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Under the ice in Antarctica

13 Aug

One of my talks is on ‘Antarctica To-day’ and this is a subject that it is remarkably difficult for a retired Chest Physician to encompass!! The scientific developments are so numerous and so important.

It is fascinating to see a map of the bedrock of Antarctica, mountains below the ice surface, these huge elevations contrasting with some areas on the continent that are well below sea level. The margins of Antarctica continue to change,  volumes of snow are lost into the oceans causing sea levels to rise. It is anticipated that the information from BEDMAP will help in the forecast of future developments.

In West Antarctica, a British Antarctic Survey team aim to penetrate a subglacial lake (Ellsworth), hidden below 3 km of ice  and never accessed. The project hopes to find clues about Earth’s past climate by collecting water and sediment samples. It may be that unique forms of microbes will be identified that have survived in the dark and cold for many, many centuries.

The South Polar Telescope continues to inform about the farthest reaches of the planet.

Can anyone keep up?!