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Latest news from SPRI

Women of Snow and Ice

4th January, 2022

SPRI PhD student Morgan Seag, SPRI researcher Dr Becky Dell and SPRI Institute Associate Dr Ali Banwell are among interviewees in a special ice-themed edition of BBC Radio 4's Women's Hour.

Listen (from around 28:00) as women researchers in Antarctica are interviewed for the programme; find out how women broke through the ice ceiling to create opportunities and become leaders in their fields, and hear from researchers in the field working on the George VI ice sheet.

SPRI research in the New York Times

17th December, 2021

As part of his doctoral research at SPRI, Dr Praveen Teleti investigated the historical variability of Antarctic sea ice, making use of whaling logbooks cared for by our archive. The logbooks contained invaluable climate measurements, including air and water temperatures, barometric pressure, wind strength, from the 1930s and 1950s.

You can read more about Dr Teleti's work in a new article in the New York Times, or for a more detailed account see "A historical Southern Ocean climate dataset from whaling ships' logbooks" in the Geoscience Data Journal (open access).

The Anthropocene defined as an event, not an epoch

15th November, 2021

Professor Phil Gibbard writes: What is the Anthropocene? When did it start? Ask ten experts and you're likely to get ten different answers. The solution is to define the Anthropocene as a geological event: the aggregated effects of human activities that are transforming the Earth system and altering biodiversity, producing a substantial record in sedimentary strata and in human-modified ground.

This definition, published in the Geoscience journal Episodes, is applicable across academic fields and explicitly recognises that the Anthropocene interval varies in time and space.

Stability of Antarctic Ice Shelves

5th November, 2021

Scott Polar Research Institute's Ian Willis and Becky Dell are on their way to Antarctica to retrieve data from instruments that were set up two years ago. They are currently quarantining in the Falkland Islands with their colleague Laura Stevens (University of Oxford) waiting for runway conditions at the British Antarctic Survey's Rothera base to improve, before making their onward journey.

Working with colleagues Alison Banwell (University of Colorado Boulder) and Doug MacAyeal (University of Chicago) the team will use the data to examine in detail how much melting occurs across the ice shelf each summer, how much of that water ponds up in lakes, and how that melting and ponding causes the floating ice shelf to bend and possibly crack. The team's findings should improve our understanding of how ice shelves fracture and break up. This may be more likely in the future as melting around Antarctica's periphery increases, ultimately due to global warming.

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