Antarctic Headlines 12/09/2019

The Antarctic: Study provides data about the structure of the icy continent
Phys.org, 2019-12-09
The Antarctic is one of the parts of Earth that we know the least about. Due to the massive ice shield, the collection of geophysical information on site is extremely difficult and expensive. Satellite data from the European Space Agency (ESA) has now been used as the basis for new insights on the deep structure of the continent. Scientists …

Antarctic Explorers’ Brains Shrunk During a 14-Month Polar Expedition
Gizmodo, 2019-12-09
Spending over a year in the bleak desolation that is Antarctica might change your brain for the worse, according to new research out this month. It seems to show that polar explorers who lived for 14 months at an Antarctica research station experienced brain shrinkage, likely as a result of their isolation and boredom. But the effects on their …

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 …

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 …

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 …

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 …

Forty years on, New Zealand apologizes for Antarctic plane disaster
Reuters, 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.

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 …

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 …

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 …

Antarctic ice sheets could be at greater risk of melting than previously thought
Phys.org, 2019-12-02
Heat from the landmass beneath the Antarctic ice sheet is a major contributor to the way that glaciers melt and flow—and their impact on potential sea level rise. Hotter conditions allow …

Commonwealth agency Australian Antarctic Division found guilty of breaches which led to helicopter pilot’s Antarctica death
The Canberra Times, 2019-12-09
Commonwealth prosecutors pursued criminal charges against the Australian Antarctic Division – a division of the federal Department of Environment – and it’s contractor Helicopter Resources, Captain Wood’s employer. They faced three criminal charges each of …

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 …

Court critical of safety strategy for Antarctic pilots
The Australian, 2019-12-09
He was working for Helicopter Resources, which had a contract with the Department of Environment and Energy’s Australian Antarctic Division. Following his death, which remains the subject of a coronial inquest, the commonwealth workers’ compensation authority, known as Comcare, brought criminal charges against the department and Helicopter …

Lonely Antarctic expedition led to brain shrinkage in scientists: study
CTV News, 2019-12-09
TORONTO — A crew of scientists on a long-term expedition to Antarctica saw a portion of their brains shrink, a side effect potentially related to them being in an isolated monotonous environment, according to a small-scale study. The study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine on Wednesday, used magnetic resonance imaging (MRIs) to …

China’s 36th Antarctic expedition team conducts observations, researches in Prydz Bay
China Daily, 2019-12-09
Emperor penguins walk near China’s polar icebreaker Xuelong 2 in the Antarctica’s Prydz Bay, Dec 6, 2019. Team members of China’s 36th Antarctic expedition conducted multidisciplinary observations and researches in Antarctica’s Prydz Bay from Dec 3 to Dec 7. [Photo/Xinhua]

You should get out more, because being alone for too long will literally shrink your brain
Syfy, 2019-12-09
You might also want to think twice about venturing to the South Pole. A recent study on Antarctic expeditioners, who spent over a year at the bottom of the world without much human interaction, found that certain parts of their brains shrank when exposed to such isolation for a certain period of time. Being alone for so long can apparently …

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 …

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 …