Articles on Polar regions

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Expanding protected areas to safeguard the unique biodiversity, such as these emperor penguins, is just part of the Australian research role in Antarctica. Australian Antarctic Division

Private funding could help Australia’s role in the Antarctic

The Australian government’s blueprint for the Antarctic is due out soon. Given the recent cuts in public funding for science, what hope is there for any extra monies for the polar region. And what should…
Icebergs calve from the Larsen Ice Shelf in Antarctica. Ted Scambos, NSIDC

The Arctic melts, but oceans and ozone hole may cool Antarctica

Over recent decades, scientists have watched the Arctic and Antarctic polar regions respond in starkly different and perhaps surprising ways to the effects of increasing human influence on the Earth’s…
On thin ice? Alan D. Wilson/naturespicsonline.com

All eyes turn to the prize as the Arctic opens for business

Foundation essay: This article on the future of the Arctic by Tavis Potts, Senior Lecturer in Oceans Governance at the Scottish Association for Marine Science, is part of a series marking the launch of…
Failing to reach a decision on protecting Antarctic waters doesn’t mean the process is over. Dean Lewins/AAP

Don’t write off Antarctic marine protected areas

The annual meeting of the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) wound up in Hobart on Thursday last week without declaring a system of marine protected areas (MPAs…
By studying ice cores, researchers can measure the methane emissions from thousands of years earlier. Arabani/Flickr

Humans did affect the atmosphere - even before industrialisation

The past is the key to the future. When snow falls on polar ice sheets, in Greenland and Antarctica for example, air is trapped between the snowflakes. Year after year, the snow compacts under its own…
Sea levels are rising globally at record-breaking rates and Antarctica is playing an increasing role. Matt King

Weigh-in reveals Antarctica’s losing 190 million tonnes a day

A small slice of Antarctica turns up along your coastline each year. We’re all glad it’s just a small slice, given Antarctica could deliver a total sea-level rise of 59 metres. That’s not going to happen…
Competing proposals for the Ross Sea could give CCAMLR an excuse to shelve protected areas. Jacques Descloitres/NASA

Conserving Antarctica: which protected area will it be?

This week delegates from around the globe are gathered in Hobart for the annual meeting of the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR, pronounced “camel-ar” to those…
Methane locked under the Arctic ice could take climate change to a whole new level. Antonio Delgado Huertas

Methane hydrates: a volatile time bomb in the Arctic

The risk with climate change is not with the direct effect of humans on the greenhouse capacity of Earth’s atmosphere. The major risk is that the relatively modest human perturbation will unleash much…
Australia’s newly declared continental shelf may be as big as its land mass, but its not a stealth attack on Antarctica. AAP

Explainer: Australia’s extended continental shelf and Antarctica

Despite recent commentary in the media, Australia’s proclamation of its extended continental shelf does not represent new “claims” in Antarctica and does not contravene the Antarctic Treaty. With Australia…
We need to know more about how ice sheets interact with the warming oceans and warming atmosphere. Greenpeace/ADavies

Improving sea-level projections

Satellite and in situ observations show sea level is continuing to rise. In the last Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report, earth system model projections indicated global sea-level rise by…
Melting Arctic Sea ice should be the warning we need about expanding coal exports. Michael Sonnabend

On Arctic Sea ice melt and coal mine canaries

Despite peak global temperatures in 2005 and 2010 (unprecedented in the instrumental record), a recent sharp plunge in volume of the Arctic Sea ice and a spate of extreme weather events, coal mining, coal…

Ancient DNA shows penguin recovery

Ancient penguin DNA shows that Macquarie Island penguins have recovered genetic diversity in the past 80 years. Macquarie…

Satellites map shrinking ice sheets

Ice caps and glaciers in Greenland and Antarctica shed 150 billion tons of ice annually from 2003 to 2010 according to the…
It’s time to pay attention to warnings from the Arctic. NOAA Photo Library

Teetering on a tipping point: dangerous climate change in the Arctic

We are seeing the first signs of dangerous climate change in the Arctic. This is our warning that humanity is facing a dire future. The Arctic region is fast approaching a series of “tipping points” that…

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