Happy Birthday, Australian Antarctic Program!

Seventy years ago on November 28, the maiden expedition of Australia’s Antarctic Program set sail from Western Australia, establishing the first of the nation’s research stations in the polar region. Nowadays, Australia is considered a key player in Antarctic affairs and holds the largest segment of Antarctica.

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Extinct giant sea cow found in Russian Arctic

Russian scientists found an immense extinct sea mammal buried in grounds of the country’s eastern coastline. The nature ministry announced that the remains are still intact and that this is an excellent finding due to the history of this species.

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Waking up the Antarctic princess

The Belgian Antarctic station Princess Elisabeth Antarctica is one of the latest and most advanced stations. During summer season up to 16 researchers can be housed at the station, which is situated in Queen Maud Land, East Antarctica. The station is a summer station and thus, closed for the winter and maintained automatically from Belgium thanks to a sophisticated control system. Now, the station has been manned and reopened for the season.

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Arctic data shows no warming hiatus

The global warming hiatus, an apparent global warming slowdown, has puzzled scientists for a long time. Instead of an ever-rising temperature, the average global temperature seemed to go down again. New data from the Arctic, however, shows that the Arctic actually warmed six times faster than the global average and that global warming in fact didn’t slow down at all.

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South Georgian albatrosses on the downhill slope

Albatrosses are one of the iconic bird groups in the Antarctic. Almost no one can evade the fascination of these elegant birds when watching them sailing in the winds over the Southern Ocean. However, their numbers have made a significant drop over the last 35 years, especially those breeding on the sub-Antarctic island of South Georgia, according to a recent study published now in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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Belugas move from halibut to capelin in warming waters

Climate change seems to be driving a tiny fish species northward as Arctic waters grow warmer thanks to climate change — and they're getting gobbled up by whales that would normally find larger fish more tantalizing. But not only whales are after that tiny prey, also fish that used to be on the whale’s menu profit from the new resource.

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What is underneath Antarctica’s fastest melting glacier?

A UK team of researchers has produced high-resolution maps of the bed beneath a major glacier in West Antarctica, which will help them predict future sea-level rise from this region. Radar surveys of the land beneath Pine Island Glacier have revealed a diverse landscape under the ice with some surprises. The results are published in the journal Nature Communications.

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Wind turbine at Australian station collapsed

Generating electricity in Antarctica is a tricky business. Most Antarctic stations use diesel generators and a few wind turbines, which is more sustainable. However, those wind turbines have to withstand harsh conditions and the strain on the material seems very big. At Australian Mawson station, part of a wind turbine collapsed on the evening of November 7. Luckily, no one was injured in the incident.

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Canadian Arctic mosses tell climate tales

The Arctic is one of the fastest warming places on Earth. However, warming cycles had happened in the past before and climate researchers are gathering information on the extent of those past climates. Some mosses in the eastern Canadian Arctic, long entombed in ice, are now emerging into the sunlight due to the warming. And the radiocarbon ages of those plants suggest that summertime temperatures in the region are the warmest they’ve been in tens of thousands of years.

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Habitat influences penguin calls

Birds use vocalizations to attract mates, defend territories, and recognize fellow members of their species. But while we know a lot about how variations in vocalizations play out between populations of songbirds, it's far less clear how this variation affects birds such as penguins in which calls are inherited. A new study examines differences in the calls of Little Penguins from four colonies in Australia and finds that disparities in habitat, rather than geographic isolation or other factors, seem to be the key driver of variation in the sounds these birds use to communicate.

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