Antarctica conjures images of an unbroken white wilderness but blooms of algae are giving parts of the frozen continent an increasingly green tinge. Warming temperatures due to climate change are helping the formation and spread of “green snow” and it is becoming so prolific in places that it is even visible from space, according to new research.
As the planet battles the seemingly inexorable spread of the coronavirus, Antarctica remains the only Covid-19-free continent - thanks in the main to strict security and not a little luck. The natural isolation of the frozen and desolate expanse has been taken to new extremes since the WHO declared a pandemic on March 11.
Aeroplane spotters in the Falklands will once again have the opportunity to temporarily witness the once familiar sight of the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) Twin Otter sitting on the Stanley Airport tarmac.
Food wrapping, fishing gear and plastic waste continue to reach the Antarctic. Two new studies into how plastic debris is reaching sub-Antarctic islands are published in the journal Environment International.
Two new research projects – in partnership with British Antarctic Survey engineers – will drill deeper than ever before in Antarctica and in space. The first project, called INCISED, is led by the University of Durham, funded by the European Research Council, and has set its sights on the Antarctic. It will drill bedrock from beneath the polar ice sheets, with the goal being to retrieve scientific samples.
The largest hole ever observed in the ozone layer over the Arctic has closed, says Copernicus' Atmospheric Monitoring Service. Scientists spotted signs in late March of a rare hole forming and it was thought to be the result of low temperatures at the north pole.
By surfbirds (*) – Our oceans are in trouble. Globally, poor fishing practices are directly damaging to marine wildlife, and overfishing can deplete food resources for animals such as seabirds and seals. However, research by BirdLife's Marine Program, in association with scientists from the British Antarctic Survey, (BAS) and the RSPB (BirdLife in the UK), shows that under current climate conditions, sustainable fisheries can exist alongside conservation measures for seabirds and seals in a well-managed Marine Protected Area.
A new £40 million wharf to moor the RRS Sir David Attenborough has been used by polar ships for the first time at British Antarctic Survey’s Rothera Research Station in Antarctica to transport staff and materials back to the UK.
South Georgia remains free from COVID-19. The government of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, GSGSSI, have implemented strict procedures to minimize the risk of exposure to the staff at South Georgia, and work continues in as normal a fashion as possible on the island.
Mussels are the first-ever invasive species to take up residence in Antarctica, as found by a new study published last month in Scientific Report. According to the study, scientists found a colony of mussels, most likely transported accidentally to the frozen continent from Patagonia via ship, some 75 miles north of the Antarctic Peninsula.