Antarctic Headlines 12/15/2019

‘Lost’ Iron Meteorites May Lurk Beneath Antarctic Ice. Scientists on Quest to Find Them.
Space on MSN.com, 2019-12-15
Scientists are scouring the remote Antarctic ice cap for rare meteorites chock-full of iron and holding secrets to the history of our solar system going back some 4.5 billion years.  During a six-week British expedition, the team hopes to find up to five iron meteorites in the five square mile (15 square kilometers) survey area — enough for scientists to examine for key chemical and physical clues to conditions in the early solar system.

Maps That Peer Below Antarctic Ice Show Precarious Position of Key Glacier
Scientific American, 2019-12-13
Known as “BedMachine Antarctica,” the project presents a comprehensive layout of the landscape underneath the ice—all the bumps, ridges and chasms in the bedrock that form the Antarctic continent and holds its glaciers in place. Led by scientists from the University of California, Irvine, the researchers have steadily added to the data …

Barrels of ancient Antarctic air aim to track history of rare gas
Phys.org, 2019-12-13
Though rare, the atmospheric detergent known as hydroxyl can scrub the atmosphere and determine the fate of more plentiful gases that affect Earth’s climate. An Antarctic field campaign last winter led by the U.S. and Australia has successfully extracted some of the largest samples of air dating from the 1870s until today. These samples are a …

Antarctic video reveals deepest canyon on Earth
Science | AAAS, 2019-12-13
SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA—Despite scientists’ best efforts to probe the land beneath Antarctica’s ice sheets with radar, the continent’s sheer size and remoteness has left many gaps in existing surveys. That changed this week with a new map, called BedMachine Antarctica, released at a meeting of the American Geophysical Union here and …

A Flexible Diet is Key to Antarctic Penguin Survival, Study Finds
Forbes, 2019-12-12
Antarctica is home to a myriad of penguin species including the emperor penguin, gentoo penguin, and chinstrap penguin. A gentoo penguin leaps off of an ice floe and into Mikkelsen Harbor in the Antarctic Peninsula. Gentoo and chinstap penguins are closely related, and both reside on the Antarctic Peninsula, Falkland Islands, and South Georgia.

Map reveals land beneath Antarctic ice sheet in unprecedented detail
UPI.com, 2019-12-12
RELATED Antarctic ice instability could yield rapid melting, dramatic sea level rise To build the new map, scientists sourced data from a wide diversity of sources, including observations from 19 surveys of Antarctic ice thickness. The mapping model utilized ice flow velocity and seismic data, as well as topography measurements made by NASA’s …

The unique structural features of carbonmonoxy hemoglobin from the sub-Antarctic fish Eleginops maclovinus
Nature, 2019-12-12
Here, we report the crystal structure of a carbonmonoxy form of the Hb isolated from the sub-Antarctic notothenioid fish Eleginops maclovinus characterised by either rare or unique features. In particular, the distal site of the α chain results to be very unusual since the distal His is displaced from its canonical position. This displacement …

Team releases high-precision map of Antarctic ice sheet bed topography
Phys.org, 2019-12-12
The new Antarctic bed topography product was constructed using ice thickness data from 19 different research institutes dating back to 1967, encompassing nearly a million line-miles of radar soundings. In addition, BedMachine’s creators utilized ice shelf bathymetry measurements from NASA’s Operation IceBridge campaigns, as well as ice flow …

Chile combs Antarctic for missing plane with 38 aboard
SFGate, 2019-12-11
SANTIAGO, Chile — Searchers using planes, ships and satellites were combing Antarctic seas on Tuesday, hunting for a Chilean Air Force transport plane carrying 38 people that vanished en route to a base on the frozen continent. Seven hours after contact was cut off, the Air Force declared the plane a loss, though there was no sign of what …

Disconnect with Antarctic diplomacy: Need for policy interest from India
The Financial Express on MSN.com, 2019-12-15
On December 2-3, 2019, the first ever high-level Antarctic Parliamentarians Assembly was organised by the all-party parliamentary group (APPG) headed by UK parliamentarian James Gray, at the Westminster, London. Attended by 13 countries and 19 parliamentarians the meeting concluded with a declaration that called for greater action in a number …

The unique structural features of carbonmonoxy hemoglobin from the sub-Antarctic fish Eleginops maclovinus
Nature, 2019-12-12
Here, we report the crystal structure of a carbonmonoxy form of the Hb isolated from the sub-Antarctic notothenioid fish Eleginops maclovinus characterised by either rare or unique features. In particular, the distal site of the α chain results to be very unusual since the distal His is displaced from its canonical position. This displacement …

Chile combs Antarctic for missing plane with 38 aboard
Charlotte Observer, 2019-12-10
Search crews are combing the Antarctic for a Chilean military transport plane carrying 38 people that vanished en route to a base on the frozen continent and will tirelessly press ahead as the hunt gains widening international support, officials said Tuesday. Gen. Eduardo Mosqueira said Uruguay, Argentina, Brazil and the United States had each …

Deep glacial troughs and stabilizing ridges unveiled beneath the margins of the Antarctic ice sheet
Nature, 2019-12-12
The Antarctic ice sheet has been losing mass over past decades through the accelerated flow of its glaciers, conditioned by ocean temperature and bed topography. Glaciers retreating along retrograde slopes (that is, the bed elevation drops in the inland direction) are potentially unstable, while subglacial ridges slow down the glacial retreat.

Chile military plane crashes near Antarctic with 38 on board, hopes of finding survivors
Reuters on MSN.com, 2019-12-10
Chile’s Air Force on Tuesday said one of its cargo planes had crashed with 38 people on board after going missing in an isolated area between South America and the Antarctic, with the chance of finding survivors looking “difficult.

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 …

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 …

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 …

Disconnect with Antarctic diplomacy: Need for policy interest from India
The Financial Express on MSN.com, 2019-12-15
On December 2-3, 2019, the first ever high-level Antarctic Parliamentarians Assembly was organised by the all-party parliamentary group (APPG) headed by UK parliamentarian James Gray, at the Westminster, London. Attended by 13 countries and 19 parliamentarians the meeting concluded with a declaration that called for greater action in a number …

The Antarctic Division is looking for 150 people for next season’s workforce
The Canberra Times, 2019-12-15
The Australian Antarctic Division is looking for more than 150 women and men to fill a range of roles for the 2020-21 season. The predominately trades-based jobs are involved in keeping Australia’s research stations running. Expedition mechanic Amy Chetcuti just returned from Mawson and Davis research stations where she was part of the team …

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 meltwater to lubricate the base of the glacier, accelerating its movement and the rate of ice loss. However, because of the environmental, logistical and …