Antarctic Headlines 12/06/2019

Research reveals past rapid Antarctic ice loss due to ocean warming
Phys.org, 2019-12-06
New research from the University of Otago has found the sensitive West Antarctic Ice Sheet collapsed during a warming period just over a million years ago when atmospheric carbon dioxide levels were lower than today. Using biomarkers to reconstruct past ocean temperatures, and through ice sheet computer models, the study published in Quaternary …

Lonely Antarctic Expeditions Shrink People’s Brains
Live Science on MSN.com, 2019-12-05
Surrounded by bitter-cold wilderness, the station certainly fits the textbook definition of “isolated.” Before the expeditioners hunkered down for the Antarctic winter, Stahn and his co-authors scanned the subjects’ brains via magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), which uses a strong magnetic field and radio waves to capture structural images of …

Study reveals climate change impact on Antarctic penguins
Phys.org, 2019-12-04
Antarctic penguins have been on the forefront of climate change, experiencing massive changes to their natural habitat as the world’s temperatures and human activity in the region have increased. Now, new research has revealed how penguins have dealt with more than a century of human impacts in Antarctica and why some species are winners or …

Isolation, monotony change the brain, Antarctic study shows
UPI.com, 2019-12-05
Dec. 5 –Antarctica is one of the loneliest places on Earth. Endless expanses of white give way to almost complete darkness during the long winter months. Companionship is largely limited to those who’ve joined you in these achingly cold wilds. That overwhelming isolation is so great that it appears to cause physical and functional …

Seawater softening of suture zones inhibits fracture propagation in Antarctic ice shelves
Nature, 2019-12-02
Suture zones are abundant on Antarctic ice shelves and widely observed to impede fracture propagation, greatly enhancing ice-shelf stability. Using seismic and radar observations on the Larsen C Ice Shelf of the Antarctic Peninsula, we confirm that such zones are highly heterogeneous, consisting of multiple meteoric and marine ice bodies of …

First Evidence of Key Antarctic Ice Loss Driver Uncovered
Newsweek, 2019-12-02
The Antarctic Ice Sheet (AIS)—the largest single mass of ice on Earth, covering about 98 percent of the southern continent—is currently losing mass. And the rate at which this mass loss is contributing to sea-level rise is increasing. The AIS is encircled by floating, sea-based ice shelves that surround the continent and help hold the land …

Brain Volume, Cognition Worse After Antarctic Expedition
MedPage Today, 2019-12-04
Fourteen months on an Antarctic research expedition — with almost complete darkness during winter, temperatures as low as -58 °F, and extremely limited social interactions — led to brain changes in healthy young adults, a small prospective study showed. Before-and-after MRI scans showed that expeditioners at the polar research station …

We Need to Protect Antarctic ‘Blue Carbon’
Wired, 2019-12-04
This locks carbon out of the atmosphere for millennia or longer, resulting in long-term sequestration of atmospheric carbon dioxide. Unfortunately, international governance of the area south of the Antarctic convergence creates a wicked legal problem. It’s the result of the complex history, regime dynamics, and jurisdictional framework of the …

Forty years on, New Zealand apologizes for Antarctic plane disaster
Reuters on MSN.com, 2019-11-28
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern apologized on Thursday for the then-government’s handling of a plane crash in Antarctica 40 years ago that took the lives of 257 people in the country’s worst peacetime disaster.

Antarctic Study Shows Isolation, Monotony May Change the Human Brain
U.S. News & World Report, 2019-12-04
Antarctic Study Shows Isolation, Monotony May Change the Human Brain By Dennis Thompson HealthDay Reporter WEDNESDAY, Dec. 4, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Antarctica is one of the loneliest places on Earth. Endless expanses of white give way to almost complete darkness during the long winter months. Companionship is largely limited to those who’ve …

‘A Polar Affair’ delves into a centurylong cover-up of penguin sex
Science News, 2019-12-06
The return journey claimed the lives of all five. Levick survived the expedition, however, and in 1914, published a manuscript summarizing his observations — the first scientific descriptions of Antarctic penguins. But he left something out. During his months observing Adélie penguins, which included an entire breeding cycle, Levick …

Antarctic Study Shows Isolation, Monotony May Change the Human Brain
U.S. News & World Report, 2019-12-04
Antarctic Study Shows Isolation, Monotony May Change the Human Brain By Dennis Thompson HealthDay Reporter WEDNESDAY, Dec. 4, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Antarctica is one of the loneliest places on Earth. Endless expanses of white give way to almost complete darkness during the long winter months. Companionship is largely limited to those who’ve …

Scientist anticipates breakthrough in Antarctic search for planet’s oldest ice
Phys.org, 2019-12-02
“Many of the targets that people are interested in are very remote,” Goodge said. “The Antarctic drilling season is about three months a year from November to January. Even in the summer time the surface temp is going to be minus 40 Celsius.” Trapped in the ancient glaciers are tiny air bubbles—time capsules that document changes in …

We Need to Protect Antarctic ‘Blue Carbon’
Wired, 2019-12-04
This locks carbon out of the atmosphere for millennia or longer, resulting in long-term sequestration of atmospheric carbon dioxide. Unfortunately, international governance of the area south of the Antarctic convergence creates a wicked legal problem. It’s the result of the complex history, regime dynamics, and jurisdictional framework of the …

Antarctic scientists’ brains SHRANK by up to 10% after they were cooped up for 14 months in an isolated research station on the polar ice
Mail Online, 2019-12-06
A group of polar explorers who spent 14 months in Antarctica came back with shrunken brains, a study has revealed. The eight scientists and a cook had been staying on a research station close to the coast of the icy continent, to the south of the Atlantic Ocean. But spending so much time looking at a blank landscape, cooped up in the same small …

Otago University study highlights risk of Antarctic ice sheet melting
Newshub, 2019-12-05
An Otago University researcher is urging people to take climate change seriously after a new study highlighted the risk of ice sheets melting. Findings show the West Antarctic Ice Sheet collapsed during a warming period just over one million years ago. Dr Catherine Beltran, of Otago University’s Department of Marine Science and Department of …

Brain Volume, Cognition Worse After Antarctic Expedition
MedPage Today, 2019-12-04
Fourteen months on an Antarctic research expedition — with almost complete darkness during winter, temperatures as low as -58 °F, and extremely limited social interactions — led to brain changes in healthy young adults, a small prospective study showed. Before-and-after MRI scans showed that expeditioners at the polar research station …

Scientists are watching how Antarctic penguins adapt to availability of food
Metro, 2019-12-02
Gentoo and chinstrap penguins squabbling in the snow at a breeding colony along the Antarctic Peninsula. (PA) Penguins in the Antarctic are attempting to adapt to huge changes in their habitat due to the effects of climate change. Now a team of scientists are watching closely how they deal with varying availability of krill – one of their …

Whaling and climate change lead to 100 years of feast or famine for Antarctic penguins
nsf.gov, 2019-12-05
Seals, whales and penguins all feast on shrimplike crustaceans called Antarctic krill. As seal and whale populations dwindled, a surplus of krill was likely available. More recently, the combined effects of commercial krill fishing, climate change, and the recovery of seal and whale populations may have drastically decreased the abundance of krill.

Antarctic tsunami hazard identified by new study
The New Zealand Herald, 2019-12-04
A study into the risk posed to New Zealand’s Antarctic presence has identified Mexico as the most likely source of earthquakes capable of generating tsunamis that could reach Scott Base. Antarctica New Zealand commissioned a tsunami hazard study ahead of a planned redevelopment of Scott Base, New Zealand’s Antarctic research station …

 

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