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Year-round monitoring of Erebus volcano (Ross Island) has proved challenging due to the difficulties of maintaining continuous power for scientific instruments, especially through the Antarctic winter. We sought a potential solution involving the harvesting of thermal energy dissipated close to the summit crater of the volcano in a zone of diffuse hot gas emissions. We designed, constructed and tested a power generator based on the Seebeck effect, converting thermal energy to electrical power, which could, in principle, be used to run monitoring devices year round. We report here on the design of the generator and the results of an 11 day trial deployment on Erebus volcano in December 2014. The generator produced a mean output power of 270 mW, although we identified some technical issues that had impaired its efficiency. Nevertheless, this is already sufficient power for some monitoring equipment and, with design improvements, such a generator could provide a viable solution to powering a larger suite of instrumentation.
A Fast Ice Prediction System (FIPS) was constructed and is the first regional land-fast sea-ice forecasting system for the Antarctic. FIPS had two components: (1) near-real-time information on the ice-covered area from MODIS and SAR imagery that revealed, tidal cracks, ridged and rafted ice regions; (2) a high-resolution 1-D thermodynamic snow and ice model (HIGHTSI) that was extended to perform a 2-D simulation on snow and ice evolution using atmospheric forcing from ECMWF: either using ERA-Interim reanalysis (in hindcast mode) or HERS operational 10-day predictions (in forecast mode). A hindcast experiment for the 2015 season was in good agreement with field observations, with a mean bias of 0.14 ± 0.07 m and a correlation coefficient of 0.98 for modeled ice thickness. The errors are largely caused by a cold bias in the atmospheric forcing. The thick snow cover during the 2015 season led to modeled formation of extensive snow ice and superimposed ice. The first FIPS operational service was performed during the 2017/18 season. The system predicted a realistic ice thickness and onset of snow surface melt as well as the area of internal ice melt. The model results on the snow and ice properties were considered by the captain of R/V Xuelong when optimizing a low-risk route for on-ice transportation through fast ice to the coastal Zhongshan Station.
The term “Antarctic ambassadorship” is increasingly used to represent an individual’s connection to Antarctica and their subsequent advocacy. However, there is little clarity regarding the concept. To address this, we combined a literature review with an expert elicitation workshop. We argue that (i) the concept of Antarctic ambassador has been understood in myriad ways; (ii) Antarctic ambassadors have a connection to, knowledge of and passion for Antarctica; (iii) they also have a commitment to defending and advancing Antarctic values and (iv) Antarctic ambassadorship is about more than advocacy. We propose the first comprehensive definition of Antarctic ambassadorship. We hope this will provide a cornerstone upon which future research, and a more informed governance of Antarctic tourism, can be built.
Bioremediation has been proposed as a means of dealing with oil spills on the continent. However, the introduction of non-native organisms, including microbes, even for this purpose would appear to breach the terms of the Environmental Protocol to the Antarctic Treaty. This study therefore aimed to optimize the growth conditions and diesel degradation activity of the Antarctic native bacteria Arthrobacter spp. strains AQ5-05 and AQ5-06 through the application of a one-factor-at-a-time (OFAT) approach. Both strains were psychrotolerant, with the optimum temperature supporting diesel degradation being 10–15°C. Both strains were also screened for biosurfactant production and biofilm formation. Their diesel degradation potential was assessed using Bushnell–Haas medium supplemented with 0.5% (v/v) diesel as the sole carbon source and determined using both gravimetric and gas chromatography and mass spectrophotometry analysis. Strain AQ5-06 achieved 37.5% diesel degradation, while strain AQ5-05 achieved 34.5% diesel degradation. Both strains produced biosurfactants and showed high biofilm adherence. Strains AQ5-05 and AQ5-06 showed high cellular hydrophobicity rates of 73.0% and 81.5%, respectively, in hexadecane, with somewhat lower values of 60.5% and 70.5%, respectively, in tetrahexadecane. Optimized conditions identified via OFAT increased diesel degradation to 41.0% and 47.5% for strains AQ5-05 and AQ5-06, respectively. Both strains also demonstrated the ability to degrade diesel in the presence of heavy metal co-pollutants. This study therefore confirms the potential use of these cold-tolerant bacterial strains in the biodegradation of diesel-polluted Antarctic soils at low environmental temperatures.
This chapter analyzes the shrinking domain of the high seas – taking place as a result of encroachment of continental shelf claims under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea – and what that portends for the governance both of regional hot spots, such as the South China Sea and the Arctic, and of the Internet, due in part to the expanding web of submarine cables. The chapter begins by exploring how oceanic governance has been shaped by such forces as advancing technology, multipolar politics, and resource scarcity. It next investigates the evolution of the law of the sea from its Roman Law origins to the 1994 New York Amendments of the Third United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, with special attention paid to the growth of the territorial seas. It then analyzes the recent spate of continental shelf claims brought to the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf and their impact on the governance regimes applicable to offshore resources, using the Arctic, Antarctic, and South China Seas as illustrative examples. Finally, the chapter applies lessons, such as governance best practices in the form of minilateral norm building from the Arctic Council, to cyberspace.
Shallow Antarctic surface lakes belong to the most extreme aquatic environments on the Earth. In Vestfjella, proglacial surface lakes and ponds are characterized by a 2–5 month long period with liquid water and depths < 2 m. We give a detailed description of nine seasonal lakes and ponds situating at three nunataqs (Basen, Plogen and Fossilryggen) in western Dronning Maud Land. Their physical and geochemical properties are provided based on observations in four summers. Three main ‘lake categories‘ were found: 1) supraglacial lakes, 2) epiglacial ponds and 3) nunataq ponds. Category 3 lakes can be divided into two subgroups with regards to whether the meltwater source is glacial or just seasonal snow patches. Supraglacial lakes are ultra-oligotrophic (electrical conductivity < 10 μS cm−1, pH < 7), while in epiglacial ponds the concentrations of dissolved and suspended matter and trophic status vary over a wide range (electrical conductivity 20–110 μS cm−1, pH 6–9). In nunataq ponds, the maxima were an electrical conductivity of 1042 μS cm−1 and a pH of 10.1, and water temperature may have wide diurnal and day-to-day fluctuations (maximum 9.3°C) because snowfall, snow drift and sublimation influence the net solar irradiance.
Africa has been marginalised in the history of Antarctica, a politics of exclusion (with the exception of Apartheid South Africa) reflected unsurprisingly by a dearth of imaginative, cultural and literary engagement. But, in addition to paleontological and geophysical links, Antarctica has increasing interrelationship with Africa’s climactic future. Africa is widely predicted to be the continent worst affected by climate change, and Antarctica and its surrounding Southern Ocean are uniquely implicated as crucial mediators for changing global climate and currents, rainfall patterns, and sea level rise. This paper proposes that there are in fact several ways of imagining the far South from Africa in literary and cultural terms. One is to read against the grain for southern-directed perspectives in existing African literature and the arts, from southern coastlines looking south; another is to reexamine both familiar and new, speculative narratives of African weather – drought, flood and change – for their Antarctic entanglements. In the context of ongoing work on postcolonial Antarctica and calls to decolonise Antarctic studies – such readings can begin to bridge the Antarctica–Africa divide.
This study presents the first subglacial topography and ice thickness models of the largest ice caps of the Argentine Islands, Wilhelm Archipelago, West Antarctica. During this study, ground-penetrating radar was used to map the thickness and inner structure of the ice caps. Digital surface models of all studied islands were created from aerial images obtained with a small-sized unmanned aerial vehicle and used for the construction of subglacial topography models. Ice caps of the Argentine Islands cover ~50% of the land surface of the islands on average. The maximum thickness of only two islands (Galindez and Skua) exceeds 30 m, while the average thickness of all islands is only ~5 m. The maximum ice thickness reaches 35.3 m on Galindez Island. The ice thickness and glacier distribution are mainly governed by prevailing wind direction from the north. This has created the prominent narrow ice ridges on Uruguay and Irizar islands, which are not supported by topographic obstacles, as well as the elongated shape of other ice caps. The subglacial topography of the ice caps is undulated and mainly dependent on the geological structure and composition of magmatic rocks.
There are at least four ways in which Antarctic colonialism was white: it was paradigmatically performed by white men; it consisted in the taking of vast, white expanses of land; it was carried out with a carte blanche (literally, “blank card”) attitude; and it was presented to the world as a white, innocent adventure. While the first, racial whiteness has been amply problematised, I suggest that the last three illuminate yet other moral wrongs of the Antarctic colonial project. Moreover, they might be constitutive of a larger class of “white” colonialisms beyond the White Continent.
In 1942, the British government created the Falkland Islands Dependencies Survey (FIDS) to enforce sovereignty over the Antarctic Peninsula. The small groups of men who worked for the Survey called themselves Fids. During the late 1950s when Antarctic sovereignty was being hotly debated and worked out by national governments, Fids serving at British bases criticised the British government’s use of science as a bargaining chip. Using in-house magazines written and printed at FIDS bases and oral histories, this article examines how Fids viewed Antarctic politics and how those events influenced daily life at bases on the Peninsula.
The ratification of the Antarctic Treaty established a unique construct for human presence and activity in Antarctica. The designation of the continent for peace and science has inspired and informed the work of artists from across the world. This paper explores relationships between the Treaty and contemporary visual artists’ responses to Antarctica. Using data from interviews with scientists, cultural professionals and exhibition audiences, I explore the value to science and society of artists’ presence in Antarctica. I look at why in the last 2 years the number of artists being supported to work in Antarctica has declined and conclude with some observations on how this downward trend might be addressed.
The visual arts have played an increasingly important role in examining and critiquing past and present human activities in Antarctica as governed by the Antarctic Treaty and its Protocol on Environmental protection. This paper analyses the work of six artists who have contributed to this scrutiny, awakening us to fabrications and helping to enrich Antarctic cultures beyond the scientific and the environmental. It encourages all signatory nations to the Antarctic Treaty System to embrace and empower a more diverse artistic engagement with Antarctica and suggests that artists find new ways to address threats to the Antarctic, whether they come from within and from without.
Reporting on scientific research from Antarctica faces familiar tensions between journalism and science. Among the particular obstacles are the mainstream media’s focus on novelty and the constant need for new angles and new voices. While science journalism has been gaining recognition, many media organisations continue to view it as secondary to more traditional areas of reporting such as politics, business and sports. At a time when we face several environmental crises, that is arguably no longer representative of reality. Coverage of Antarctic issues, including science, could improve if editorial teams were more cross-disciplinary to extend beyond each individual’s boundaries of expertise.
Dinoflagellate cyst assemblages recovered from the La Meseta Formation cropping out in Seymour Island, Antarctic Peninsula, are studied herein and their distribution is compared with the biostratigraphic scheme available for the Palaeogene of the Southern Ocean and other high-latitude regions. In this way, the La Meseta Formation is dated as middle Lutetian to Priabonian (46.2–36 Ma), which differs from the age provided by other fossils, isotopes and also with the magnetostratigraphic scheme recently performed for the unit. The dinoflagellate cyst data support the proposal of ocean circulation patterns on the South American Shelf prior to the opening of Drake Passage. Assemblages from the La Meseta Formation contain Antarctic-endemic taxa which are also dominant in several circum-Antarctic sites, located south of 45° S. Their distribution reflects an ocean-circulation scheme with wide clockwise gyres surrounding Antarctica that were disrupted as a consequence of the deepening and definitive apertures of the Tasmanian Gateway and Drake Passage towards the Eocene/Oligocene transition. The palaeoenvironmental inference based on the S/D ratio (sporomorphs versus dinoflagellate cysts) and the P/G ratio (peridinioid versus gonyaulacoid dinoflagellate cysts) suggests an overall trend through the section from marine-dominated assemblages with poorly productive waters in the lower part of the section to more terrestrially dominated assemblages with increasing productivity in the upper part of the unit, reflecting a shallowing trend to the top.
It has long been argued that mood fluctuation patterns in Antarctic expeditioners are largely homogeneous. This research investigated mood fluctuation patterns throughout all the stages of Antarctic deployment using latent class growth analysis. Utilising advanced statistical methods, such as latent class growth analysis, can greatly help in identifying if mood fluctuation patterns experienced by Antarctic expeditioners are homogenous, and provide insight into mood fluctuation patterns, which was not possible with traditional group-based quantitative methods. Gaining a greater insight into mood fluctuation patterns in Antarctic expeditioners can assist with the development, and implementation of, strategies to assist with expeditioner well-being. The analysis was conducted on 423 expeditioner from the Australian Antarctic program between the 2005-2009 Antarctic deployment seasons. The results supported the notion that mood fluctuation patterns in expeditioners within the Australian-Antarctic programme were largely homogeneous, as a 1-class cubic latent class growth model was identified as being the optimal fit for the dataset. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed in relation to research and prevention and intervention strategies.
Art may be made as a guide to understanding sense of place, and also as a pathway to understanding and valuing scientific ideas. Here we consider this connection in the context of a selected history of artists working in Antarctica, from early explorers to the modern era. This provides a parallel trajectory for the nature, realisation and purpose of the art. We then consider the interaction between art and science and the nature of interdisciplinary work by looking at work produced in a sea ice-based science field camp by an artist collecting data – both scientific and art focused. The artist participated in two field campaigns a year apart, allowing comparison of the evolution of both the artistic practice and the science data collection. Furthermore, the collection of data that served both needs provides a unique point of connection between two fields of endeavour, which are typically considered as separate.
Modern baleen whales (Mysticeti), the largest animals on Earth, arose from small ancestors around 36.4 million years ago (Ma). True gigantism is thought to have arisen late in mysticete history, with species exceeding 10 m unknown prior to 8 Ma. This view is challenged by new fossils from Seymour Island (Isla Marambio), Antarctica, which suggest that enormous whales once roamed the Southern Ocean during the Late Eocene (c. 34 Ma). The new material hints at an unknown species of the archaic mysticete Llanocetus with a total body length of up to 12 m. The latter is comparable to that of extant Omura's whales (Balaenoptera omurai Wada et al. 2003), and suggests that gigantism has been a re-occurring feature of mysticetes since their very origin. Functional analysis including sharpness and dental wear implies an at least partly raptorial feeding strategy, starkly contrasting with the filtering habit of living whales. The new material markedly expands the size range of archaic mysticetes, and demonstrates that whales achieved considerable disparity shortly after their origin.
Species identification based on the morphometry of opisthaptoral hard parts, in combination with internal transcribed spacer ribosomal DNA (ITS rDNA) region sequences, confirmed the presence of four viviparous Gyrodactylus von Nordman, 1832 (Plathyhelminthes, Monogenea) species on Nototheniid fish from the Prince Gustav Channel (Weddell Sea, Antarctica). Gyrodactylus antarcticus Gusev, 1967 was found mostly on Trematomus newnesi Boulenger (93 specimens) but also on T. bernacchii Boulenger (one specimen), the latter representing a new host record for this species. Gyrodactylus byrdi Hargis & Dillon, 1968 and G. coriicepsi Rokicka, Lumme & Ziętara, 2009 were recorded on their type hosts, T. newnesi and Notothenia coriiceps Richardson, respectively. Gyrodactylus wilkesi Hargis & Dillon, 1968 was found mostly on the fins of T. bernacchii (29 specimens), but also on T. hansoni Boulenger (one specimen) and T. newnesi (three specimens). The finding of G. wilkesi on T. newnesi represents a new host record. The low number of Gyrodactylus specimens may indicate an accidental infection. The occurence of all four Gyrodactylus species in the Prince Gustav Channel represents a new locality record. According to phylogentic methods, the newly redescribed monogeneans belong to the Antarctic lineage, forming a sister group to North American and European marine Gyrodactylus species, and consist of two species groups, one comprising G. coriicepsi and G. nudifronsi Rokicka, Lumme & Ziętara, 2009, and the other G. anarcticus and G. wilkesi.
The upward evolution of temperatures in the Antarctic Peninsula has weakened and even reversed in the last two decades. Due to the long-term variability in the region it is not easy to assess whether recent cooling trends are consistent with the internal variability or not. For this reason, this paper assesses the robustness of the trends by analysing their sensitivity with respect to the period selected. Every possible temperature trend in the interval 1958–2016 has been calculated and displayed in a two-dimensional parameter diagram. The results suggest that the warming observed in the Antarctic Peninsula since 1958 is quite robust, as all periods longer than 30 years exhibit statistically significant changes, especially in summer (with lower magnitude and higher significance) and autumn and winter (with larger magnitude and lower significance). Periods shorter than 30 years exhibit alternations of warming and cooling periods, and therefore do not represent robust trends even if they are statistically significant. Consequently, the recent 20-year cooling trend cannot be considered at the moment as evidence of a shift in the overall sign of the trend.
A conventional Differential GPS (DGPS) techniques-based velocity and acceleration method (named here as ‘DVA’) may be difficult to implement in the Antarctic as there is a sparse distribution of reference stations over Antarctica. Thus, in order to overcome the baseline limitations and to obtain highly accurate and reliable velocity and acceleration estimates for airborne gravimetry, a network-based velocity and acceleration determination approach (named here as ‘NVA’), which introduces a wide network of stations and is independent of precise clock information, is applied. Here its performance for velocity and acceleration determination is fully exploited by using Global Positioning System (GPS), GLONASS, Galileo and BeiDou observations. Additionally, a standalone receiver-based method named ‘SVA’, which requires precise clock information, is also implemented for comparison. During static tests and a flight experiment over Antarctica, it was found that the NVA method yields more robust results than the SVA and DVA methods when applied to a wide area network. Moreover, the addition of GLONASS, Galileo and BeiDou systems can increase the accuracy of velocity and acceleration estimates by 39% and 43% with NVA compared to a GPS-only solution.