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Warm winds – new insight into what weakens Antarctic ice shelves

New research describes for the first time the role that warm, dry winds play in influencing the behaviour of Antarctic ice shelves. Presenting this week at a European conference scientists from British Antarctic Survey (BAS) explain how spring and summer winds, known as föhn winds, are prevalent on the Larsen C Ice Shelf, West Antarctica and creating melt pools. The Larsen C Ice Shelf is of particular interest to scientists because it of the collapse of Larsen A in 1995 and Larsen B in 2002.

The USS Jeannette

Weather records found frozen in time

Weather records found frozen in time, by Simon de Bruxelles

In 1879 the crew of the USS Jeannette became trapped en route to the North Pole, locked in the Arctic deep freeze for two years.

There was not much to do apart from watch out for polar bears and keep a meticulous record of the weather, noting down the barometric pressure, wind direction, sea temperature and visibility. The information in the logbooks that survived the ordeal, unlike two thirds of the crew, is now helping to recreate a day-to-day history of the world’s weather over the past 200 years.

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Antarctic penguin colony repeatedly decimated by volcanic eruptions

BAS press release: One of the largest colonies of gentoo penguins in Antarctica was decimated by volcanic eruptions several times during the last 7,000 years according to a new study. An international team of researchers, led by British Antarctic Survey (BAS), studied ancient penguin guano and found the colony came close to extinction several times due to ash fall from the nearby Deception Island volcano. Their results are published this week (Tuesday 11 April) in Nature Communications.