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Bright spot: Antarctica's ozone hole is starting to heal
30 June 2016 - Antarctica's ozone hole finally is starting to heal, a new study finds. In a triumph of international cooperation over a man-made environmental problem, research from the United States and the United Kingdom shows that the September-October ozone hole is getting smaller and forming later in the year. And the study in Thursday's journal Science also shows other indications that the ozone layer is improving after it was being eaten away by chemicals in aerosols and refrigerants. Ozone is a combination of three oxygen atoms; high in the atmosphere, it shields Earth from ultraviolet rays. (more)

Hole in the ozone layer is finally 'healing'
30 June 2016 - The ozone hole over Antarctica is finally 'healing' almost 30 years after the world banned the chemicals responsible for its creation, researchers say. According to the latest measurements, the ozone hole above the Antarctic is now smaller than it was around the year 2000, by about 4 million square kilometres. The ozone layer plays a critical role in protecting life on Earth by absorbing ultra-violet radiation from the sun. (more)

Mineral site key to Antarctica's history receives protected status
4 June 2014 - Antarctica pact partners have set up a new protected geological site on the frozen continent in a bid to preserve rare minerals that could shed light on the region's history and evolution over millions of years. At a meeting in Brazil last month, the signatories to the Antarctic Treaty designated the Larsemann Hills region of the continent as an Antarctic Specially Protected Area. Australia led the protected area proposal, which was jointly sponsored by other nations with research programmes in the area, including China, India, and Russia. (more)

Frozen underground for 1,500 years, a moss comes back to life
17 March 2014 - A team of British researchers drilled core samples from moss beds on Signy Island, off Antarctica, and took slices from different depths back to the lab. Then they warmed up the samples in an incubator and exposed them to light to see if they could get anything to grow. They weren't optimistic. The deepest layers from their Antarctic cores were more than 1,500 years old. And the record for getting frozen plant material to start growing again was no more than 20 years. To the researchers' surprise even the oldest mosses in their core samples began to grow new shoots, they reported in Current Biology. Perhaps even older mosses could be coaxed into growing, they write. The oldest Antarctic moss banks are 6,000 years old. (more)

World's largest particle detector IceCube detects first high-energy neutrinos from the cosmos
21 November 2013 - The IceCube Neutrino Observatory, a particle detector buried in the Antarctic ice, is a demonstration of the power of the human passion for discovery, where scientific ingenuity meets technological innovation. Today, nearly 25 years after the pioneering idea of detecting neutrinos in ice, the IceCube Collaboration announces the observation of 28 very high-energy particle events that constitute the first solid evidence for astrophysical neutrinos from cosmic accelerators. (more)

Antarctic Lake Vostok buried under two miles of ice found to teem with life
8 July 2013 - Analysis of ice cores obtained from the basin of Lake Vostok, the subglacial lake that Russian scientists drilled down to in 2012, have revealed DNA from an estimated 3,507 organisms. The diversity of life from the lake has surprised scientists as many had thought the lake would be sterile due to the extreme conditions. Isolated from the rest of the world for 15 million years, some of the DNA sequences were found to be unique to science and may belong to new species that have evolved in the depths. (more)

Antarctic expedition to walk in explorer's footsteps
8 June 2013 - Over 40 researchers and members of the public will retrace the steps of Antarctic adventurer Sir Douglas Mawson as part of the New Australasian Antarctic Expedition. The group will collect data to compare with Mawson's research conducted over 100 years ago. (more)

Proposed Antarctic marine reserve gets big boost
29 October 2012 - An international push to create a giant marine sanctuary in Antarctica has gotten a big boost after the United States and New Zealand resolved their dispute over fishing. The two countries on Monday submitted a joint proposal for a Ross Sea reserve to the international organization that regulates fishing in Antarctica. They'd earlier submitted competing proposals which stood little chance of success. (more)

Australia's solar satellite Internet
20 September 2012 - Thanks to the Australian Government's Indigenous Communication's Programme (ICP) Australians in the most remote indigenous regions are now able to connect to the outside world via solar powered satellite public phones. The Australian programme is unique and a testament to good government infrastructure investment. As most of the world's governments are tightening their belts and pulling back from cutting-edge infrastructure projects, Australia is doing exactly the opposite. The impact of these new communications improves the lives and prosperity of the people in isolated communities. (more)

Satellite mapping pinpoints penguin population
13 April 2012 - Counting emperor penguins in their icy Antarctic habitat was not easy until researchers used new technology to map the birds from space, and they received a pleasant penguin surprise for their efforts. The good news was that the team found the Antarctic emperor penguin population numbered about 595,000, nearly double previous estimates. (more)


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The big melt: Antarctica's retreating ice may re-shape Earth
27 February 2015 - From the ground in this extreme northern part of Antarctica, spectacularly white and blinding ice seems to extend forever. What can't be seen is the battle raging thousands of feet (hundreds of meters) below to re-shape Earth. Water is eating away at the Antarctic ice, melting it where it hits the oceans. As the ice sheets slowly thaw, water pours into the sea -- 130 billion tons of ice (118 billion metric tons) per year for the past decade, according to NASA satellite calculations. That's the weight of more than 356,000 Empire State Buildings, enough ice melt to fill more than 1.3 million Olympic swimming pools. And the melting is accelerating. (more)

New York City-sized ice collapses off Antarctica
28 April 2009 - An area of an Antarctic ice shelf almost the size of New York City has broken into icebergs this month after the collapse of an ice bridge widely blamed on global warming, a scientist said Tuesday. Ice measuring 370 sq kms cracked up from the Shelf, the latest of about 10 shelves on the Antarctic Peninsula to retreat. The new icebergs added to 330 sq kms of ice that broke up earlier this month with the shattering of an ice bridge apparently pinning the Wilkins in place between Charcot island and the Antarctic Peninsula. The trend is widely blamed on climate change caused by heat-trapping gases from burning fossil fuels. Scientists fear that the loss of ice shelves will allow ice sheets on land to move faster, adding extra water to the seas. (more)

Wordie Ice Shelf has disappeared: scientists
4 April 2009 - One Antarctic ice shelf has quickly vanished, another is disappearing, and glaciers are melting faster than anyone thought due to climate change, US and British government researchers reported on Friday. They said the Wordie Ice Shelf, which had been disintegrating since the 1960s, is gone and the northern part of the Larsen Ice Shelf no longer exists. More than 3,200 square miles (8,300 square km) have broken off from the Larsen shelf since 1986. Climate change is to blame, according to the report from the US Geological Survey and the British Antarctic Survey. (more)

Study: Antarctic glaciers slipping swiftly seaward
26 February 2009 - Antarctic glaciers are melting faster across a much wider area than previously thought, scientists said Wednesday - a development that could lead to an unprecedented rise in sea levels. The biggest west Antarctic glacier, the Pine Island Glacier, is moving 40 per cent faster than it was in the 1970s, discharging water and ice more rapidly into the ocean. The Smith Glacier, also in west Antarctica, is moving 83 per cent faster than it did in 1992.A 2007 IPCC report predicted a sea level rise of 7 to 23 inches (18 to 58 centimeters) by the end of the century, which could flood low-lying areas and force millions to flee. The group said an additional 3.9 to 7.8 inches (10 to 20 centimeters) rise was possible if the recent, surprising melting of polar ice sheets continues. 'That has a very large impact,' a researcher said, adding that extremely large storms which might previously have occurred once in a year would start to occur on a weekly basis. (more)

Antarctica: Pesticide DDT shows up in penguins
10 May 2008 - The pesticide DDT, banned decades ago in much of the world, still shows up in penguins in Antarctica, probably due to the chemical's accumulation in melting glaciers, a sea bird expert said. Adelie penguins, known for their waddling gait and a habit of nesting on stones, have long shown evidence of DDT in their fatty tissues. Researchers were surprised to see that the level of the pesticide in Adelies' fat had not declined, even after DDT was banned for exterior use in the 1970's in the United States and elsewhere. (more)

Arctic leaders appeal over global warming
24 May 2005 - Indigenous leaders from Arctic regions around the world called on the European Union on Tuesday to do more to fight global warming. One leader said urgent action was needed from the 25-nation EU, the United States, and Russia. Three leaders representing the eight-nation Arctic Council met with officials warning their way of life was at risk. (more)

Study shows glaciers on Antarctic peninsula are shrinking
22 April 2005 - The first comprehensive survey of glaciers on the Antarctic peninsula has shown that the rivers of ice are shrinking, mostly because of warming of the local climate, said a study published this week in the journal Science. (more)

Retreat of Antarctic ice shelves, a man-made problem
23 February 2005 - The current retreat of ice shelves in the Antarctic due to global warming is nothing new but this time the problem is man-made and therefore potentially more serious, according to research released Wednesday. (more)

Arctic zone to melt by 2060
30 January 2005 - According to a study by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) dangerous levels of climate change could come about in just over 20 years. The new study said that temperatures at the Arctic could rise by three times the projected figure for the rest of the world, leading to a loss of summer sea ice and tundra vegetation. (more)

Scientists find Arctic warming quickly
8 November 2004 - Scientists say changes in the earth's climate from human influences are occurring particularly intensely in the Arctic region, evidenced by widespread melting of glaciers, thinning sea ice, and rising permafrost temperatures. (more)

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