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These clouds – formed high in the Antarctic atmosphere during spring – provide a place where ozone-destroying chemicals can form. sandwich/Flickr

Ozone hole closing for the year, but full recovery is decades away

Imagine an environmental crisis caused by a colourless, odourless gas, in minute concentrations, building up in the atmosphere. There is no expert consensus, but in the face of considerable uncertainty…
Catch from Japan’s previous whaling program. The new program will kill fewer whales. EPA/TIM WATTERS / SEA SHEPHERD

Japan’s new whaling program is a small win for whales, but…

This week, Japan announced a research plan for its New Scientific Whale Research Program in the Antarctic Ocean, to replace previous programs. In March this year, Japan’s previous whaling program, JARPA…
Antarctica has actually been protected from sea ice melt by the ozone hole. Vassil Tzvetanov

The ozone hole leaves a lasting impression on southern climate

Many people think of sunburn and skin cancer when they hear about the ozone hole. But more ultraviolet (UV) radiation isn’t the only problem. The ozone hole has also led to dramatic changes in Southern…
In 2012 and 2013 parts of New Zealand suffered the worst drought in 70 years. Dave Young/Flickr

New Zealand is drying out, and here’s why

Over 2012 and 2013, parts of New Zealand experienced their worst drought in nearly 70 years. Drought is the costliest climate extreme in New Zealand; the 2012-2013 event depressed the country’s GDP by…
It may already be too late to stop Antarctic ice sliding into the ocean. EPA

Why ice sheets will keep melting for centuries to come

Ice sheets respond slowly to changes in climate, because they are so massive that they themselves dominate the climate conditions over and around them. But once they start flowing faster towards the shore…
Japan’s whaling program was defeated in The Hague, but that might not stop more whales being taken in the future. EPA/Tim Watters/Sea Shepherd Australia/AAP

Japan could resume whaling – this time with The Hague’s blessing

Japan is reportedly set to release plans to resume killing whales in the Southern Ocean in the 2015-16 season. It seems like a defiant move, coming just six months after the International Court of Justice…
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…
Ice cores reveal that Antarctica was polluted long before Scott and Amundsen set foot there. Andrew Mandemaker/Wikimedia Commons

Our pollution reached Antarctica long before the great explorers

Lead pollution from Australia reached Antarctica in 1889 – long before the frozen continent’s golden age of exploration – and has remained there ever since, new research shows. In our study, published…
Melt pond on the Greenland ice sheet. NASA / Michael Studinger

What climate tipping points should we be looking out for?

The concept of a “tipping point” – a threshold beyond which a system shifts to a new state – is becoming a familiar one in discussions of the climate. Examples of tipping points are everywhere: a glass…
Antarctica is still a frontier - but it is rapidly changing. Eugene Kaspersky/Flickr

In Conversation: what does the future hold for Antarctica?

Antarctica is a continent less suited to human habitation than any other. Temperatures rise above freezing only briefly on the northern Antarctic peninsula. At the coast mean temperatures range between…
Tony Press, John Keane, and Chris Turney. Giovanni Navarria

In Conversation on Antarctic sovereignty: full discussion

Antarctica is a continent less suited to human habitation than any other. Temperatures rise above freezing only briefly on the northern Antarctic peninsula. At the coast mean temperatures range between…
Mount Erebus is Antarctica’s obvious volcano, but there is more below the ice. Josh Landis/USAP

Volcanic rift valley under Antarctica hotter than expected

The Thwaites glacier is one of the most rapidly changing in Antarctica. It’s been the focus of considerable attention in recent weeks, after scientists suggested that this sector of the huge West Antarctic…
The Ross Sea: one of the places where sea ice extent is increasing. Brocken Inaglory/Wikimedia Commons

What is the paradox of increasing Antarctic sea ice really telling us?

This year could well see a new record set for the extent of Antarctic sea ice – hot on the heels of last year’s record, which in turn is part of a puzzling 33-year trend in increasing sea ice around Antarctica…
The Thwaites Glacier is among several in West Antarctica that is already retreating. NASA

We can now only watch as West Antarctica’s ice sheets collapse

Antarctic climate science is having a moment – a worrying moment. Three new studies have all concluded that the West Antarctic Ice Sheet has begun to collapse. This collapse will impact humanity for generations…

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