is being launched today, as the 5th Malaysian International Seminar on Antarctica draws to a close. The book's editor, respected polar scientist Paul Berkman, sees the need to re-summon the political will shown back then, so as to deal with the ultimate cross-border threat - global warming.

South Georgia's unrivaled biodiversity challenged by warming

South Georgia's unrivaled biodiversity challenged by warming

The chilly south Atlantic islands of South Georgia can boast a higher level of biodiversity than some tropical islands, says a new study from the British Antarctic Survey. Published in this week's PloS ONE. Over 1,500 marine species have been collected near the islands over the lat century, but the fastest sea warming in the Southern hemisphere may threaten this biodiversity hot-spot.

Humpback whales in super-aggregation in Antarctica

Humpback whales in super-aggregation in Antarctica



In a wildlife spectacle, a massive aggregation of over 300 humpback whales followed the biggest swarm of Antarctic krill seen in twenty years into bays in the Western Antarctic peninsula. The humpbacks were gorging on swarms of the tiny shrimp-like crustaceans. Almost all life in the Southern Ocean is ultimately dependent on the protein-rich crustaceans, from seabirds, seals and penguins, to the filter feeding whales.

Ozone Hole Over the Arctic is of Record Proportions

Ozone Hole Over the Arctic is of Record Proportions

The phenomenon of a ''hole'' in the ozone blanket that covers the earth at polar latitudes was first discovered in 1985 by scientists from the British Antarctic Survey. The ''hole'' was a cylinder of the atmosphere, forming over polar regions, where the level of ozone in the atmospheric column was depleted.

Alien invasion of the Antarctic

Alien invasion of the Antarctic

New research looks at the risk of biological invasion with fresh produce in the Antarctic region. With an exponentially increasing population of tourists and researchers, the Antarctic region is currently at increasing risk of non-native species introductions.

Ozone hole's long reach brings climate change to the tropics

Ozone hole's long reach brings climate change to the tropics

The ozone hole over Antarctica could be causing the tropics to have wetter summers, increasing flooding and landslide risks, according to recent research published today in Science. A team from Columbia University has found that the ozone hole is helping to shift the jet streams south, making parts of the tropics much rainier than they were before. The results imply it is not just greenhouse gases that can change the climate.

March Of The King Crabs

March Of The King Crabs

King Crabs are invading Antarctica's waters and putting the fragile ecosystem there at peril. The worry is that the invasion of the shell crushing crabs could have a disastrous effect on Antarctica's ecosystem. King Crabs haven't inhabited the area in some 40 million years and many of the region's molluscs, such as clams, brittle stars and snails have evolved softer shells, which offer no defence to the crabs' strong claws.

West Antarctica gets warmed from tropics via 'Rossby waves'

West Antarctica gets warmed from tropics via 'Rossby waves'

A long train of low-and-high pressure areas, known as Rossby waves, are helping to channel increasing warmth in the equatorial Pacific over to the Antarctic - according to research in Nature Geoscience. That is also producing an increase in warming in Western Antarctica, which contains vast amounts of water locked in its thick ice-caps. Melting here could pump 15 feet of sea-level rise out across the globe.

Erratic boulders indicate past antarctic ice sheet behaviour

Erratic boulders indicate past antarctic ice sheet behaviour

Scientists from Leeds and Aberystwyth University recently discovered that rocks displaced by the Antarctic Ice Sheet are found on James Ross Island, indicating that the sheet must have expanded this far earlier.

Human activity threatening unique Antarctic marine ecosystem

Human activity threatening unique Antarctic marine ecosystem

Antarctica's unique marine ecosystem is being increasingly threatened by human activity, according to a new report published this week. According to a new study by a team of scientists in the UK and the U.S., human activity is degrading Antarctica's marine ecosystems, placing native species under increasing pressure and upsetting the delicate balance of this exceptional region.

Fussy killers - Weddell seals on the menu for Orca

Fussy killers - Weddell seals on the menu for Orca



A predilection for larger, fatter Weddell seals has been noted by NOAA scientists studying killer whales, in the icy waters off the Antarctic Peninsula. The study in Marine Mammal Science shows they use astounding tactics of cooperation to ensure Weddell stays on the menu - creating waves to wash their prey off of floes, and then sharing the hapless seal once drowned.

A review of climatic history following a new look at Antarctic ice cores

A review of climatic history following a new look at Antarctic ice cores

A review of Antarctic ice cores by German physicists, leads to an expansion of the accepted hypothesis of climatic history. Researchers have reconstructed temperature fluctuations in Antarctica for the last million years by studying ice cores. Up until now the presumption has been that these fluctuations were triggered by the global effect of climatic changes in the northern hemisphere.

More ice leaving polar ice sheets than ever before

More ice leaving polar ice sheets than ever before



A new NASA-funded satellite study of the polar ice sheets shows an alarming accelerating trend of ice loss from both Greenland and Antarctica. Combined with losses from mountain glaciers and ice caps this could result in a global sea level rise of 32cm as early as 2050. Filed in environmental issues: Sea Levels/Climate

Building from beneath - ice-sheets in Antarctica flip glaciologist's ideas on their head

Building from beneath - ice-sheets in Antarctica flip glaciologist's ideas on their head

The miles-thick ice-sheets of Antarctica continue to surprise scientists, as they attempt to prise out the secrets from deep within the southern hemisphere's giant ice locker. Now a survey of the completely ice-submerged Gamburtsev Mountains has glaciologists rethinking ideas of ice-sheet dynamics. The Antarctic ice-sheets form the largest body of freshwater on the planet, making up 60% of all water outside the oceans.

Scott's Antarctic work lives on in new carbon survey

Scott's Antarctic work lives on in new carbon survey

Tiny Antarctic organisms are growing more quickly because of an increase in carbon say scientists who used the polar legend's century's old collections. Scientists have been examining tiny creatures called bryozoans. These sea-bed dwellers feed on microscopically small marine plants called phytoplankton, which need carbon dioxide to survive.

Sea Shepherd success as Japan ends whaling season early

Sea Shepherd success as Japan ends whaling season early

The Japanese government has announced that they have decided to bring this year's Antarctic Ocean whaling season to an early end. A statement by the Japanese Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries they said their whaling fleet will be returning home shortly as a result of the ongoing harassment that they have been receiving from the anti-whaling activists in the Antarctic Ocean, naming the vessels run by the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society.

New reserves proposed to protect sub-Antarctic marine life

New reserves proposed to protect sub-Antarctic marine life

The New Zealand Government has just unveiled plans to create three massive new marine reserves surrounding the sub-Antarctic Islands. Antarctic islands are protected in the future. Because of the remoteness of these islands and that they are not widely fished at this time, they require unique approaches.

Smaller glaciers, not giant ice caps, tipped to push sea levels up

Smaller glaciers, not giant ice caps, tipped to push sea levels up



Melting mountain glaciers rather than the ice sheets of the Antarctic will be the biggest contributor to rising sea levels over the decades ahead, scientists believe. That climate scientists looking into rising sea levels are currently directing their research at the massive ice caps of the Arctic and the Antarctic is hardly surprising.

Sea Shepherd attacks Japanese whalers with 'Godzilla'

Sea Shepherd attacks Japanese whalers with 'Godzilla'

The Sea Shepherd's new anti-whaling boat was unveiled this week in efforts to step up this season's campaign against the Japanese whalers. The Sea Shepherd has just launched their new vessel, known as 'Gojira', to chase after Japanese whale boat harpooners who will be out hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean.

NZ likely to send Navy to watch over anti-whaling protestors

NZ likely to send Navy to watch over anti-whaling protestors



Concerned about the increasing hostility in the Antarctic waters, the NZ Government is now considering sending their navy to accompany vessels during the upcoming whaling season. The whaling season begins shortly and the collision between the Ady Gil and the Japanese whaling vessel last season has lead the NZ Prime Minister to raise concerns that people could lose their lives.