Climate change: Satellites find new colonies of Emperor penguins

Satellite observations have found a raft of new Emperor penguin breeding sites in the Antarctic. The locations were identified from the way the birds’ poo, or guano, had stained large patches of sea-ice.
The discovery lifts the global Emperor population by 5-10%, to perhaps as many as 278,500 breeding pairs.
It’s a welcome development given that this iconic species is likely to come under severe pressure this century as the White Continent warms.

The Emperors’ whole life cycle is centered around the availability of sea-ice, and if this is diminished in the decades ahead – as the climate models project – then the animals’ numbers will be hit hard.
One forecast suggested the global population could crash by a half or more under certain conditions come 2100.

Thanks and credit to: https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-53549299

Museo Maritimo y Antarctico,  Ushuaia-TdF, Argentina

Ushuaia has grown by the sea but also under the watchful gaze of the prison. Both the Maritime, Antarctica and the Prison Museums bear witness to the passing of time in this southern land. While one tells the great adventures of seafarers, the other narrates the lives of those condemned to reclusion.

Facing the bay, within the Argentinian Navy venue, the building housing the Navy Museum was once the Recidivist Prison. Granted National Historical Monument by Congress in 1997, it bears witness to the origins of Ushuaia City.

At present, Marine and Antarctic Museum is directed by Dr. Carlos Pedro Vairo  of a  non-profit civil association with support from the local authorities and the Navy. It opens its doors to visitors who wish to know more about the history of the city.

A brochure with the location of the different rooms is handed out at the entrance. Guided visits are highly recommended and, while waiting for them to begin, visitors can walk through the first rooms devoted to the naval past of Tierra del Fuego. Just like the other southern islands, its development is closely tied to the sea, the only means of communication to the continent until 1948.

Created in 1994, the Museum has revalued the building of the former Presidio of Ushuaia. It began as a Maritime Museum, exhibiting a complete collection of naval models. It also houses an interesting collection on Antarctic Expeditions. It was declared National Historical Monument in April 1997. It was a good way to understand the early history of Ushuaia: the maritime history is very informative, particularly the Antarctic history; the penal colony and conditions of prisoners and the important native history of Tierra del Fuego and this is very well captured in the Yamana native exhibits.
The old prison itself is very well kept and is formatted in a very interesting way. Each cell containing a separate piece of history. Once stepping into the cell,  the information begins. One can feel the hardship that the prisoners experienced in that cold place. The maritime exhibits are excellent as are the postal exhibits. The Antarctic exhibits are particularly gripping,  bringing the rescue missions back to life.

Read more at:  https://www.welcomeargentina.com/ushuaia/maritime-museum.html

Antarctic Nations Trophy & Antarctica 2020 Trophy

Two  interesting Plaques  for the Antarctic Trophies collectors!

Some details about Antarctica 2020 Trophy  was already published last march 4th 2020 here on the WAP pages: http://www.waponline.it/antarctica-2020-trophy/

Now, Volker DL8JDX is pleased to show both Trophies he has just received: Antarctic Nations Trophy and Antarctica 2020 Trophy

Information on the Antarctic Nations Trophy, are available at https://www.dxtrophy.com/antarctica, more info can be requested by e-mail to: mydxtrophy@gmail.com

To get more on the Antarctica 2020 Trophy, issued to celebrate the 200 years of discovering Antarctica, see https://www.dxtrophy.com/200-antarctic

 Oleg UA6GG, www.dxtrophy.com wrote:
In honor of 200 years of the discovery of Antarctica “DX TROPHY Awards Group” is  ready to present the conditions for another  special trophy: ANTARCTICA CUP,  small trophy cups will be for true hunters of Antarctica, and for sure  the activators of Antarctica will not be forgotten-

Congrats and  TNX  Volker, DL8JDX, Antarctic veteran for sharing them with us

NASA satellite exposes “uncharted island” Antarctica

Sif Island is the name given to an island in  of the Amundsen Sea, in Antarctica. It is 1,150 feet (350 m) long and made of volcanic granite. Scientists spotted this “uncharted island” earlier this year, but a NASA satellite has been tracking it since 2014, the United States Geological Survey (USGS) revealed.

A scientific expedition off the coast of Antarctica in early February, spotted an island that appears on no maps,  a finding that demonstrates how quickly the continent is changing as a result of climate change.

“I think I see rocks”,  shouted an officer aboard the RV Nathaniel B. Palmer as the ship passed through Pine Island Bay, Antarctica. After consulting their charts, the crew realized they were looking at a brand-new island. There was a commotion as everyone onboard rushed to see the rocky, ice-covered

The small island is only about 1,150 feet long (350 meters) and mostly covered in ice, but rises from the sea with a layer of brown rock distinct from the surrounding glaciers and icebergs.

After making a brief landfall, the researchers confirmed that the island is made of volcanic granite, and even hosts a few resident seals.

Read more at: https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-020-00489-4

and  https://www.express.co.uk/news/science/1273004/antarctica-nasa-landsat-sif-island-thor-south-pole-climate-change-global-warming-spt

Casa de Bote Marambio Hut (Marambio Boat house) WAP ARG-NEW

The need to have a laboratory at sea level, on the coast of Marambio Island, arose when the research project on “methane hydrates” began at López de Bertodano Bay, Seymour Island, Antarctica.

What follow, explains how the idea of carrying out a construction came up. Initially named “Casa de Botes Roberto Argentino Vallverdú” , later called “Casa de Botes Marambio” .

The boathouse is located on the coast of López de Bertodano Bay on Marambio (Seymour) Island at 64° 15′ 22.9″ South,  56° 44′ 23.4″ West, and its construction began in 2007 with the main purpose of serving as a logistical support base for studies on methane hydrate leaks.

Construction and improvements of the “Casa de Botes” stopped in 2016, being unfinished as well as the research project that motivated its creation, due to the lack of objective decisions by the DNA (DIRECCIÓN NACIONAL DEL ANTÁRTICO) and the IAA (INSTITUTO ANTÁRTICO ARGENTINO).

Casa de Bote (Boat house)  is mentioned and reported inside the Argentina’s “Annual Antarctic Plan 2019-2020”..

See: https://www.cancilleria.gob.ar/userfiles/ut/plan_anual_antartico_del_programa_antartico_argentino_2019-2020.pdf  In the year 2007,  its facilities were halfway there. They were not completed in due course; especially the large “shed” destined to keep land vehicles (4×4, 6×6) and snowmobiles, as well as smaller boats (Zodiac MK3 / MK4 inflatable boats and Zodiac Hurricane ZHT-733OB semi-rigid boats) essential to carry out the multidisciplinary research project on Methane Hydrates.

In the year 2008, the National Antarctic Directorate  designed Casa de Bote (aka Vallverdú boathouse) as a model logistical support point for the development of scientific and technical activities related to Earth Sciences, Life Sciences, and personnel training.

Read more at: http://www.marambio.aq/travesiaenmoto2005.html?utm_source=email_marketing&utm_admin=12&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Boletin_de_Noticias_JULIO

Casa de Bote Marambio Hut (Boat house) at 64° 15′ 22.9″ South,  56° 44′ 23.4″ West,  López de Bertodano Bay, Seymour Island, Antarctica will be add to WAP-WADA Directory under ARG-NEW. A WAP reference will be given if and when an Ham Radio operation will come on the air from this site.
Note that Marambio Base (WAP ARG-21) is located at 64° 14’ South, 56° 37′ West, so that Casa de Bote Marambio Hut is relatively far away the Base, that’s why WAP considers it a new entity on WADA Directory.

Plastic pollution reaching the Antarctic

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 last month  of April 2020 in the journal Environment International.

New findings include analyses of some of the longest continuous datasets in the world on plastics ingested by seabirds and washed up on beaches, and insights into where this plastic originates. They also highlight the ongoing prevalence of plastic in the Polar Regions, its impact on the environment and the animals that inhabit these remote areas.

Scientists from British Antarctic Survey (BAS) have systematically collected marine debris washed up on the beaches of Bird Island (South Georgia) and Signy Island (South Orkneys) over three decades. Their findings reveal an increase in the amount of debris collected. Over 10,000 items were recovered, the majority of which was plastic.

Read more at: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/04/200428112544.htm

Kharkovchanka, huge Antarctic off-road vehicles made by the Soviets

“The Kharkovchanka”  Russia’s Colossal Antarctic Cruisers which have been continuously operating in some of the most extreme environments on Earth for over 50 years.

Produced in Kharkiv, Ukrainian Soviet Socialistic Republic and originally operated by USSR, the ‘Харьковчанка’ (literally ‘Kharkiv Women’), these amazing Snow Cruisers were built in the late 1950s and featured everything a polar explorer could need in the field. In their half-century mission, they have crossed thousands of miles on Antarctic Ice, visited the South Pole, the Pole of inaccessibility as well the dozens of outposts and research stations on the Icy Continent.

Read more at:
https://jalopnik.com/soviet-versions-of-the-antarctic-snow-cruiser-were-so-m-1844211018

https://boingboing.net/2020/07/03/short-documentary-about-kharko.html

June 21 Día de la Confraternidad Antártica

June 21 is the shortest day of the year, when  in the southern hemisphere the winter begins. It is a tradition in this day,  to commemorate the  “Antarctic Fellowship Day” , a day to greet each other in the Argentine’s Antarctic Bases and that date is taken as a reference, to teach about Antarctica in the schools.

So, next Sunday, June 21, it’s  an important date for the Argentines that send greetings. It’s a day well recalled in most of the country’s schools, that will fulfill the objective established by the School Calendar by “promoting the culture and awareness and the importance of Argentina’s presence on the Antarctic territory, recognizing the work of  the people involved in scientific matters on the Icy Continent and also, provide that the elderly know more about the Antarctic theme, so little spread.

To get more information on this commemoration, click below: www.marambio.aq/confraternidadantartica7.html

And about 21 June, the date of the Antarctic friendship, we cannot forget that this is also  the day of the Winter solstice  in the southern hemisphere that marks Midwinter in AntarcticaWAP is pleased to relay a message  forwarded  by an Antarctic veteran,  DL8JDX, to the friends actually involved down there.
Antarctic Mid Winter Day Greetings
Dear Antarctic friends,
all our happy Meetings, during work and during celebrations, are still in my mind too. What a great time. Wish you all a happy midwinter and stay healthy!
Kind regards, Volker

TNX Volker Strecke DL8JDX

Summer Solstice: June 21 will be the longest day of 2020; here’s what it means

On June 21, the world will witness two astronomical events:  an annular solar eclipse visible in parts of India, and the summer solstice. The summer solstice of June is the longest day in the Northern Hemisphere.

The summer solstice usually falls on June 21, and is said to mark the onset of summer in the Northern Hemisphere. It occurs when the North Pole is the nearest to the Sun. It is derived from the Latin word ‘sol‘ which means ‘sun’, and ‘sistere‘, which means ‘to stand still’ and occurs two times in a year,  once in each hemisphere.
The Earth’s rotational axis is tilted at an angle of about 23.5 degrees from vertical.
As the Earth orbits the sun, the Northern Hemisphere is angled toward the sun for six months and angled away from the sun for the other six months of the year.
When the Northern Hemisphere is tilted towards the sun, sunlight falls at a steeper angle causing the hot months of summer.
The moment the North Pole is nearest to Sun, the Northern Hemisphere experiences the Summer Solstice. At the same time, the South Pole is farthest from the Sun, and hence, the Southern Hemisphere experiences the Winter Solstice, i.e. the longest night, and consequently the shortest day in the year.
The Summer Solstice is seen as an auspicious day in many cultures.

Read more at: https://www.moneycontrol.com/news/science/summer-solstice-june-21-will-be-the-longest-day-of-2020-heres-what-it-means-5423871.html

US- A fleet of icebreakers and new bases in push for polar resources

President Donald Trump has ordered the construction of a fleet of icebreakers and bases to pursue US interests in the Arctic and Antarctic by the end of the decade in a signal that his administration is going to take a more aggressive approach to the contest with Russia and China for polar resources.

Trump issued a memorandum on     “safeguarding US national interests in the Arctic and Antarctic regions” which calls on the administration to come up with a plan within 60 days that would include at least three heavy icebreakers to be built by 2029, and recommendations for locations to build two support bases in the US and two on foreign soil.
The memorandum appeared designed to expand and inject extra urgency into a longstanding US Coast Guard plan to build three heavy and three medium icebreakers. It suggests the US look into leasing arrangements while the new fleet is being built.
Source:  https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/jun/09/trump-icebreakers-bases-arctic-antarctic-polar 

Which is colder, the North Pole or the South Pole?

Arctic & Antarctic … both are fascinating worlds!
It’s not a contest: the South Pole is much colder than the North Pole. The explanation is a matter of geography. The North Pole is located in an ocean (mostly) surrounded by land and the South Pole is located in a continent surrounded by ocean. The North Pole is located a few feet above sea level. The elevation varies because the thickness of ice covering the ocean at the North Pole changes during course of the year. The South Pole sits at an elevation of 9,301 feet and, in general, the higher one goes, the colder it gets.
Average temperatures: 32 degrees F in the summer and -40 degrees F in the winter at the North Pole; -18 degrees F in the summer and -76 degrees F in the winter at the South Pole.
 

More at: https://wgntv.com/weather/weather-blog/which-is-colder-the-north-pole-or-the-south-pole/

and at: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/why-is-the-south-pole-col/

Researchers go cuckoo: Antarctic penguins release an extreme amount of laughing gas

In a new study, researchers from the University of Copenhagen have demonstrated that penguins in Antarctica emit copious amounts of nitrous oxide via their feces. So much so, that the researchers went ”cuckoo” from being surrounded by penguin poop.
More than 1600 kilometers east of the Drake Passage between South America and Antarctica lies the Atlantic island of South Georgia.
Here, king penguins live in huge colonies. Their days are spent chomping on krill, squid and fish, feeding their chicks and producing ‘guano’, which means poo in penguin. Nothing mind-boggling about that, you might say.

However, there is something very special about the comings and goings of king penguins. Tremendous amounts of nitrous oxide, better known as laughing gas, are released via their guano, according to a 2019 study completed by researchers from the University of Copenhagen and their colleagues.

“Penguin guano produces significantly high levels of nitrous oxide around their colonies. The maximum emissions are about 100 times higher than in a recently fertilised Danish field. It is truly intense — not least because nitrous oxide is 300 times more polluting than CO2,” explains Professor Bo Elberling, of the University of Copenhagen’s Department of Geosciences and Natural Resource Management.

Besides being a strain on the climate, nitrous oxide has an effect very similar to the sedative laughing gas used in the dentist’s office ….

Read more at: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/05/200519114237.htm

Is Antarctica the Safest Place to Visit in 2020 and beyond?

If your dream has been to follow in the footsteps of the great Antarctic explorers Amundsen, Scott and Shackleton, this could be the ideal time to do so. Antarctica is vast – roughly the size of China and India combined – and is the coldest, windiest, driest and highest-altitude continent on Earth and the only continent with no native human population. Nobody owns, or can claim sovereignty in Antarctica and it is governed by an international treaty signed by 54 nations. The Antarctic Treaty sets Antarctica aside as a scientific preserve, establishes freedom of scientific research and bans military activity on the continent. Emperor Penguins and spectacular scenery aside, knowing that Antarctica is the only continent with no confirmed cases of COVID-19 makes it even more appealing. It is an excellent place to holiday, post COVID-19, as it is the ultimate in inert environments.

Plus, the vast open landscapes are the exact opposite of all we have been enduring while in lockdown and offer holidays focused on mindfulness and escapism – the opposite of a hectic city life

Read more at:
https://www.forbes.com/sites/joanneshurvell/2020/05/18/is-antarctica-the-safest-place-to-visit-in-2020-and-beyond/#6ea86a4d3e95

The Forgotten American Explorer who Discovered Huge Parts of Antarctica

It’s been 180 years since Charles Wilkes (April 3, 1798 – February 8, 1877) an American naval officer, ship’s captain, and explorer led the United States Exploring Expedition, 1838-1842. He voyaged to the Antarctic continent and his journey has never been more relevant!

The early-1900s exploits of intrepid explorers like Robert Scott and Edward Shackleton captured the public imagination. With the benefit of cameras and deft handling of newspaper media, the Edwardian British explorers, alongside their Norwegian rival Roald Amundsen, established themselves as heroic polar pioneers. In the process, however, the south polar exploits of their American forerunner, Charles Wilkes, have been largely forgotten.

It was the round-the-world expedition by Wilkes, whose scientific collection constituted the first treasures of the infant Smithsonian, that first established the continental dimensions of Antarctica. But in a twist of 19th-century international politics, that claim to Antarctica was denied to the Americans by the pole-hungry British. Fast forward to today, and the United States finds itself in another nationalistic race to capitalize on the frozen southern continent. This time, its sparring partner is China.
Amundsen might have been the first man to reach the South Pole, in 1911, but the discovery of the Antarctic continent occurred several generations earlier. In January 1840, when Wilkes was commander of the United States Exploring Expedition, he charted 1500 miles of the east Antarctic coastline in his flagship U.S.S. Vincennes (picure on the right, shows the  19th-century painting, based on a sketch by Lieutenant Charles Wilkes, USN, depicting USS Vincennes in Disappointment Bay, Antarctica, circa January–February 1840).

Before this American expedition, only small, rocky outcrops of Antarctica had been sighted. Most exploreres believed an open polar sea or, at most, a scattered archipelago lay at the planet’s far south.

Read more at: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/charles-wilkes-antarctica-explorer-180974432/

Coronavirus: How amateur radio is connecting people during lockdown

Amateur radio use in the UK has seen a “significant” rise during the coronavirus lockdown as people seek new ways of staying connected. The national body that represents users – the Radio Society of Great Britain (RSGB) – has said many people who formerly enjoyed the hobby are also returning to it.

Mark Rider‘s social life before the coronavirus lockdown consisted of the occasional trip to the pub, rehearsing with musician friends and visiting his wife in her care home.

“But when I knew that wasn’t going to happen any time soon I decided to dust off my amateur radio equipment to seek out some other social interaction,” he says.

Mr Rider, a retired engineer from North Warwickshire, said “ragchewing” – or chatting to people on the airwaves – “has become one of the highlights of my day”.

“Because I live on my own, and because of lockdown, I knew I couldn’t do what I used to do, which wasn’t going to be very good for me or my mental health.”

Read more at: https://www.bbc.com/news/amp/uk-england-52442553?fbclid=IwAR1gABcOgHcy0VYwIht2NmrbuKlMvMsDkLJPft8alhHhZRUvhHQpsAwBop0

Antarctica cruises check bucket lists

As the number of travelers cruising Antarctica swells, polar expedition companies are launching sustainable vessels designed for these bucket-list trips.
Interested in seeing the southernmost continent? Here’s a roundup of some of the tour operators planning itineraries for this year and next.
Antarctica21
In November, Antarctica21 debuted the world’s first vessel purpose-built for Antarctic tourism: the 73-passenger Magellan Explorer. A forward-facing observation deck and glass-enclosed lounge offer prime wildlife viewing, while designer guest rooms feature balconies and single cabins.
Most itineraries, including the eight-day Classic Antarctica Air-Cruise, bypass the turbulent waters of the Drake Passage by flying from Punta Arenas to King George Island. Full board rates begin at $13,995 per person and include Antarctic flights and activities.
Cruise operator Hurtigruten in March will unveil the 530-passenger MS Fridtjof Nansen, the sister ship to the just-launched MS Roald Amundsen. Both vessels feature science centers and citizen science projects, and both are hybrid electric-powered with low-emission engines.

The MS Fridtjof Nansen’s Highlights of the Frozen Continent, a 12-day journey, explores some 20 sites across the Antarctic Peninsula. Prices start at $7,875 per person.
https://www.nwaonline.com/news/2020/feb/02/antarctica-cruises-check-bucket-lists-2/

Here below a short  video of a trip down to Antarctica … just and example how it could be! amazing isn’t it?

Argentine Antarctic Institute (IAA). Happy Birthday

For more than 116 years, men and women (civilians and military) have been working in and for Argentina’s Antarctica, revealing the secrets of this frozen and mysterious land, carrying out important national and international scientific missions.

In view of the number of organizations that participated annually in Antarctic campaigns, the Argentine government decided to establish a central entity responsible for the scientific work carried out in the Icy Continent.

69 years ago, on April 17, 1951, the Argentine Antarctic Institute, was created to be the depositary of the information gathered on previous expeditions, as well as for future activities.

More information at: www.marambio.aq/iaa.html

Covid-19 forces Spanish researchers to endure odyssey

Although there have been no confirmed Covid-19 cases in Earth’s southernmost continent, the disease has nonetheless taken its toll on those there. Just ask the researchers and members of the military who recently experienced major difficulties in making it back home from the two Spanish bases in Antarctica.

After being dropped off in Chile by the ‘Hespérides’ research vessel, an initial party was able to return to Spain in early March, but coronavirus-motivated air-space closures over South America then left a 37-person group stranded.

The situation left Jordi Felipe Álvarez, the head of the Juan Carlos I Spanish Base (WAP ESP-Ø1 picture above) , contemplating the possibility of a four-week-long voyage to Spain by boat. “It’s the most likely option,” he told the newspaper El Confidencial. “But we’re trying to avoid it so that people aren’t away for another month.”

According to reports, however, they were finally able to travel back home after a ‘humanitarian air corridor’ was established from Carrasco International Airport in the Uruguayan capital of Montevideo.
Read more at: https://en.as.com/en/2020/04/11/other_sports/1586607691_521116.html

VU3BPZ sends Greetings from Dehradun, Himalaya

Bhagwati Prasad ,VU3BPZ is an Antarctic veteran.  Several times in Antarctica, active from the Indian Base of Maitri (WAP IND-Ø3), Bharati Station (WAP IND-Ø4) and Indian Bay Camp (WAP IND-Ø2). See: https://www.qrz.com/lookup/vu3bpz

Bhagwati, wish to express his sentiments WW, to all the friends and families who are  suffering deadly virus desease. Bhagwati could not sent to everyone his prayers and ask WAP to do it for him.

No corona virus cases reported in his QTH, since 3 days but he’s conscious how many are suffering WW.

Bhagwati wrote:

Dear radio friend OM/YLs & all,
My best wishes on the occasion of Holy Easter.  We are in lock down,  hopefully we all  will win COVID-19 pandemic &  not extended lock down further mid of May. India,  as well as many other Countries WW  is under the lockdown and maintain social distancing to contain Covid-19 pandemic!  Follow the govt norms in  COVID-19 crisis. I  hope everyone to celebrate the Easter fets and offer prayer from respective homes without disregarding the social distancing. Being Ham and humanity basis my sincere sentiments to my friend and their families. Take care and have a great Easter day!

Best 73s, Bhagwati Pd Semwal (VU3BPZ/Ex-AT10BP /8T2BH )

17 de Agosto Refuge, WAP ARG-NEW

Located at 68° 07’53” South, 67°10’16” West, “Refuge 17 de Agosto”   is an Antarctic refuge located in the north east of the Millerand Island in the Marguerite Bay, on Fallières Coast.

It is operated by the Argentine Army and was inaugurated on August 17, 1957.

It depends on San Martín Base (WAP ARG-Ø8), which is five kilometers away on Barry Island. The refuge consists of a red hut, used by the personnel employed in the missions carried out in the area, and has a capacity to accommodate four people, enough food for two weeks, fuel, gas and first aid kit

Even of this facility  is listed on WAP-WADA Directory, the Argentinean   “Refuge 17 de Agosto”   has never been activated by Hams, so it remains a WAP brand “New One”.
While hoping next time the guys going there can bring a RTX & antenna and put this Refuge up “On the Air”, enjoy the 5′ video here below

The sun set at the South Pole last week

The sun, won’t rise again until September.

Six months of darkness are one of the reasons powerful telescopes are located at the South Pole. (Amindsen-Scott US South Pole Station, WAP USA-21 & WAP USA-36).
The photo by Danny Hampton (here aside), shows the South Pole Telescope, operated by the University of Chicago, as they study the origins of the universe.
Thanks and credit to: The Antarctic Support Contract

The Antarctic Support Contract team provides station operations, logistics, information technology, construction, maintenance and more on Antarctica and at support facilities worldwide.

Supporting scientific research on the highest, driest, coldest, windiest and emptiest place on Earth requires exceptional logistics and planning expertise. Leidos is the prime contractor for the National Science Foundation’s United States Antarctic Program (USAP).

See more at: https://www.leidos.com/competencies/operations-and-logistics/antarctic-support-contract

Antarctica the only Continent untouched by the coronavirus

One continent has not yet confirmed a case of the novel coronavirus. It’s a place of barren ice, where the all-consuming cold and darkness of winter is fast approaching.

Over the past few months, some 4,000 people from around the world have watched from Antarctica as the coronavirus pandemic,  swept around the globe, reaching all but its southernmost reaches.
“You’d better stay there, you’re safer there,” Alberto Della Rovere, leader of the 35th Italian expedition to Antarctica, said his colleagues at home told him via WhatsApp.

For now, they appear to be right. Even in normal times, only a limited number of people are allowed in and out of Antarctica, with medical workers screening for signs of influenza and other illnesses before arrival.

“Right now, this, Antarctica, is the safest place in the world,” Della Rovere said. “There are no outside contacts and we’re far away from any settlement.”

 More information at: https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2020/03/24/one-continent-remains-untouched-by-coronavirus-antarctica/

HSM-53 Memorial at Elephant Island, Antarctica

Someone call it “Shackleton Memorial”, others “Frank Wild Memorial” while  HSM (Historical Sites and Monuments) with its official HSM-53 call this place “Endurance Memorial site”.

Beyond all names that are attributed to it,  Point Wild on Elephant Island, hosts the bust of  Luis Antonio Pardo Villalòn, the Chilean Navy Officer who, in August 30th 1916, commanded the steam Tug Yelcho to rescue the 22 stranded crewmen of Sir Ernast Shackleton’s expedition who survived the wreck of the ship Endurance living for four and one half months in this island.

As a matter of fact, most cruises stopping at Point Wild , an epic place where part of the Shackleton’s expedition members camped waiting for a rescue. It’s not easy to set foot at Elephant Island where in spite of beautiful landscape, the very rugged coastline and  frequent extreme weather makes landings difficult.

As second-in-command of the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition, Frank Wild was left in charge of twenty-one men on desolate Elephant Island as Shackleton and a crew of five, made their epic rescue mission to South Georgia aboard a lifeboat. From 24 April to 30 August 1916 Wild and his crew waited on Elephant Island, surviving on a diet of seal, penguin and seaweed untill they were finally rescued by Shackleton aboard the Chilean ship Yelcho.

Point Wild (61°03′ South 54°50′ West) is though named after Frank Wild  with a monument dedicated to the Chilean captain Luis Pardo who rescued him and his men.

The Bust of Captain Luis Alberto Pardo,  monolith and plaques have been placed on Elephant Island and their replicas on the Chilean bases Capitan Arturo Prat (62°30’South, 59°49’West) WAP CHL-Ø1 and President Eduardo Frei (62°12’South, 62°12′ West) WAP CHL-Ø5. Bronze busts of the pilot Luis Pardo Villalon were placed on the three above-mentioned monoliths during the XXIVth Chilean Antarctic Scientific Expedition in 1987–88
The plaque displays the following words: “Here on August 30th, 1916, the Chilean Navy cutter Yelcho commanded by Pilot Luis Pardo Villalón rescued the 22 men from the Shackleton Expedition who survived the wreck of the Endurance living for four and one half months in this Island”.

Antarctica snow turns ‘blood red’

Snow has taken on a sinister-looking blood red colour at a Ukrainian Vernadsky Research Base (WAP UKR-Ø1) due to a  type of algae which contributes to climate change.

For several weeks, scientists working at Vernadsky in Antarctica have been surrounded by what they call “raspberry snow”. Images released by Ukraine’s Ministry of Education and Science on Monday showed the phenomenon, which is caused by microscope snow algae when weather conditions are favorable during Antarctica’s summer months.

The ministry explained that the algae is able to survive the extreme cold temperatures during the Antarctic winter and begins to sprout when warmer temperatures arrive in the summer (between October and February). The algae’s cells have a red carotene layer which protects it from ultraviolet radiation and produces red spots in the snow like “raspberry jam”, the ministry said.

Thanks and credit Conrad Duncan (at) theconradduncan

Read more at: https://www.independent.co.uk/environment/red-snow-antarctica-research-station-ukraine-algae-climate-change-a9361091.html

The former British outpost houses the world’s most southerly Post Office

At the northern tip of Antarctica, 800 miles from the nearest pub, lies the world’s most southerly Post Office. Port Lockroy a former British outpost and now an Antarctic research station (WAP GBR-Ø1),, has no running water and lies on an isolated island about the size of a primary school playing field.
A team of four adventurers live there for a few months each year tasked with running the Post Office and keeping an eye on the 2,000 gentoo penguins that inhabit the island.
With workers bracing frigid -10C temperatures and sometimes going days without a wash, you might ask who’d be mad enough to take a job there.
Step in Laura MacNeil: A librarian based in Edinburgh who describes her stint at Lockroy as a “once in a lifetime trip”.
Running the base’s gift shop between November 2016 and March 2017, Laura, 40, admits she had a few tough moments at the site on Antarctica’s Goudier Island.
Port Lockroy is run and maintained by the UK Antarctic Heritage Trust (UKAHT), a charity that conserves historic buildings and artefacts in Antarctica.
Read more at: https://www.thesun.co.uk/tech/11032252/antarctica-port-lockroy-research-station-gift-shop-job-apply/

Just today I’ve received a post card (see pics) stampded at Port Lockroy. It was a great surprise , a gift from my good friend Eddy De Busschere a keen Polar Philatelic collector  at  BPES (Belgian Polar expedition Society).
TNX Eddy!

UKHART – UK Antarctic Heritage Trust

Antarctica’s bicentenary year, a right time to join UKAHT, a site that  keeps the Antarctic enthusiast up to date with lots of  exciting work in Antarctica and beyond.

By joining UKAHT , you will receive a regular e-bulletins updating you on all our exciting projects and sharing opportunities, events and fundraising news too. Why not become a “Friend of Antarctica” by joining UKAHT as a member?

UKAHT  aim is to connect like-minded people who share an interest in this remarkable continent, together exploring the wonder of Antarctica and reliving its many inspirational stories to promote a greater understanding of this extraordinary place and the role we all have in protecting it.

Help protect, inspire and champion the future of Antarctica

Check  http://ukaht.org/ and find out more about how to get involved

Viktor Boyarsky, a famous Russian Polar Explorer

In the year of the 200th Anniversary of Antarctic Discovery, we must  highlight an important person and interpreter of the recent history of polar explorations.

«Antarctica can serve as a model for all humanity today. It’s a Continent without national borders. It is governed by the Antarctic Treaty, which has been in existence for 60 years. This is a superb document, which gives Antarctica to the scientists, not to the military»
Viktor Boyarsky

Viktor Boyarsky is a prominent Russian traveller, Honored Polar Explorer of Russia, Chairman of the Polar Commission of the Russian Geographical Society (RGS), member of the National Geographic Society of the United States, full member of the National Tourism Academy and the International Academy of Refrigeration, Candidate of Science in Physics and Mathematics and member of the Union of In 1987, Boyarsky was sent as a Soviet representative to the International Trans-Antarctic Expedition, timed to the 30th anniversary of the Antarctic Treaty, which was signed by 12 states, including the USSR, and determined the status of the Antarctic as a continent of peace and cooperation.

In September 2002, the Russian President awarded Boyarsky with a medal of the Order “For Services to the Fatherland,” 2nd Class. In 2008, he received the Order of Boris Vilkitsky and the badge “Honored Hydrometeorology Professional” for his contribution to the development of polar science.

Thanks and credit https://arctic.ru/authors/boyarsky/

Global warming causing irreversible mass melting in Antarctica

Global warming was leading to an “irreversible” mass melting of the Antarctic ice and purging carbon from the atmosphere was the only solution to slow the process, an Australian climate scientist told Reuters on Wednesday.

Recent human activity has intensified global warming, which could result in a mass melting of Antarctica, said Zoe Thomas, a research fellow at the University of New South Wales who was part of an international team of scientists that recently published a paper on Antarctic ice melting. The study showed the world could lose most of the , which rests on the seabed and is fringed by floating ice, in a warmer world.

Read more at: https://www.deccanherald.com/science-and-environment/global-warming-causing-irreversible-mass-melting-in-antarctica-scientists-806118.html

“Our Lady of Loreto” Patron Saint of aviators for a Century

The Lauretan tradition, relating to the transport of the house of Mary, by angels from Nazareth to the ancient Illyria (1291) then from there to the ancient territory of Recanati-Italy (1294), appeared very suggestive for the choice of the Madonna of Loreto as “Patroness” who moves through the air.

Statua Madonna di Loreto a Sigonella AF Base

The relationship between the “Madonna di Loreto” (Our Lady of Loreto) and the aeronautical world,  dates back to March 1920 when she was officially proclaimed “Aeronautarum Patrona” by Pope Benedict XV (1914-1922). Our Lady of Loreto has since been the patroness of Aviators.

The 2020 Jubilee which marks the 100th  Anniversary of the papal proclamation, will be honored on the occasion of a Jubilee opened on December 8, 2019, that will continue the celebrations till December 10, 2020.

The Lauretan Jubilee is a great experience of collaboration in synergy with different realities and institutions. The main ones are first of all,  represented  by  the Italian  Air Force, with General Alberto Rosso, Chief of Staff of the Air Force, and Monsignor Antonio Coppola, delegate of the Military Ordinary in Italy. For International Women’s Day (March 8), the shrine will host a special pilgrimage of women pilots, and March 24, the 100th  Anniversary of Pope Benedict XV’s proclamation, members of the Italian Air Force will gather at the shrine.

Our Lady of Loreto, the Patron Saint of aviators for a Century starts when the veterans of “World War I” prayed the Virgin Mary asking to protect them from new conflicts or when flying. To celebrate the 100th  Anniversary,  Pope Francis announced a Lauretan Jubilee for all aviators and air travelers. In 2020 three statues depicting Our Lady of Loreto will fly to reach (commercial and military) national and  international airports.


Italian Air Force are flying a statue of Our Lady of Loreto to several IAF Bases in Italy, while the Italian airline “Alitalia” are flying a statue to 20 civilian airports throughout the country during the year; the statue will stay in the airport chapels for a two-week period of veneration. Alitalia also has promised to fly another copy of statue internationally, beginning with the pope’s hometown, Buenos Aires and Sao Paulo. We   will  physically and spiritually bring the message of peace and brotherhood , shared by the air transport community, by the passengers and by the devotees of  Our Lady of Loreto in the travels of the “Pilgrim Virgin” -declared ENAC Chairman Nicola Zaccheo-.

WAP together with the AAA (Veterans of the Air Force Association) are proposing that a statue of Our Lady of Loreto will be flown by IAF and placed in a small votive corner at the Italian MZS Base in Antarctica (WAP ITA-Ø1), following the original proposal launched 17 years ago, to build a small chapel at Mario Zucchelli Station…. the dream is still on!

18.3°C in Antarctica, marks the hottest temperature ever measured

On Febr. 4th 2020 the Argentinean Esperanza Base (WAP ARG-Ø4) in Antarctica, recorded its hottest day on Thursday.18.3°C!

The  new highest temperature was  recorded on the northern tip of the Antarctic Peninsula, at 63°23′ South by the instrumental devices at Esperanza Base.

The  previous record was 17.5°C set in March  2015 in the same site also at Esperanza,  where the station’s data recording  goes back to 1961 by Servicio Meteorológico Nacional- Argentina
photo credit: Nestor Franco

TNX The Antarctic Report

Book titled “Turkey’s Journey to White Continent”

Anadolu Agency has published a bilingual book on Turkey’s Antarctic expedition.
In Turkish and English, the book  titled Turkey’s Journey to the White Continent: Antarctic Expeditions, details Turkish expeditions in Antarctica, work carried out by Turkish Teams and the country’s objectives for the continent.
Covering setting up of Turkey’s meteorological observation station, and the team’s scientific efforts in Antarctica, the book is now on sale in bookstores and online.
The book also covers an internationally renowned Turkish diver Sahika Ercumen’s diving in the Southern Ocean where the world’s oceans meet surrounding Antarctica.
Meanwhile, the book includes Anadolu Agency correspondents’ impressions of the continent, and photos taken during Turkey’s 3rd national scientific expedition to Antarctica, Anadolu Agency Director-General Senol Kazanci said.
In February 2019, a Turkish team traveled to Antarctica as part of the 3rd National Antarctic Science Expedition to spend 30 days, which was supported by the Turkish Presidency, the Industry and Technology Ministry, and ITU’s Polar Research Center, along with other Turkish universities.
Read more at:  https://www.aa.com.tr/en/corporate-news/anadolu-agency-releases-book-on-antarctic-expedition/1721876

Orcadas Radio Station

On March 30, 1927, the Navy’s Petty Officer Emilio Baldoni managed to contact Ushuaia, inaugurating the Orcadas Radio Station (LRT), first in Antarctica. Until then the staff remained in communication with the rest of the world for a year until the arrival of their replacements. The Antarctic Naval Command is the organism of the Argentine Navy on which the Orcadas Base  (WAP ARG-15) currently depends.

Orcadas Base WAP ARG-15, Laurie Island, Antarctica

Since February 22, 1904, Argentina has been present on the white continent with the creation of the Orcadas Antarctic Base, the first of the permanent wintering and temporary bases, Antarctic shelters, camps and scientific stations.

Antarctic Philately

“Marka” Joint-Stock Company has recently made postal products dedicated to the 200th Anniversary of the start of the Bellingshausen and Lazarev expedition to Antarctica.

New postage objects include stamps, envelopes, souvenir packs, unmarked art cards, and special cancellation stamps for Moscow, St. Petersburg, and Penza.

For example, the “Vostok” and “Mirny” sloops are depicted on the new postage stamps; the fields of the postal block are bordered by the landscape of Antarctica. Models of sailing sloops, complemented by the expedition’s route map, also illustrate unmarked postcards. A souvenir pack includes a postal block and a vignette, as well as a first day envelope with cancellation for Moscow.

Read more at Russian Geographic Society: https://www.rgo.ru/en/article/antarctis-postal-products-were-released

Ham radio in Antarctica: expectations for the beginning of the year

Epiphany takes all the holidays away, says the motto; today, Jan 6th marks the end of the famous. “twelve days of Christmas”.

Stations and field camps in Antarctica are in midst of scientific research and study’s  activities, but how researchers (who are also radio amateurs) commit , do their free time?

Among the personnel staffed in Antarctica there are some radio amateurs; they are  specialists and researchers … who knows if they will be allowed to make their voices heard all over the world,  through the use of  the  radio equipment of their respective Bases?

Video below is a mix of New Year Greetings from Antarctica dedicated to the 200 years of its discovery, dedicated to all the National and International  Teams actually involved the summer campaigns in the Icy Continent!
Radio Amateurs are a great family, now joined together in a WW marathon; a way to celebrate Guglielmo Marconi,  a way to remember the bicentenary 1820-2020 of the first exploration of man in Antarctica.

China to build its first permanent airfield in Antarctica

China is now building the country’s first permanent airport in the South Pole which will provide logistical support to scientists and enhance airspace management in Antarctica.

The 35th China’s Antarctic expedition last year had the major task to build the airport which will be completed shortly;  the selected site is an ice cap 28 km away from Zhongshan Antarctic Station (WAP CHN-Ø2), surveyed by China’s 33rd Antarctic expedition in 2017. The construction of the planned airport was carried out by China’s 35th Antarctic expedition and now the Country is therefore joining the US, Russia, Britain, Australia and New Zealand among others in having airfields in the Antarctic, which is rich in natural resources such as silver, gold, platinum and coal.

Chinese scientists built a 4 kilometer-long, 50 meters wide runway for fixed-wing aircraft in 2009 during the 25th expedition in the Antarctic. In 2010, an airport called Feiying was constructed on the ice sheet, according to the earlier official Chinese media reports. According to Digital Paper, China’s first permanent airport in Antarctica, will facilitate the nation’s research and expeditions on the Icy continent.

Source: https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/international/business/china-to-build-first-permanent-airport-at-south-pole/articleshow/66427652.cms?from=mdr

Message from Yuri Zaruba UA9OBA, President of RRC

Approaching the New Year, our good friend and President of the Russian Robinson Club,  Yuri Zaruba UA9OBA (here in a picture of 25 years ago … with Irina Zaruba & Gianni Varetto I1HYW), has posted a WW message on the RRC web site with the wishes for the coming 2020.   

Looks like 2020 will be full of new projects; and for the Antarctic fans  it falls into the 200th Anniversary of discovering Antarctica … a good oportunity to join it!

Check: http://robinsons.ru/news/congratulation_on_the_new_year_2020_and_christmas_from_rrc_hq/2019-12-30-500 

By entering the above RRC website,  everyone can print a 2020 calendar;  it’s a gift from RRC-HQ (TNX RA1ZZ) to Radio amateurs WW.Alternatively, the calendar is available at: https://i.imgur.com/dZU43vK.jpg   By the New Year’s holiday gives all radio amateurs.

WAP is happy to join the RRC Antarctic Anniversary celebration.

TNX UA9OBA, UA9OPA(N3QQ) and RZ3EC

Merry Christmas from WAP

WAP Staff wish everyone a very Merry Christmas.

Tho the thousands of our readers, to the Antarctic WAP followers, to the personnel actually involved in the so very remote Research bases  in Antarctica, to the Hams Worldwide who enjoy Antarctica as we do,

Season’s Greetings

Max IK1GPG, Betty IK1QFM, Gianni I1HYW, Floyd KK3Q @ Worldwide Antarctic Program

Pavlo Tarasovych, UT1KY “Antarctica, the sixth Continent”

Last tuesday dec. 17,  Pavlo Tarasoviych UT1KY,  was the guest author in a presentation of the book “Antarctica, the sixth Continent” to the students of the high school .
Pavlo Tarasovych (Ham radio callsign UT1KY)  is a Ukrainian biologist; from 2000 to 2001 he was a member of the fifth Ukrainian Antarctic scientific expedition.
Antarctica has always been a land of interests by researchers from different countries, people want to know more about its plant and animal world. In his book, the author gives historical references and reports from the southern continent and the Ukrainian ” Academic Vernadsky ” Station (WAP UKR-Ø1).

A significant interest to the reader is a description of animals and birds that the pictorial book contains. Being a source of interest, the book  will capture not only the fantasy of the children or the wish to learn of students but also all those who love nature.

If interested, the book can be requested directly to: Pavlo Tarasovych, P.O. Box 85, Rivne, 33027, Ukraine

Chilean Air Force C130 crashed on the way to Antarctica

A very shocked news did reach the Antarctic community.

A Chilean C130 with 38 souls aboard, tragically crashes into the Drake Passage halfway from Punta Arenas to the Chilean Eduardo Frei Montalva Antarctic Air Base (WAP CHL-Ø5) on King George Island.

The aircraft took off monday dec. 9th from the southern city of Punta Arenas in Chilean Patagonia at 16:55 local time (19:55 GMT) heading to the main Chilean Base in Antarctica to provide logistical support to that Base.

Drake Passage is a body of water connecting the South Atlantic and South Pacific oceans, and is known for treacherous weather conditions. Local weather was good at the time of the plane’s disappearance and would have had enough fuel to keep airborne until 00:40.

Air Force Gen Francisco Torres said that the search for the plane had “begun immediately” after it had failed to arrive at the military base in Antarctica. Eight planes and four ships are taking part in the search operation. An initial overflight of the area where communication was lost failed to yield any sign of the missing plane. Rescuers are currently searching inside a 60-mile radius from the last point of contact.

Chile operates nine bases  in Antarctica.

TNX and credit: https://www.elinformadorchile.cl/2019/12/09/tragedia-avion-c130-hercules-de-la-fach-se-estrella-con-38-pasajeros-al-sur-de-la-antartica/

Czeck plays an important role in Antarctica

The future of Antarctica has been discussed at important Prague conference. For the first time in history, Prague is hosting the Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting (ATCM), the annual conference focused on environmental conservation, the impact of tourism and research cooperation on the White Continent.

The event was attended by representatives of 29 countries, which are jointly tasked with taking care of Antarctica.

There are several conditions that have to be fulfilled to obtain a so-called consultative status: One of them is sustainable and high-quality Antarctic research; Czech Republic has been running for 13 years already, the Johann Gregor Mendel Station (WAP CZE-NEW) in Antarctica, and it has a valuable and sustainable national, it has asked (via the Ministry of Foreign Affairs) for the consultative status, which was granted to the country in 2014.”

Prague Declaration
“The Prague declaration is to be issued on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the signing of the Antarctica Treaty Signing. So the states will be confirming their assignment to the original treaty and expressing their will to maintain Antarctica for peace and science.”

What is the value of the Antarctic ecosystem in the age of global environmental change?

-It is absolutely unique. Antarctica, with its location around the South Pole, plays a crucial role in the global climate system. The white color of the Antarctic continent reflects the energy of the Sun, especially during the Austral summer. So it functions like a giant cooler for the whole globe. This is why it is so important to protect it.- said  Pavel Kapler, manager of the Czech Johann Gregor Mendel Station (WAP CZE-NEW) shown on the pic above.

Thanks and credit to: https://www.radio.cz/en/section/curraffrs/future-of-antarctica-discussed-at-important-prague-conference

Two young researchers selected for Antarctic Polar exploration

Cochin University of Science and Technology (CUSAT) in Kochi, India, did select two young researchers to participate in the 39th Indian-Antarctic Science Exploration. 

Manoj Mani of the electronics department and Amal Joy, department of atmospheric sciences, have been selected to participate in the exploration program which will be organized during December-February.

As part of the exploration, the duo will review the data collected by the Movable Atmospheric Radar (MARA), located at Maitri Station  (WAP IND-Ø3), the Indian scientific site in Antarctica (picture aside).

Dr. K Satheeshan, head, Department of Atmospheric Sciences, is the Principal Investigator of ‘Mara’, the Swedish radar which was handed over to Cusat for upkeep and maintenance on the basis of a tripartite MoU between Swedish Institute of Space Physics, Goa-Antarctic Marine Research Center and Cusat signed in 2017.

Source: https://www.newindianexpress.com/cities/kochi/2019/nov/30/cusat-researchers-selected-for-antarctic-polar-exploration-2069343.html

TNX Bhagwati VU3BPZ

Antarctica Day; 60 years of the Antarctic Treaty

Sixty years ago, twelve nations agreed to set aside Antarctica “for peaceful purposes only”, as a scientific preserve for “the progress of all mankind”,  met in Washington, D.C. to sign an unprecedented document: the Antarctic Treaty. The original signatories were the 12 countries active in Antarctica during the International Geophysical Year (IGY) .

The year was 1959 and the end of the International Geophysical Year had seen research in Antarctica take giant leaps forward. Scientists from all over the world were making incredible discoveries in what was a largely unexplored environment. But after some saw the potential for conflict between nations who were making territorial claims to parts of the continent, the Antarctic Treaty was negotiated and signed on the 1st of December 1959 and enshrines Antarctica as a place of peace, science and international cooperation. Today 54 nations are party to the Treaty.

Antarctic nations around the world are today marking the 60th Anniversary of one of the world’s most successful international agreements, the Antarctic Treaty.

Have cracks started to appear in the Antarctic Treaty?

Professor Anne-Marie Brady has been worried about China’s intentions in Antarctica for years.

Prof. Brady is wodering: -Is the 60 years old Antarctic Treaty robust enough to hold back China?-

Well, China now controls a wedge of Antarctica and its intentions on the southern continent are increasingly worrying some experts.

China’s wedge, falls within the area of Antarctica that’s claimed by Australia. About 5000 kilometres south of Perth, China maintains a base on the icy coast called Zhongshan.

About 500 kilometers inland, China operates a second base called Taishan. Another 750 kilometers inland is China’s Kunlun Station. The South Pole is about 1000km further South.

Read the full article at: https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/117526752/have-cracks-started-to-appear-in-the-antarctic-treaty

R/V Laura Bassi, Italian Ice Breacker

RRS Ernest Shackleton leased for twenty years by the British Antarctic Survey (BAS), has returned to her owners, Norwegian shipping Company G.C. Rieber Shipping on 30 April 2019.

In May 2019 the I/B was purchased by the Italian National Institute of Oceanography and Experimental Geophysics (OGS), thanks to a grant from the MIUR (Italian Ministry of University and Research),  to be used as a research vessel and logistical support in Antarctica. So I/B Enest Shackleton, has been renamed as  R/V Laura Bassi, heir of the old R/V OGS Explora and R/V Italica.

Oceanographic vessel R/V Laura Bass, will be the leading actress of the Italian research programs at the poles for the next twenty years,.after the change of property from BAS to the Italian OGS, and from now and ahead will be used for scientific activity and logistical support for Italian Antarctic explorations.

We do not have information so far, of any Ham radio activity from onboard.

Massive Snow Cannons Could Save West Antarctica’s Ice Sheet

Antarctica’s western ice sheet is in danger of collapsing, but scientists may have an unusual solution: blasting trillions of tons of artificial snow across glaciers with snow cannons.

Spraying this artificial blizzard into the coastal area around Thwaites and Pine Island glaciers could stabilize the failing West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS), reducing ice loss that could drive potentially catastrophic sea level rise, new research finds.

But as intriguing as that extreme solution may sound, there would be considerable drawbacks; the effort would be prohibitively expensive and could harm sensitive ocean ecosystems, the researchers reported

Study recommends special protection of emperor penguin

In a new study published in the journal Biological Conservation, an international team of researchers recommends the need for additional measures to protect and conserve one of the most iconic Antarctic species – the emperor penguin (Aptenodyptes forsteri).
The researchers reviewed over 150 studies on the species and its environment as well as its behavior and character in relation to its breeding biology. Current climate change projections indicate that rising temperatures and changing wind patterns will impact negatively the sea ice on which emperor penguins breed; and some studies indicate that emperor populations will decrease by more than 50% over the current century. The researchers therefore recommend that the IUCN status for the species be escalated to ‘vulnerable‘; the species is currently listed as ‘near threatened‘ on the IUCN Red List. They conclude that improvements in climate change forecasting in relation to impacts on Antarctic wildlife would be beneficial, and recommend that the emperor penguin should be listed by the Antarctic Treaty as a Specially Protected Species.
More info at: https://eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2019-10/bas-srs100819.php

Antarctic marine sanctuary in a deadlock for eighth consecutive year

A multinational effort to create giant marine sanctuaries around Antarctica to counter climate change and protect fragile ocean ecosystems has failed for an eighth straight year.

Opposition from China and Russia torpedoed the proposal at the annual meeting of the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR), a consortium of 25 nations plus the European Union, sources familiar with the closed-door discussions told AFP. Beijing and Moscow have been key in blocking the scheme since it was first floated by Australia, France and the EU in 2010 before being scaled down in 2017 in an attempt to win greater support.

The meeting in the Australian city of Hobart, which ended late Friday, considered proposals to create conservation parks in three key areas off Antarctica covering a total of some three million square kilometres (1.2 million square miles).

The areas are home to penguins, seals, toothfish, whales and huge numbers of krill ,  a staple food for many species. The series of proposed marine protected areas (MPAs) would protect that marine life and crucially allow migration between areas for breeding and foraging.

Read more at: https://www.firstpost.com/tech/science/talks-about-an-antarctic-marine-sanctuary-in-a-deadlock-for-eighth-consecutive-year-7596391.html

Post Office team open at Antarctic Port Lockroy Station (WAP GBR-Ø1)

Five people have beaten off competition from more than 200 people to run the UK’s most remote post office in Antarctica. The team will man the UK Antarctic Heritage Trust’s Post Office at Port Lockroy for four months.

The first permanent British Base to be established on the Antarctic Peninsula, it has been run as a museum and Post Office for tourists since 2006.

The new postmasters start work in November and return to the UK in March. Each year, the UK Antarctic Heritage Trust, which is based in Cambridge, advertises for a new intake of seasonal postal workers.

Hundreds apply despite there being no running water or mains electricity and the job involving working in sub-zero temperatures 11,000 miles away from home.

As well as running the office, museum and shop, the chosen team monitors the island’s resident gentoo penguin population.

Several brooms are sent to the team each year to clean the penguin droppings outside the building – which the trust admits would otherwise look like “a penguin toilet”.

Thanks and credit to: https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-cambridgeshire-49768448