The Antarctic waters are not simply an aquatic desert but deem with life. Almost every season, researchers find new and previously unknown species in the depths of the ocean and their bizarre shapes astonish both scientists and common people alike. In addition, the not widely known sea spider seems to exist in a higher number than previously assumed. It is probable that these eight-legged aquatic animals have once spread from Antarctica to adjacent waters and from there conquered the world’s oceans according to marine biologists. The scientists have published their findings in the magazine “Royal Society Open Science. Until now, it had been hypothesized that several species of sea spider had moved to Antarctic waters instead of developing there.
The amount of garbage, especially plastics, has risen to alarming levels. Also on the high Arctic shores of the Svalbard archipelago, tons of plastic garbage are washed ashore every year. This garbage poses a high risk for the environment. Oceanwide Expeditions, the leading Arctic expedition cruise company, has now completed successfully a unique clean-up cruise on board of M/V Ortelius to battle the garbage threat.
Even before the annual summer minimum, typically seen in mid-to-late September, the Arctic sea ice covers 4,35 million square kilometres. The Northeast and Northwest Passages are mostly ice-free already. Scientists from University of Hamburg and the Alfred-Wegener-Institute (AWI) estimate that the ice extent will not hit a record low in 2015 but confirm the negative trend. During the International Polar Meeting in Munich, Germany, leading sea ice specialists will be available for interviews and background discussions.
Some people presume interesting things and treasure to be buried on islands. For a team of scientists, this holds true on Bjørnøya, a small island halfway between mainland Norway and Svalbard. There, archaeologists have unearthed a grave with the skeleton of a young man at Nordhamna.
After more than 11 years, the first census of the Polar bear population in the Barents Sea region is finally taking place. Researchers from the Norwegian Polar Institute will tranquilize bears and implant transmitters.
Studying an exotic form of sea ice, known as platelet ice, has enabled an international research team led by New Zealand scientists to construct a century-long record of the condition of Antarctica’s Ross Ice Shelf. The first-of-its-kind dataset indicates that over the past century this major ice shelf has remained largely stable in contrast with shelves in other parts of Antarctica.
The Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI) and the TU Dresden’s Institute for Cartography present their joint three-dimensional map of the Antarctic continent and the seafloor of the Southern Ocean at this year’s International Cartographic Conference in Rio de Janeiro.
A study of the causes of the heavy sea ice conditions in the Antarctic when Shackleton’s Endurance Expedition was heading south has been published just as the same phenomena (called ‘El Nino’) is causing record sea ice levels in the area today
An international collaborative project has been established to characterise clouds above the Southern Ocean. The goal is to validate satellite measurements and to improve the representation of Southern Ocean cloud processes in models.
For most people clouds are ephemeral shapes in the sky or harbingers of rain, but for climate modellers they are a conundrum, especially in the Southern Ocean.