How molluscs build their shells in the sub-zero waters of Antarctica

With increasing carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere, levels are also increasing in the oceans, leading to ocean acidification. In recent years environmental scientists have been dedicating much effort to predict the fate of marine calcifiers, organisms which build their shells from calcium, under future ocean acidification scenarios. A team of European researchers used a range of new technologies to look at the molecules and cells involved in shell production of the Antarctic clam (Laternula elliptica).  Their results identified seven proteins from the lustrous mother of pearl shell layer, including two which were totally unique to this species.

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Greenland’s icebergs deliver more meltwater than glaciers

The iconic icebergs in Greenland are not just scenic photo motives. They are a sign of changes which happen along the entire coast, the melting of the Greenland glaciers. These icy leviathans, consisting of fresh water, break off and slowly float into the adjacent waters, slowly delivering their fresh water into the salty oceans. A research team has now concluded that icebergs contribute more meltwater to Greenland’s fjords than previously thought, losing up to half of their volume as they move through the narrow inlets, according to the teams findings.

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How each one of us contributes to Arctic sea ice melt

The rapid retreat of Arctic sea ice is one of the most direct indicators of the ongoing climate change on our planet. Over the past forty years, the ice cover in summer has shrunk by more than half, with climate model simulations predicting that the remaining half might be gone by mid-century unless greenhouse gas emissions are reduced rapidly. However, a number of studies have indicated that climate models underestimate the loss of Arctic sea ice, which is why these models might not be the most suitable tools to quantify the future evolution of the ice cover. A new study explains the underlying issues and allows for the first time to calculate individual contributions to Arctic's shrinking sea ice.

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The quest for the oldest ice on Earth

A team of European scientists heads to East Antarctica to locate the oldest ice on Earth. The team’s goal is to search for a suitable site to drill an ice core to capture 1.5 million years of Earth’s climate history. Such a core will answer important questions about big shifts in the past record of Earth’s climate and ultimately improve our knowledge of future climate.

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North Pole expedition of French Arktika terminated in Svalbard’s Duvefjord

A French North Pole expedition was terminated prematurely by the Governor of Spitzbergen in Duvefjord near Nordaustland. The adventurers Gilles and Alexia Elkaim had planned to freeze their yacht Arktika into the ice and drift to the North Pole following in the footsteps of Fridtjof Nansen.

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Giant snowballs have mysteriously appeared on the coast of Siberia

Giant snowballs have appeared on the Arctic coast of Siberia. Special environmental conditions created this natural phenomenon. Residents of the village Nyda, north of the Arctic Circle, have been enjoying the unusual sight.

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Russia’s northernmost town prepares for nuclear future

Pevek, a small Russian town near the Bering Strait above the Arctic Circle, will get the world’s first floating nuclear power plant. Construction of infrastructure has started in the beginning of October with a ceremony that put the first pile into Pevek’s waterfront.

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World's largest marine protected area declared in Antarctica

The Ross Sea region is one of the most pristine environments in the world. After five years of failed negotiations, conservationists worldwide have now reason to celebrate. During the Antarctica conservation meeting in Hobart in the end of October delegates from 24 countries and the European Union have finally agreed that the Ross Sea in Antarctica, will become the world's largest marine protected area. The new protected area will cover 1.55 million square kilometres.

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Flies are the key pollinators of the High Arctic

During summer the Arctic is buzzing with insects. Here like everywhere else plants rely on them for pollination. A new study found that small flies related to the common house fly are the most important insects in the Arctic. This findings, however, offers cause for concern, as arctic fly abundances are declining as the Arctic continues to warm.

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How predictable is the first ice-free Arctic summer?

On September 10th 2016 Arctic sea-ice reached its minimum extent of 4.14 million square kilometres, making it the second lowest minimum on record. The record low is still retained by 2012, when the ice extent fell to an incredible 3.39 million square kilometres. But predicting exactly when the Arctic will see its first ice-free summer may be more difficult than previously believed, according to the results of new research.

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