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Climate change may cause expansion to ice-free areas across Antarctica

Ice-free areas in Antarctica could expand by close to 25 per cent by 2100 and drastically change the biodiversity of the continent, research published this week in Nature has shown.
The paper examines, for the first time, the impact of climate change on ice-free areas in Antarctica, which currently cover less than one per cent of the continent, yet are home to almost all Antarctic plants and animals. A team of international researchers, led by the Australian Antarctic Program (AAD), shows a warming climate will cause ice-free areas to expand and join together.

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Antarctic ice shelves
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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.
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CryoSat reveals Antarctica in 3D

Around 250 million measurements taken by ESA's CryoSat over the last six years have been used to create a unique 3D view of Antarctica, offering a snapshot of the undulating surface of this vast ice sheet.
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Antarctic 'pole of ignorance'
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Antarctic 'pole of ignorance' finally addressed

The last major unknown region on Earth has just been surveyed: the South Pole.
Although the Americans have had a base at the bottom of the planet for decades, what lies underneath the thick ice there has been a mystery.
Now, European scientists have flown instruments back and forth across the pole to map its hidden depths.

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Antarctic Peninsula in 'dramatic' ice loss

Satellites have seen a sudden dramatic change in the behaviour of glaciers on the Antarctica Peninsula, according to a Bristol University-led study.
The ice streams were broadly stable up until 2009, since when they have been losing on the order of 56 billion tonnes of ice a year to the ocean.

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Sudden onset of ice loss in Antarctica detected

Using measurements of the elevation of the Antarctic ice sheet made by a suite of satellites, the researchers found that the Southern Antarctic Peninsula showed no signs of change up to 2009. Around 2009, multiple glaciers along a vast coastal expanse, measuring some 750km in length, suddenly started to shed ice into the ocean at a nearly constant rate of 60 cubic km, or about 55 trillion litres of water, each year.
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Larsen B Ice Shelf
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NASA Study Shows Antarctica's Larsen B Ice Shelf Nearing Its Final Act

A new NASA study finds the last remaining section of Antarctica's Larsen B Ice Shelf, which partially collapsed in 2002, is quickly weakening and likely to disintegrate completely before the end of the decade.
A team led by Ala Khazendar of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California, found the remnant of the Larsen B Ice Shelf is flowing faster, becoming increasingly fragmented and developing large cracks. Two of its tributary glaciers also are flowing faster and thinning rapidly.

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Antarctic sub gauges sea ice thickness

A novel autonomous sub has acquired the first detailed, high-resolution 3D maps of Antarctic sea ice.
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Underwater robot sheds new light on Antarctic sea ice

The first detailed, high-resolution 3-D maps of Antarctic sea ice have been developed using an underwater robot. Scientists from the UK, USA and Australia say the new technology provides accurate ice thickness measurements from areas that were previously too difficult to access.
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Antarctic Team Discovers Mechanism for Massive Ice Shelf Collapse

New research has found that the cataclysmic break-up of a large floating ice shelf in the early 2000s was primarily the result of a rise in air temperature and melting at the surface of the ice, rather than a rapid change in the structure of the glacier.
An international team of scientists, including the British Antarctic Survey, studied the geologic history of the area of the Antarctic Peninsula where the Larsen B ice shelf disintegrated, the portion of Antarctica that extends northwards toward South America.

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