Antarctic Headlines 12/07/2019

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 …

Seals With High-Tech Hats Are Collecting Climate Data in the Antarctic
Smithsonian Magazine, 2019-12-06
In a paper published this week in Nature Geosciences, a team of climate scientists led by Caltech oceanographer Lia Siegelman used this clever technique to track changes in temperature as the seal swam the icy waters of the Antarctic. With the help of one particularly intrepid female seal, the researchers discovered that heat stored at the …

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 …

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 …

Studies highlight fragility of Antarctic ecosystems
Phys.org, 2019-12-02
Two studies published in a special issue of the journal Science Advances this week highlight the fragility of the Antarctic and its ecosystems in the lead up to the UNFCCC COP25 meeting in Madrid next week. The first study, involving scientists from British Antarctic Survey (BAS), explores the integration of climate change considerations in the …

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 …

We Need to Protect Antarctic ‘Blue Carbon’
Wired, 2019-12-04
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 international laws governing Antarctica …

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.

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 …

Climate change: Study underpins key idea in Antarctic ice loss
BBC, 2019-12-02
“Although most of the ice dynamical imbalance in West Antarctica and at the Antarctic Peninsula is clearly linked to ice shelf melting, there is not much evidence of the same in East Antarctica – which suggests Totten Glacier, for example, is thinning due …

Whaling and climate change led to 100 years of feast or famine for Antarctic penguins
Phys.org, 2019-12-02
Polito co-led a team of researchers from Louisiana State University, University of Rhode Island, University of Oxford, University of California Santa Cruz, and the University of Saskatchewan with the goal of understanding how human interference in Antarctic ecosystems during the past century led to booms and busts in the availability of a key …

Warming at the poles will soon be felt globally in rising seas, extreme weather
National Geographic news, 2019-12-06
While both the Arctic and Antarctic are experiencing rising temperatures, thinning glaciers, disturbed ecosystems, and other alarming shifts as heat-trapping fossil fuel emissions build up, changes are sweeping the northern region far faster. The impacts of a warming Arctic will be felt well beyond the high latitudes in the near future …

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 …

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 …

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 …

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 …

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 …