The Southern Ocean, as artists have uncovered, is also a treasure trove of cultural narratives.
Polar regions may be becoming more profitable, but these "benefits" come with far more severe costs.
During the Pliocene, up to one third of Antarctica’s ice sheet melted, causing sea-level rise of 20 metres.
New research shows that warming by more than 2°C could be a tipping point for Antarctica's ice sheets, resulting in widespread meltdown and changes to the world's shorelines for centuries to come.
The Antarctic Circumpolar Current keeps Antarctica cold.
The Antarctic Circumpolar Current provides a barrier to heat that keeps warm subtropical waters away from Antarctica. Yet, there are a few places where the heat gets through.
Southern bull kelp can drift huge distances before washing ashore.
A chance discovery of some kelp that floated for 20,000km before washing up on an Antarctic beach has opened up a new chapter in our understanding of the currents that swirl around the Southern Ocean.
Preliminary results of a study have shown microplastics have reached in a newly revealed Antarctic environment.
Without floating sea ice, climate-weakened ice shelves are wide open to attack by waves.
AAP Image/Caroline Berdon
Since 1995, several ice shelves off the Antarctic Peninsula have abruptly disintegrated. A new analysis suggests that these events are triggered when ice shelves lose their buffer of floating ice.
The pygmy right whale,
Caperea marginata, at sea.
Fossils of a whale thought to be found only in southern waters have been discovered at two sites in the northern hemisphere.
A photo from Sea Shepherd allegedly shows a Japanese whaling vessel with a dead minke whale on board.
EPA/GLENN LOCKITCH / SEA SHEPHERD HANDOUT
Japan is once again allegedly killing whales in Antarctica. But after taking Japan to international court in 2014, there's not much Australia can do.
The Tropic of Capricorn sign in Namibia. Expansion of the tropics will have huge implications for people and nature.
The tropics are expanding at an unprecedented rate. This will have massive implications for societies, economies and the natural world.
The idea is to come up with better alternatives to this.
Australian Customs and Border Protection Service
Japan's fleet is on its way to the Southern Ocean for more "scientific" whaling. But a new resolution pointing out the importance of whale poo could help remove Japan's rationale for lethal research.
The Balleny Islands off East Antarctica - one of the many stops along the way.
Why spend three months completing a lap of Antarctica (and probably getting seasick along the way)? It's the only way to get vital clues about the remote Southern Ocean and its influence on the planet.
Britain’s industrial pioneers couldn’t have known how they would affect the climate.
The first signs that humans were warming the climate appeared much earlier in the northern hemisphere - way back in the 1830s. But now the trend is emerging all over the globe.
South Africa’s oceans offer numerous economic opportunities, if ocean acidification is dealt with properly.
South Africa has the opportunity to benefit from its ocean economy. But to do that, the country needs to put better policies in place to counter ocean acidification.
Things got very wet, very quickly, in Brisbane in 2011.
AAP Image/Dave Hunt
Since 1999, Australia has swung between drought and deluge with surprising speed, because El Niño has fallen into sync with similar patterns in the Indian and Southern Oceans.
Rough conditions in the Southern Indian Ocean as the search for MH370 continues.
Australian Transport Safety Bureau/John Draves
There are hopes that another piece of the missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 has been found. But authorities still don't know what happened to the aircraft, and the 239 people on board.
CSIRO has contributed to surprising discoveries in climate science. Pictured here is the research ship RV Investigator.
AAP Image/University of Tasmania
CSIRO's climate science has contributed a number of important, and unexpected, findings.
Had a gutful of plastic rubbish affecting wildlife?
Britta Denise Hardesty
By 2050, 99% of the world's seabird species will be accidentally eating plastic, unless we take action to clean up the oceans. And some of the highest risk to wildlife is in the Southern Ocean off Australia.
The Great Southern Reef is unique, beautiful and contributes significantly to Australia’s culture and economy. However, few of us realise the magnitude and value of this gem right at our doorstep.
T. Wernberg 2002
The Great Southern Reef covers 71,000 square km and contributes more than A$10 billion to Australia's economy each year.
The Southern Ocean is remote, cloudy – and full of plankton.
These tiny organisms play a big role in regulating the Earth's climate.