Age doesn’t matter… if you’re a wandering albatross

A new study of the wandering albatrosses breeding on the sub-antarctic island of Bird Island (off South Georgia) reveals that age doesn't matter when foraging. The research, published in the journal PLOS ONE last month, shows that even when the birds reach old age, any reduction in muscle function and visual acuity didn't appear to affect their foraging behaviour.

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A new ice age between Greenland and the USA

One of the last active remains of the Cold War era is Thule Air Base, owned by the US Air Force. It is clear that the use of a foreign territory as a military base has aspects for the host country in terms of both security policy as well as in economy. But now, the newly elected premier of Greenland, Kim Kielsen, has used his first official visit in Copenhagen to gain support for a special concern: The effort to get Washington to pay for the use of Thule Air Base

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Antarctic marine microbes airdropped to study ocean acidification

A special kind of air-drop was delivered to Australia’s Antarctic Davis station last month. Antarctic helicopter pilot Bryan Patterson used his aerial fire-fighting skills in the name of science, when he sling loaded 7000 litres of sea water into a holding tank for marine microbe experiments at Davis station. Mr Patterson used a Bambi Bucket, normally used to fight fires during the Australian bushfire season, to fill the holding tank, situated above the experimental facility. The water was then gravity fed to the laboratory – located in a shipping container on the Davis shoreline.

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Household pollutants detected around Antarctic stations

Australian Antarctic stations are rethinking their operational practices after the discovery that common household pollutants are dispersing from one of their bases, Casey station, into the local Antarctic environment. The research published in Environmental Science and Technology and led by Dr Susan Bengtson Nash from Griffith University’s Southern Ocean Persistent Pollutants Program, records the first evidence of the dispersal of these pollutants from local sources – such as furnishings and electronic equipment – in the Australian Antarctic Territory.

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Antarctic ice cores tell 1000-year Australian drought story

The Antarctic ice sheet is the largest accumulation of fresh water in the world. Due to its age it hold substantial and vital information about Earths' climate history, entrapped in little air bubbles in the ice. In a new project, scientists have used a 1000 year Antarctic ice core record to shed light on eastern Australia's long-term drought patterns, with important benefits for water infrastructure planning.

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Winters in Siberian permafrost regions have warmed since millennia

For the first time, researchers at the Alfred Wegener Institute have successfully employed a geochemical method used in glacier research to decode climate data from millennia-old permafrost ground ice and reconstruct the development of winter temperatures in Russia’s Lena River Delta. Their conclusions: Over the past 7,000 years, winter temperatures in the Siberian permafrost regions have gradually risen. The researchers claim that this is due to the changing position of the Earth relative to the sun and is amplified by the rising greenhouse-gas emissions since the dawn of industrialisation.

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Ten Years of the “Library in the Ice”

Germany’s southernmost library can be found at 70°40´S, 08°16´W and has endured in one of our planet’s most inhospitable regions for ten years now. In the 2004/2005 summer in the southern hemisphere, the Cologne-based artist Lutz Fritsch erected the “Library in the Ice” on the Antarctic Ekström Ice Shelf – to create a space for interaction between science and culture in the far reaches of the “white continent”. Ever since, the library container and its collection of books have been fixtures at the Neumayer Station, a research station operated by the Alfred Wegener Institute, However, the artist and the residents of the Neumayer III Station are the only ones who know which books the library holds – and that’s how it’s meant to stay.

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Shackleton and the importance of poetry

Sir Ernest Shackleton is considered one of the great polar explorers. His expeditions, especially the Nimrod and the Endurance expeditions, have become legendary and an example of hardship and battling against all odds as well as supreme leadership. However, Shackleton also had an artistic side and deemed poetry his other great love. The British polar expert Jim Mayer has ventured deep into the life of Shackleton to illuminate the importance of poetry in Shackleton’s life and his expeditions.

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Arctic iron ore for European steel production

The Mary River iron orebody of „Baffinland Iron Mines Corporation“ on Baffin Island in Nunavut is considered as one of the largest iron containing orebodies with more than 65 % content. This is good news for the economy and thereby growing wealth of the Canadian territory of Nunavut.

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Taking google street view to South Georgia, a remote Antarctic island

South Georgia Island sits at the fringes of Antarctica with wild ice-covered peaks, soaring albatrosses, constant wind, massive glaciers calving, and wave-pounded beaches filled with wildlife so dense that it is hard to walk. In summer thousands of fur seals, elephant seals and penguins congregate here to fight, mate and rear their young. But recently a rather extraordinary sight could be seen at South Georgia, a man with an alien-like appendage strapped onto his back. It was explained as the arrival of Google Streetview to South Georgia.

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