Researchers and citizen scientists complete first-ever Weddell seal count

A research team led by the University of Minnesota Twin Cities has completed a first-ever global population estimate of Weddell seals in Antarctica, showing that there are significantly fewer seals than previously thought. Documenting the seals’ population trends over time will help scientists better understand the effects of climate change and commercial fishing.

Pandemic-era paleontology: A wayward skull, at-home fossil analyses and a first for Antarctic amphibians

Researchers at the University of Washington have discovered the first fossil evidence of an ancient amphibian, Micropholis stowi, from Antarctica. Micropholis lived in the Early Triassic, shortly after Earth’s largest mass extinction. It was previously known only from fossils in South Africa.

Catastrophic Sea-Level Rise from Antarctic Melting is Possible with Severe Global Warming

The Antarctic ice sheet is much less likely to become unstable and cause dramatic sea-level rise in upcoming centuries if the world follows policies that keep global warming below a key 2015 Paris climate agreement target, according to a Rutgers coauthored study. But if global warming exceeds the target – 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) – the risk of ice shelves around the ice sheet’s perimeter melting would increase significantly, and their collapse would trigger rapid Antarctic melting. That would result in at least 0.07 inches of global average sea-level rise a year in 2060 and beyond, according to the study in the journal Nature.

Atmospheric Rivers Help Create Massive Holes in Antarctic Sea Ice

Warm, moist rivers of air in Antarctica play a key role in creating massive holes in sea ice in the Weddell Sea and may influence ocean conditions around the vast continent as well as climate change, according to Rutgers co-authored research. Scientists studied the role of long, intense plumes of warm, moist air – known as atmospheric rivers – in creating enormous openings in sea ice. They focused on the Weddell Sea region of the Southern Ocean near Antarctica, where these sea ice holes (called polynyas) infrequently develop during the winter.

South Pole Warmed More Than Three Times Global Rate in 30 Years

New Brunswick, N.J. (June 29, 2020) – The South Pole warmed more than three times the global rate from 1989 to 2018 – a record period of warming, according to a Rutgers coauthored study in the journal Nature Climate Change.…

East Antarctica’s Denman Glacier has retreated almost 3 miles over last 22 years

Irvine, Calif., March 23, 2020 – East Antarctica’s Denman Glacier has retreated 5 kilometers, nearly 3 miles, in the past 22 years, and researchers at the University of California, Irvine and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory are concerned that the shape of the ground surface beneath the ice sheet could make it even more susceptible to climate-driven collapse.

Greenland shed ice at unprecedented rate in 2019; Antarctica continues to lose mass

Irvine, Calif., March 18, 2020 – During the exceptionally warm Arctic summer of 2019, Greenland lost 600 billion tons of ice, enough to raise global sea levels by 2.2 millimeters in two months. On the opposite pole, Antarctica continued to lose mass in the Amundsen Sea Embayment and Antarctic Peninsula but saw some relief in the form of increased snowfall in Queen Maud Land, in the eastern part of the continent.

Almost Alien: Antarctic Subglacial Lakes are Cold, Dark and Full of Secrets

More than half of the planet’s fresh water is in Antarctica. While most of it is frozen in the ice sheets, underneath the ice pools and streams of water flow into one another and into the Southern Ocean surrounding the continent. Understanding the movement of this water, and what is dissolved in it as solutes, reveals how carbon and nutrients from the land may support life in the coastal ocean.

Ultra-high energy events key to study of ghost particles

Physicists at Washington University in St. Louis have proposed a way to use data from ultra-high energy neutrinos to study interactions beyond the standard model of particle physics. The ‘Zee burst’ model leverages new data from large neutrino telescopes such as the IceCube Neutrino Observatory in Antarctica and its future extensions.

SuperTIGER on its second prowl — 130,000 feet above Antarctica

A balloon-borne scientific instrument designed to study the origin of cosmic rays is taking its second turn high above the continent of Antarctica three and a half weeks after its launch. SuperTIGER (Super Trans-Iron Galactic Element Recorder) is designed to measure the rare, heavy elements in cosmic rays that hold clues about their origins outside of the solar system.

Tip of the ICEBERG: Planetary scientists developing large-scale ‘imagery-computing superhighway’

Northern Arizona University assistant professor Mark Salvatore and doctoral student Helen Eifert are working on an NSF-funded project to analyze data across the frozen landscape of Antarctica, which will eventually help scientists produce detailed geologic maps of the Lower Colorado River Corridor.

UCI-led team releases high-precision map of Antarctic ice sheet bed topography

Irvine, Calif., Dec. 12, 2019 – A University of California, Irvine-led team of glaciologists has unveiled the most accurate portrait yet of the contours of the land beneath Antarctica’s ice sheet – and, by doing so, has helped identify which regions of the continent are going to be more, or less, vulnerable to future climate warming.

Heather J. Lynch, PhD

Blavatnik Awards for Young Scientists Announces 2019 National Laureates

An ecologist from Stony Brook University, a theoretical physicist from University of Colorado Boulder and a chemical biologist from Harvard University Three female scientists have been named Laureates of the Blavatnik National Awards for Young Scientists, each receiving $250,000, the…