Articles on Antarctica

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Antarctic tourism numbers are modest, but some nations seem to be eyeing up the continent’s industrial potential. Supplied

Is there about to be a dash for Antarctica’s resources?

Few places have captured the human imagination like Antarctica. It is colder than anywhere on Earth, bounded by rough seas, buffeted by intense winds, home to fauna that are found nowhere else and, as…
Volcanoes can help life survive in the cold. Flickr/august allen

Antarctic volcanoes help preserve life in the freezer

Antarctica was once covered in lush, subtropical forests, inhabited by diverse plants and animals including large dinosaurs. That’s going back many millions of years. These days, Antarctica is 99.7% covered…
UNSW engineer Nic Bingham at a refueling stop half way between South Pole and Ridge A, January 2013. Geoff Sims

Building a telescope in the coldest place on Earth

Russia’s Vostok station in Antarctica must be one of the scariest places on Earth. Temperatures regularly drop below -80C, and there is no way in or out for nine months of the year. The inhabitants become…
Tractors and quad bikes – seen here at Australia’s Mawson Station – are only two of many forms of transport used in Antarctica. Chris Wilson/Australian Antarctic Division

Why the ‘infrastructure PM’ can’t give Antarctica the cold shoulder

Prime Minister Tony Abbott recently declared that he wanted to be known as the “infrastructure prime minister”. But what of Australia’s iciest infrastructure – that located in Antarctica? A 20-year strategic…
New research suggests penguins evolved with the Antarctic. Flickr/Martha de Jong Lantink

Was penguin evolution driven by a cooling Antarctic?

Penguins are a remarkable group of flightless birds. We tend to think of them as Antarctic birds, but they actually inhabit an extremely diverse range of habitats from subzero Antarctic coastline to the…
This winter there was more sea ice than ever in Antarctica. Flickr/august allen

Why is Antarctic sea ice growing?

Recently NASA reported that this year’s maximum wintertime extent of Antarctic sea ice was the largest on record, even greater than the previous year’s record. This is understandably at odds with the public’s…
Even with water temperatures down to -20°C, Deep Lake is home to a surprising amount of life (and not just our research camp). Rick Cavicchioli

Sub-zero heroes: extremophiles call salty Antarctic lakes home

Imagine a lake so salty its water exists in a liquid state at -20 °C – then picture something thriving in that seemingly lethal environment. Such an organism exists; several of them, in fact. In a paper…
Melting ice, growing ice, and shifting acidity: what the future holds for the great white south. AAP Image/Dean Lewins

IPCC: where to for Antarctica and the Southern Ocean?

The general thrust of the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report - released on Friday – can be summarised as: “there is now more evidence that climate change is occurring”. Antarctica and the Southern Ocean are…
Lack of funding is just the tip of the iceberg for Australian Antarctic research. AAP/Australian Antarctic Division

Australian Antarctic science is being frozen out by budget cuts

A hundred years after Australian explorer and geologist Douglas Mawson returned from his epic scientific adventures in Antarctica, Australia’s scientific exploration of the icy southern continent has all…
Antarctic warming began at least two, and perhaps four, millennia earlier than previously thought, the study found. NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

Last Antarctic ice age melt began earlier than first thought

The Antarctic warming that signalled the beginning of the last ice age melt may have actually started between between two…

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