Antarctica

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Breaking the ice: while scientists increasingly understand why Antarctic sea ice is growing, it remains tricky to forecast. Australian Antarctic Division

Expanding sea ice is causing headaches for Antarctic stations

Antarctica's sea ice is changing in ways that scientists didn't predict, and is now causing headaches for Antarctic stations.
A US Coast Guard icebreaker cuts a swathe through the icy the Southern Ocean earlier this year, on its way to rendezvous with a stricken fishing vessel. Allyson Conroy/US Coast Guard/Wikimedia Commons

35 years on, is the deal to protect Antarctica’s oceans working?

On the eve of a summit in Chile to discuss the protection of marine life in Antarctic waters, much still needs to be done to guard against overfishing, climate change and other threats.
The Totten Glacier, the largest in East Antarctica, has deep channels running beneath it that may allow relatively warm water into its belly. Tas van Ommen

Melting moments: a look under East Antarctica’s biggest glacier

Researchers in East Antarctica have surveyed an area the size of New South Wales to study the behaviour of the region's biggest glacier - and the secrets below the ice that could speed up its melting.
Antarctica’s Brunt Ice Shelf photographed in October 2011 from NASA’s DC-8 research aircraft during an Operation IceBridge flight. Michael Studinger/NASA

Shrinking of Antarctic ice shelves is accelerating

Researchers find that ice around Antarctica shrank quickly last decade, raising concerns over this buttress against melting land-based ice and future sea-level rise.
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…

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