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# Sea ice can control Antarctic ice sheet stability, new SPRI research finds

SPRI researchers have used over 40 years of satellite observations and ocean and atmosphere records to show that abrupt changes in offshore sea ice cover can either safeguard from, or set in motion, the final rifting and calving of icebergs from even large Antarctic ice shelves.

The research, led by Dr. Frazer Christie, has been published as an article in the journal Nature Geoscience.

This research was supported in part by the Flotilla Foundation, Marine Archaeology Consultants Switzerland, and the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation.

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# Professor Philip Gibbard awarded the Merit Medal by the German Quaternary Association (Deuqua)

Photo by Angela Coe 2020.

Emeritus Professor Philip Gibbard has been awarded the Verdienstmedaille (Merit Medal) by the German Quaternary Association (Deuqua). The medal is awarded biennially as a special honour for outstanding scientific achievements in Quaternary research.

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# Ancient subglacial water paths revealed around Antarctica

A new paper involving colleagues at the British Antarctic Survey, Neil Arnold and Julian Dowdeswell at SPRI, and other international colleagues, has been selected as an Editor's Highlight by the Journal of Geophysical Research: Earth Surface.

The paper analyses the results of new observations in the Marguerite Trough area, Antarctic Peninsula, using a combination of echosounders, remotely operated vehicles and sediment coring. The data show a complex network of channels formed as the Antarctic Ice Sheet was retreating from its peak extent at the last glacial maximum tens of thousands of years ago, including potholes and small, branching channels on the floors of the larger channels formed by erosion by highly turbulent water flow. A hydrological model developed at SPRI shows that such water flow was associated with floods from subglacial lakes that happened every few tens to hundreds of years.

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# Viking partners with the Scott Polar Research Institute to advance scientific research into the Polar Regions

Professor Julian Dowdeswell and Viking Executive Vice President Karine Hagen at the Scott Polar Museum. Image courtesy of Viking.

We pleased to announce the establishment of a new professorship to advance research in the field of polar environmental science, thanks to a generous endowment by Viking.

The Viking Polar Marine Geoscience Fund will endow the Viking Chair of Polar Marine Geoscience, the first fully funded professorship based at the Scott Polar Research Institute. This new post will enhance the scientific leadership at the Institute and enable the development of new lines of research into the past, present and likely future behaviour of polar ice sheets, sea ice and ocean circulation.

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# Shackleton's ship Endurance found

The wreck of Sir Ernest Shackleton's ship Endurance has been found 3000m deep on the floor of the Weddell Sea.

Ernest Shackleton's diary from the expedition is cared for by the Institute's archive, which is available to researchers working on the history of the polar regions.

In February, the BBC visited the Institute to make a film about the diary and some of our other Shackleton related collections, to mark the departure of the search expedition.

# Base of Greenland Ice Sheet melts much faster than expected

Poul Christoffersen

New research in the Department of Geography shows that meltwater falling through fractures and cracks on the Greenland Ice Sheet ends up melting the bottom of the ice at extremely high rates.

Huge quantities of meltwater are produced every summer and when it descends to the bed – a kilometre or more below, energy is converted into heat in a process like the hydroelectric power generated by large dams. To measure the effect, Dr Tun Jan Young and Professor Poul Christoffersen, both from the Scott Polar Research Institute, used radio-echo sounding and boreholes drilled to the bed of Store Glacier in the EU-funded RESPONDER project.

The study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, reports unexpectedly warm basal conditions and melt rates that are approximately 100 times greater than expected. The research shed light on an over-looked ice-sheet mass-loss mechanism, which is not yet included in projections of global sea level rise.

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# On the Polar Road with Penguin Classics Podcasts: The Blazing World with Michael Bravo

Henry Eliot, Penguin Classics

In a new podcast, Dr Michael Bravo explores the idea of multiple worlds joined at the North Pole in The Blazing World by Margaret Cavendish, the maverick Duchess of Newcastle, proto-feminist and pioneering author of the first recognised work of polar fantasy. Blending fantasy, philosophy and seventeenth-century science, the podcast visits the Polar Museum, the Whipple Museum and Cambridge University Library. They meet Dr Joshua Nall, an expert on the history of science, and Dr Emily Dourish, deputy keeper of rare books.

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# The search for the Endurance

Charlotte Connelly, Curator of the Polar Museum at SPRI, spoke on the BBC Today programme (at 2h46s) about the Weddell Sea expedition in search of Shackleton's lost ship, Endurance.

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# Women of Snow and Ice

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

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).

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