Tag Archives: Antarctic

On Golden’s ice pond

National Science Foundation video features University of Utah mathematician Ken Golden

From the National Science Foundation

Oceanographers, marine biologists and geologists are the scientists most commonly associated with studying changes in sea ice. But these days, it just might be a mathematician drilling ice cores in the Antarctic. (more…)

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Earth orbit changes were key to Antarctic warming that ended last ice age

For more than a century scientists have known that Earth’s ice ages are caused by the wobbling of the planet’s orbit, which changes its orientation to the sun and affects the amount of sunlight reaching higher latitudes, particularly the polar regions.

The Northern Hemisphere’s last ice age ended about 20,000 years ago, and most evidence has indicated that the ice age in the Southern Hemisphere ended about 2,000 years later, suggesting that the south was responding to warming in the north.

But new research published online Aug. 14 in Nature shows that Antarctic warming began at least two, and perhaps four, millennia earlier than previously thought. (more…)

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Antarctic and Arctic Insects Use Different Genetic Mechanisms to Cope With Lack of Water

Genomic techniques facilitate discovery that gene expression causes disparity

Although they live in similarly extreme ecosystems at opposite ends of the world, Antarctic insects appear to employ entirely different methods at the genetic level to cope with extremely dry conditions than their counterparts that live north of the Arctic Circle, according to National Science Foundation- (NSF) funded researchers.

Writing in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the researchers concluded, “Polar arthropods have developed distinct… mechanisms to cope with similar desiccating conditions.” (more…)

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What Lies Beneath: NASA Antarctic Sub Goes Subglacial

When researcher Alberto Behar from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., joined an international Antarctic expedition last month on a trek to investigate a subglacial lake, he brought with him a unique instrument designed and funded by NASA to help the researchers study one of the last unexplored aquatic environments on Earth.

Called the Micro-Submersible Lake Exploration Device, the instrument was a small robotic sub about the size and shape of a baseball bat. Designed to expand the range of extreme environments accessible by humans while minimally disturbing the environment, the sub was equipped with hydrological chemical sensors and a high-resolution imaging system. The instruments and cameras characterize the geology, hydrology and chemical characteristics of the sub’s surroundings. Behar supervised a team of students from Arizona State University, Tempe, in designing, developing, testing and operating the first-of-its-kind sub. (more…)

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Study Shows Rapid Warming on the West Antarctic Ice Sheet

COLUMBUS, Ohio — In a discovery that raises further concerns about the future contribution of Antarctica to sea level rise, a new study finds that the western part of the ice sheet is experiencing nearly twice as much warming as previously thought.

The temperature record from Byrd Station, a scientific outpost in the center of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS), demonstrates a marked increase of 4.3 degrees Fahrenheit (2.4 degrees Celsius) in average annual temperature since 1958—that is, three times faster than the average temperature rise around the globe. (more…)

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The Emperor’s New Close-Up

U researchers map emperor penguin colonies by satellite

Emperor penguins may be icons of the Antarctic, but they aren’t immune to disturbances in their environment.

As climatic and other changes unfold, emperors may dwindle in numbers. But how to tell, when researchers can’t access all the emperor colonies dotting the Antarctic ice shelves and count heads every year?

Satellites, that’s how. (more…)

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Sea Change – Penguins Provide Window into Shifting Antarctic Ecosystem

What’s the best way to study the Antarctic’s ecosystem? Follow the penguins.

Scientists are tracking penguins on land, under the sea, and even from space to unravel the environmental dynamics in the West Antarctic Peninsula as the region experiences climate change.

“We’re not just down there bird watching,” said Matthew Oliver, assistant professor of oceanography in UD’s College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment. “This is a concerted effort to put the whole ecosystem together.” (more…)

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NASA Leads Study of Unprecedented Arctic Ozone Loss

PASADENA, Calif. – A NASA-led study has documented an unprecedented depletion of Earth’s protective ozone layer above the Arctic last winter and spring caused by an unusually prolonged period of extremely low temperatures in the stratosphere.

The study, published online Sunday, Oct. 2, in the journal Nature, finds the amount of ozone destroyed in the Arctic in 2011 was comparable to that seen in some years in the Antarctic, where an ozone “hole” has formed each spring since the mid-1980s. The stratospheric ozone layer, extending from about 10 to 20 miles (15 to 35 kilometers) above the surface, protects life on Earth from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays. (more…)

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