skip to primary navigation skip to content
 

Recent news

Recent news

Atom icon

# Daughters of the Snow (BBC Sounds and Radio 4)

A BBC Sounds / Radio 4 program, "Daughters of the Snow", broadcast this week and available to listen online, featured Dr Michael Bravo.

This collaboration between Dr Bravo, radio producer Andrea Rangecroft, and the artist and poet Himali Singh Soin, explores the North Pole as a mythologised space in literature. Reading novels like Mary Shelley's Frankenstein and Arthur Conan Doyle's Captain of the Pole Star at school in India, the North Pole has often been portrayed as a blank, white, mysterious and uninhabited place. The conversations in this programme, set to music, discuss the consequences of mythologising this huge region of diverse lands and cultures at the top of the world.

Read more …

# Greenland Ice Sheet lakes drain in the winter

Ian Willis

PhD student Corinne Benedek and supervisor Ian Willis have discovered that large lakes on the surface of the Greenland Ice Sheet drain in the Arctic winter. They used satellite radar images to identify large, anomalous, sudden and sustained increases in radar backscatter, showing a switch from a water to an ice surface.

It is known that lakes can drain catastrophically in the summer but this is the first time they have been seen to disappear in the winter.

Using other satellite data they confirmed the lake drainages, which show a lowering of the surface by several metres and the loss of up to 20 million cubic metres of water, the equivalent of around 8000 olympic size swimming pools emptying to the bottom of the ice sheet over a few days, possibly just a few hours.

The findings have implications for the speed at which the ice sheet flows to the ocean.

The work is discussed further on the University of Cambridge news pages and is published in The Cryosphere.

Read more …

# Big Freeze Art Festival launches

The Big Freeze

Online art festival, 4-14 March 2021

www.bit.ly/BigFreezeArtFest #BigFreezeArtFest

This spring, the Scott Polar Research Institute is holding an online art festival. Featuring work from the Polar Museum's collections, Friends of SPRI artists in residence and a range of other polar artists and film makers, the Big Freeze art festival will be the perfect way to wave goodbye to winter.

Watch

Throughout the festival we'll be sharing short films and interviews with a range of artists. Find out about the Inuit traditions that inspire Alaskan artist Art Oomittuk's work, watch a short film about Lesley Burr's residency in the Canadian Arctic and watch a film showing a day in the studio with Theo Crutchley-Mack. Most of our programme will be streamed over social media, you can see the full programme on our website.

Read

The Big Freeze art festival includes the Big Freeze online exhibition. Featuring work from our participating artists and from our collection, the exhibition will offer the opportunity to explore at your own pace.

Do

You can get involved too by joining in with The Big Freeze Challenge: Polar self Portraits! How about a polar self portrait of… yourself? The festival will open with a special online screening of artist and curator Zsuzsanna Ardó's Polar Self Portraits project, and the invitation to you to join in by imagining yourself in the polar regions and creating your own self portrait. Share your image with us using the #BigFreezeArtFest hashtag on social media.

Read more …

# Environmental Diplomacy in the Arctic

Geographer Richard Powell appeared today, 19 January 2021, as a witness before the Foreign Affairs Committee's inquiry into 'Environmental Diplomacy'. The inquiry is examining the UK Government's strategic approach to environmental diplomacy, particularly in the context of COP26.

Richard contributed evidence to a session addressing the geopolitics and governance of the polar regions. The Committee business is all being held virtually.

Read more …

# Nimrod expedition sledging flag acquired for the nation

The Scott Polar Research Institute and the National Maritime Museum have acquired the sledging flag and sledge that Dr Eric Marshall (1879-1963) used on Ernest Shackleton's British Antarctic Expedition (BAE) of 1907-1909. The sledge and sledging flag are the two most recent acquisition supported by the National Heritage Memorial Fund, with a grant of £204,700.

The flag will rejoin its partner, Shackleton's sledging flag from the same expedition, in the collections of the Scott Polar Research Institute. It will be cared for in a temperature, humidity and light controlled environment so that it can be preserved for future generations. The Institute's Polar Museum hopes to update its displays relating to the Nimrod expedition to highlight not only the feat of almost reaching the geographic South Pole, but also the scientific goals and achievements of the expedition.

Read more …

# 100 Years of the Scott Polar Research Institute

Today we have been celebrating the centenary of the Scott Polar Research Institute, with a day looking back at the past 100 years of polar research conducted at the Institute.

Although 2020 has been a year of unexpected challenges, the SPRI community continues to work together to continue the legacy of Captain Robert Falcon Scott and his four companions who died on their return from the South Pole in 1912, and Frank Debenham, who was the driving force behind the founding of the Institute. We are very much looking forward to seeing what the future holds, and another 100 years of SPRI.

The Polar Museum recently unveiled its new exhibition, dedicated to the Scott Polar Research Institute centenary 'A Century of Polar Research', which you can also now view online.

Read more …

# Dr Christine Batchelor

European Geosciences Union

We are pleased to pass on the excellent news that Dr Christine Batchelor will receive the Outstanding Early Career Scientist Award for 2021 from the Cryospheric Sciences Division of the European Geosciences Union (EGU).

Winners are honoured for their important contributions to Earth, planetary and space sciences.

# Arctic Ocean sediments reveal permafrost thawing during past climate warming

Björn Eriksson

A new paper co-authored by Francesco Muschitiello has used seafloor sediments of the Arctic Ocean to understand how permafrost responds to climate warming and found evidence of past permafrost thawing during climate warming events at the end of the last ice age.

The study also shows for the first time that permafrost thawing occurred concomitantly with the release of large quantities of atmospheric CO2 as recorded in Antarctic ice cores. The findings suggest that Arctic warming by only a few degrees Celsius may be sufficient to disturb large areas covered by permafrost and potentially affect the Earth's climate system.

Read more …

# Dr Simon Ommanney

It is with great sadness that we share news of the passing of Dr Simon Ommanney, who spent a number of years at the Scott Polar Research Institute as the Secretary General of the International Glaciological Society.

Dr Ommanney was committed to the science of glaciology, devoting his academic life and career in England and Canada, and continuing to advance the discipline during his retirement.

Our thoughts are with his family at this time.

# Deep channels link ocean to vulnerable West Antarctic glacier

James Kirkham

Newly-discovered deep seabed channels beneath Thwaites Glacier in West Antarctica may be the pathway for warm ocean water to melt the underside of the ice.

Researchers from UK and US International Thwaites Glacier Collaboration, including James Kirkham from SPRI, collected data from offshore of the glacier during January-March 2019 aboard the icebreaker the RV Nathaniel B Palmer.

Exceptional sea-ice break up in early 2019 enabled the team to survey over 2000 square kilometres of sea floor right in front of the glacier — an area which had previously been hidden beneath part of the floating ice shelf extending from Thwaites Glacier.

The team's findings reveal that the sea floor contains deep channels leading under the ice shelf towards the grounding line which may provide pathways along which warm water can reach the underside of Thwaites Glacier, causing it to melt and contribute to global sea-level rise.

Read more …


Browse earlier articles…