What is underneath Antarctica’s fastest melting glacier?

A UK team of researchers has produced high-resolution maps of the bed beneath a major glacier in West Antarctica, which will help them predict future sea-level rise from this region. Radar surveys of the land beneath Pine Island Glacier have revealed a diverse landscape under the ice with some surprises. The results are published in the journal Nature Communications.

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Wind turbine at Australian station collapsed

Generating electricity in Antarctica is a tricky business. Most Antarctic stations use diesel generators and a few wind turbines, which is more sustainable. However, those wind turbines have to withstand harsh conditions and the strain on the material seems very big. At Australian Mawson station, part of a wind turbine collapsed on the evening of November 7. Luckily, no one was injured in the incident.

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Canadian Arctic mosses tell climate tales

The Arctic is one of the fastest warming places on Earth. However, warming cycles had happened in the past before and climate researchers are gathering information on the extent of those past climates. Some mosses in the eastern Canadian Arctic, long entombed in ice, are now emerging into the sunlight due to the warming. And the radiocarbon ages of those plants suggest that summertime temperatures in the region are the warmest they’ve been in tens of thousands of years.

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Habitat influences penguin calls

Birds use vocalizations to attract mates, defend territories, and recognize fellow members of their species. But while we know a lot about how variations in vocalizations play out between populations of songbirds, it's far less clear how this variation affects birds such as penguins in which calls are inherited. A new study examines differences in the calls of Little Penguins from four colonies in Australia and finds that disparities in habitat, rather than geographic isolation or other factors, seem to be the key driver of variation in the sounds these birds use to communicate.

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New maps of Greenland show higher risk for glacier melt

New maps of Greenland's coastal seafloor and bedrock beneath its massive ice sheet show that two to four times as many coastal glaciers are at risk of accelerated melting as had previously been thought. Researchers at the University of California at Irvine (UCI), NASA and 30 other institutions have published the most comprehensive, accurate and high-resolution relief maps ever made of Greenland's bedrock and coastal seafloor. Among the many data sources incorporated into the new maps are data from NASA's Ocean Melting Greenland (OMG) campaign.

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Crashed helicopter off Barentsburg to be recovered

The Norwegian Civil Aviation Authorities will recover the Russian Mi-8 helicopter that had crashed on Thursday October 26 2017 off Barentsburg, as quickly as possible to investigate the reason of the crash according to a news dispatch. All eight occupants, five crew and three researchers were killed in the accident.

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Super-cooled Southern Ocean clouds aimed for investigation

Atmospheric scientists will use ships, aircraft and satellites to study super-cooled Southern Ocean clouds this summer. The project involving Australian and United States researchers will gather data on super-cooled cloud formations, which are clouds that remain as liquid water well below freezing.

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Ancient scars by icebergs tell story of ice retreat

Thousands of marks on the Antarctic seafloor, caused by icebergs which broke free from glaciers more than ten thousand years ago, show how part of the Antarctic Ice Sheet retreated rapidly at the end of the last ice age as it balanced precariously on sloping ground and became unstable. Today, as the global climate continues to warm, rapid and sustained retreat may be close to happening again, and could trigger runaway ice retreat into the interior of the continent, which in turn would cause sea levels to rise even faster than currently projected.

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Canada’s northernmost research station cut short

Canada's northernmost federal weather and research station is scaling back some environmental measurements and possibly suspending some others for six months due to a staff shortage blamed on "unusually high" turnover, CBC News has learned. Scientists say that will leave a permanent gap in records needed to understand global climate change.

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Russia takes the chance for Arctic oil development

Despite international sanctions and record-low oil prices, Russia pursues a rather offensive plan of further developing oil resources in its Arctic region. This is gambling with high stakes. However, Russian authorities as well as Rosneft and Gazprom both are confident that the investements will pay off eventually.

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