Articles on Antarctica

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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…
Going, going, gone: Antartica’s Larssen ice shelf. MODIS/NASA

Melting glaciers deform the Earth’s mantle and crust

The significant retreat of elements of the West Antarctic ice sheet such as the Thwaites glacier recently reported in the journal Science suggests a possible sea level rise of 3 to 3.7m. This is a huge…
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…

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