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# Rapid melting of the world’s largest ice shelf linked to solar heat in the ocean

A study conducted at the Scott Polar Research Institute links melting of the world's largest ice shelf to solar heating of the ocean surface. The findings may have important implications for the stability of ice shelf.

In a study of Antarctica's Ross Ice Shelf, which covers an area roughly the size of France, the team spent several years building up a record of how the north-west sector of this vast ice shelf interacts with the ocean beneath it. Their results, reported in the journal Nature Geoscience, show that the ice is melting much more rapidly than previously thought due to inflowing warm water.

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# Glaciers and surface winds in a Himalayan valley

Emily Potter

PhD student, Emily Potter, with supervisors Ian Willis (SPRI), Andrew Orr (BAS) and colleagues have published their latest research in the Journal of Geophysical Research, which has also been featured as an Editors' Highlight in EOS.

The work uses field measurements and a regional climate model to determine the patterns and causes of wind acceleration around the Khumbu Valley, Nepal, and how they change over diurnal cycles, and between the monsoon and dry seasons.

It confirms strong daytime up-valley winds and weak nighttime winds in both seasons, and shows that pressure gradient forces are the dominant cause of wind acceleration, but that turbulence and advection are important too. The forcing terms are highly variable across the valley, and also strongly influenced by the presence of glaciers. When glaciers are removed from the model in the monsoon run, the wind continues much further up the valley, showing how local valley winds might respond to future glacier shrinkage.

This work will help the development of regional climate models in the Hindu-Kush Karakoram Himalaya, which are crucial for predicting future precipitation and glacier melt in the region.

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# Search for Endurance ends

Following a programme of pioneering Antarctic scientific research, and successfully reaching the Endurance wreck site, as plotted 104 years ago by Frank Worsley, the Weddell Sea Expedition team have sadly been forced to conclude the current search for the Endurance.

Professor Julian Dowdeswell, Director of SPRI and Expedition Chief Scientist, said: 'Through the scientific data gathered during the Expedition, we have deepened our knowledge and understanding of Antarctic oceanography and ecosystems, and our observations on the glaciology and geology will play a critical role in our understanding of Antarctic ice shelves and sea ice and, importantly, the changes that are occurring here today.'

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# Surface lakes cause Antarctic ice shelves to 'flex'

Alison Banwell

A team of British and American researchers, co-led by Alison Banwell and Ian Willis at the Scott Polar Research Institute, has measured how much the McMurdo ice shelf in Antarctica flexes in response to the filling and draining of meltwater lakes on its surface. This type of flexing had been hypothesised before and simulated by computer models, but this is the first time the phenomenon has been measured in the field. The results are reported in the journal Nature Communications.

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# Does the north pole still matter?

.Is the North Pole still important, when most of us will never visit it and know almost nothing about it? A new book by Dr Michael Bravo charts the history of the North Pole and finds a place that is both real and imaginary, with fascinating stories to tell.

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# Polar Educators International Conference

Calling all Polar Educators and Researchers! Registration to take part in the Polar Educators International 2019 Conference is now open. The 4th biennial workshop takes place in Cambridge, at the Scott Polar Research Institute and Christ's College, and will discuss 'Education and Polar Science in Action'. Find out more and book your place.

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# Bridging Binaries: LGBTQ+ tours of the Polar Museum in the News

New LGBTQ+ tours of the Polar Museum have been in the spotlight, along with tours of several other University of Cambridge Museums. The New York Times and The Times have both sent reporters along to find out about the spectrum of identities that exist across time, place and culture, from same-sex behaviour among penguins to the first Pride event to take place in Antarctica.

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# The Forum: The Top of the World

Dr Michael Bravo appeared on BBC World Service The Forum: The Top of the World discussing the North Pole as a place of history and mythology.

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# Climate change curation project for school students

The Scott Polar Research Institute and Selwyn College Cambridge are excited to announce a unique opportunity for Year 12 Students to curate an exhibition about climate change as part of a project that will run from Monday 19th to Saturday 24th August 2019.

Over five days a group of year 12 students will join the Institute to explore cutting edge polar research with some of the world's leading experts, and work as part of an experienced museum team to plan an exhibition from start to finish. The finished exhibition will go on public display at The Polar Museum from late 2019 into 2020, the Scott Polar Research Institute's centenary year.

Applications are open until 12 noon on 26 April 2019.

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# Julian Dowdeswell argues for Shackleton on BBC's 'Icons'

BBC

Director of the Scott Polar Research Institute and Professor of Physical Geography Julian Dowdeswell appeared on the BBC's 'Icons' series last night, making the case for Shackleton as the greatest explorer of the 20th Century. The series seeks to establish the greatest icon of the twentieth century over the course of seven different categories. The results of the explorers category will be announced tonight!

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