Search Results for Tag: Antarctic
While the climate negotiations continue at a snail’s pace in Doha, marine snails or pteropods in the Antarctic are losing their shells because of ocean acidification. Researchers from the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) and partners have published the first evidence of ocean acidification affecting live marine creatures in the Southern Ocean. Ocean acidification is caused by the uptake of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere emitted as a result of fossil fuel burning.
DateNovember 27, 2012 | 11:04 am
The Cold Edge – Visualizing polar climate impacts
On board the Greenpeace boat Esperanza at Svalbard for a story on scientists monitoring ocean acidification in 2010, I met Dave Walsh from Ireland, who was on board as Greenpeace press officer. Since then I have discovered his work as a photographer in his own right. These photos are art and appeals for environmental and climate action at the same time. Ice blog followers will enjoy his polar photos, spectacular and somehow moving. “While the frozen regions of our planet have the power to ignite imaginations, for most of the seven billion people on Earth, the Arctic and Antarctic remain abstract and unreachable”, says Dave. “ I’ve been lucky enough to voyage north and south by ship, to experience the serenity of the oceans and polar regions – and realise how finite ourplanet is.”
“The Cold Edge” exhibition of Dave’s pictures opens at The Copper House Gallery in Dublin this evening. I wish I could be there. In the meantime, those of us who can’t be there in person can share some inspiration and (aesthetic) food for thought online. The British newspaper the Guardian also features the pictures.
DateSeptember 13, 2012 | 8:52 am
Spring sun triggers Antarctic smart grid
As the webcam shows, the sun has returned to Antarctica after the long dark winter. This is at Belgium’s station, Princess Elisabeth Antarctica, the “Zero Emissions Station”, as you may have read before on the Ice Blog. The station is uninhabited in winter, and controlled remotely via satellite. In winter, with no sun aboutj, power comes from wind turbines. Over the last few days, enough sunlight has touched the solar panels to wake up the team of “Sunny Boys” – inverters that convert power coming from the solar panels so that it’s compatible with the station’s electric installation. The first of these awoke on July 15th, along with four others. Now up to ten are running, around half of the station’s total capacity.
With such a small quantity of sunlight, the solar panels aren’t producing much energy yet, but the station’s smart grid is reacting to the end of the long polar night: Princess Elisabeth Antarctica is waking up. “It is all going much faster than expected” says station engineer Erik Verhagen. The humans only return to Princess Elisabeth Antarctica in November, but preparations are already under way for another summer research season.
The only thing that bothers me about this sunny story is that when the sun comes back to Antarctica – we must be heading for autumn here in the north already. The temperature felt like it here in Bonn this morning – but the sun is still providing a fair bit of energy from the solar collectors on the rooftops here.
DateAugust 3, 2012 | 10:41 am
Warm ocean currents are melting Antarctic ice
Recent ice loss from Antarctica was mainly caused by warm ocean currents, according to a team of scientists led by British Antarctic Survey. In an article for the journal NATURE this week, they explain how they used new techniques to differentiate for the first time between the two known causes of melting ice shelves – warm ocean currents attacking from below and warm air melting from above. One worrying thing is that this means “we can lose an awful lot of ice to the sea without ever having summers warm enough to make the snow on top of the glaciers melt – the oceans can do all the work from below” says Dr. Hamish Pritchard from BAS, lead author of the report.
The warm water melting the ice sheets is causing inland glaciers to speed up and discharge masses of ice into the sea. The reason the water is warming, is probably because of changes in wind patterns, caused in turn by changes in climate. This would mean “Antarctica’s glaciers are responding rapidly to a changing climate” says Pritchard.
Most of the ice shelves being melted by warm ocean currents are in West Antarctica. On the eastern Antarctic Peninsula the shelf thinning found by the study can be explained by warmer summer winds directly melting the snow on the ice shelves.
The results will help improve projections of future sea-level rise.
More here on the website of the British Antarctic Survey
DateApril 27, 2012 | 1:02 pm
Scientists are using satellite mapping technology to count penguins in Antarctica. The latest results have shown that there are actually twice as many emperor penguins there as previously thought. Isn’t it nice when you hear some good news for a change?
The information provides a more accurate basis for researchers to monitor how environmental change is affecting the penguins. Satellite photography is proving to be a great way of keeping track of the penguins because their black and white feathers stand out against the snow, so the colonies are clearly visible on satellite imagery.
DateApril 16, 2012 | 9:58 am