antarctic tagged posts

Huge volume of water detected under Antarctic ice

Vast quantities of water have been detected in sediments that underlie a part of the West Antarctic ice sheet. The volume is equivalent to a reservoir that is several hundred metres deep. The water was detected below the Whillans Ice Stream, but its presence is likely replicated elsewhere across the White Continent. That being the case, it could be an important influence on how Antarctica reacts to a warmer world, researchers tell the journal Science this week.

Water at the base of glaciers and ice streams generally works to lubricate their movement. 

The transfer of water into or out of this deep reservoir has the potential therefore to either slow down or speed up ice flow.

Models that simulate future climate impacts will now have to account for it.

The detection was made...

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Krill companies stop Antarctic fishing

Greenpeace boat in Antarctica

The overwhelming majority of krill companies are to stop fishing in vast areas of the Antarctic Peninsula. Krill are important because they are at the base of the food chain: whales, penguins, seals and squid all eat the tiny, shrimp-like crustaceans. Other species, such as albatross and killer whales are indirectly dependent.

The decision of the krill fishing companies comes ahead of a meeting of the Antarctic Ocean Commission (CCAMLR).

The summit in October will decide whether to adopt an EU proposal to create the biggest ocean reserve on Earth.

The Antarctic Ocean Sanctuary would protect 1.8 million square kilometres in and around the Weddell Sea.

The decision to stop krill fishing off the peninsula follows pressure by campaign groups, including Greenpeace.

Companies have been harvest...

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Big Antarctic iceberg edges out to sea

A-68 Iceberg

The giant berg A-68 looks finally to be on the move. Recent weeks have seen it shuffle back and forth next to the Antarctic ice shelf from which it broke away. But the latest satellite imagery now indicates the near-6,000 sq km block is swinging out into the Weddell Sea.

A wide stretch of clear water has opened up between the berg’s southern end and the remaining Larsen shelf structure, suggesting A-68 is set to swing around and head north.

This is the direction the Weddell currents should take the iceberg.

Polar experts expect the trillion-tonne block to essentially bump along the shelf edge until it reaches the great eastward movement of ocean water known as the Antarctic Circumpolar Current.

This would then export what is one of the largest bergs ever recorded out into the South Atlan...

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