Our objective is to help communities prepare for climate risks emerging from East Antarctica and the Southern Ocean. We will do this by integrating knowledge of the region’s ocean, atmosphere, cryosphere, and ecosystems.
Antarctica’s heart of ice has skipped a beat. Time to take our medicine
The rhythmic expansion and contraction of Antarctic sea ice is like a heartbeat.
But lately, there’s been a skip in the beat. During each of the last two summers, the ice around Antarctica has retreated farther than ever before. And just as a change in our heartbeat affects our whole body, a change to sea ice around Antarctica affects the whole world.
Today, researchers at the Australian Antarctic Program Partnership (AAPP) and the Australian Centre for Excellence in Antarctic Science (ACEAS) have joined forces to release a science briefing for policy makers, On Thin Ice.
Together we call for rapid cuts to greenhouse gas emissions, to slow the rate of global heating. We also need to step up research in the field, to get a grip on sea-ice science before it’s too late.
ON THIN ICE: a science briefing about changes in Antarctic sea ice
The Australian Antarctic Program Partnership (AAPP) and the Australian Centre for Excellence in Antarctic Science (ACEAS) have released a report on sea ice changes in Antarctica.
Antarctic sea ice provides many services for our planet. It is a cooling sunshade, an insulating blanket, a unique habitat, a protective wall, a global ocean pump. The annual cycle of the Southern Ocean that surrounds Antarctica freezes and melts in cycles. Any change to this affects the whole world. And now, it seems this crucial life-support system for Earth may be faltering.
Southern Ocean holds deep clues to ancient carbon tipping points
Researchers have found a long-searched for giant carbon reservoir buried in the Southern Ocean between Tasmania and Antarctica. The reservoir is the result of a dramatic carbon drawdown 34 million years ago that transitioned Earth away from a hothouse planet into the ice-capped one it is now.
A huge amount of atmospheric carbon dioxide—up to 600 ppm—was removed from Earth’s atmosphere 34 million years ago when it was a much warmer and humid planet.
“For this to happen, the carbon that was keeping the atmosphere warmer didn’t just disappear off the planet—it had to end up somewhere else on it,” said Dr Katharina Hochmuth from the ARC Australian Centre for Excellence in Antarctic Science and the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies at the University of Tasmania. She is the lead author of a new study published in Nature Communications that reveals the location of the carbon.