Wiki Actu en

August 4, 2014

International team of scientists reports on Antarctic lead pollution

Filed under: Antarctica — admin @ 5:00 am

International team of scientists reports on Antarctic lead pollution

From Wikinews, the free news source you can write!
Jump to: navigation, search

Monday, August 4, 2014

File photo of the Antarctic, 2006.
Image: Andrew Mandemaker.

Antarctica
Other stories from Antarctica
Location of Antarctica

A map showing the location of Antarctica

To write, edit, start or view other articles on Antarctica, see the Antarctica Portal

Researchers from Australia, Denmark, Germany, Norway, United Kingdom, and the United States conducted lead concentration measurements of sixteen ice core samples, and found that industrial air pollution has persisted Antarctica since its arrival there in 1889 and remains significant in the current century. Their study was published in Scientific Reports on July 28, and covered in Nevada‘s Review journal this Saturday.

Lead was chosen to trace the industrial pollution of atmosphere because of its low natural concentrations in ecosystems, as well as unique ‘fingerprints‘ of different sources. Each lead ore deposit has its own distinct mixture of lead isotopes. Analysis of such characteristic isotopic signatures traced Broken Hill, Australia as the pioneering source of lead pollution in Antarctica, and even today its contribution remains significant. Coauthor Paul Vallelonga detailed, “Lead is a toxic heavy metal with strong potential to harm ecosystems […] While concentrations measured in Antarctic ice cores are very low, the records show that atmospheric concentrations and deposition rates increased approximately six-fold in the late 1880s, coincident with the start of mining at Broken Hill in southern Australia and smelting at nearby Port Pirie“. Lead author Joe McConnell noted, in Review journal, “A single industrial complex was enough to contaminate the entire continent of Antarctica thousands of kilometers away […] We’re still polluting Antarctica today”.

McConnell said in getting the cores he traveled to Antarctica “four or five” times. Each of the drilled samples is about 4 inches (10 cm) across and 100–500 feet (30–150 m) long. They were cut for storage in boxes, six three-foot sections per box weighing over 100 pounds (450 kg). A single ice core can be used by researchers in many experiments during the next several years.

Concentrations of lead on the Antarctic continent have declined after the 1990s, but remain around three times higher than before industrialization, despite banning of leaded petrol and similar emissions regulations. As McConnell said, “Our measurements indicate that approximately 660 tonnes [1.5 million pounds] of industrial lead have been deposited on the snow-covered surface of Antarctic during the past 130 years […] While recent contamination levels are lower, clearly detectable industrial contamination of the Antarctic continent persists today, so we still have a ways to go.”

Support for the study came from, amongst others, the U.S. National Science Foundation Division of Polar Programs, WAIS Divide Science Coordination Office, Ice Drilling and Design and Operations, the National Ice Core Laboratory, Raytheon Polar Services, and the 109th New York Air National Guard.



Sources

Bookmark-new.svg


This text comes from Wikinews. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 licence. For a complete list of contributors for this article, visit the corresponding history entry on Wikinews.

April 25, 2014

UK announces £200 million polar research ship

UK announces £200 million polar research ship

From Wikinews, the free news source you can write!
Jump to: navigation, search

Friday, April 25, 2014

Science and technology
Related articles
Wikinoticias Ciencia y Tecnología.svg
Collaborate!
  • Pillars of Wikinews writing
  • Writing an article

UK Chancellor George Osborne today announced a new £200 million research ship to ply Arctic and Antarctic waters.

Cquote1.svg The new vessel will make Nerc’s entire fleet, ton for ton, the most advanced scientific fleet in the world Cquote2.svg

—Nerc boss Professor Duncan Wingham

“One of the final frontiers in the world where there is still much discovery to be done are the polar oceans” said Osborne, explaining “our two current polar exploration ships are nearing the end of their life and need replacing. So I am delighted that we are investing in a new polar research ship to carry cutting edge British technology to put British scientists at the forefront of research in both the Antarctic and the Arctic oceans”.

The icebreaking ship is to belong to the British Antarctic Survey and is funded from a £7 billion pot earmarked for science over the next six or seven years. Osborne told those gathered at Cambridge‘s Laboratory of Molecular Biology today he had “made it [his] personal priority in government to support [scientific] endeavour.”

RRS James Clark Ross, one of two aging ships currently filling the role.
Image: Tom L-C.

Funding body the Natural Environment Research Council (Nerc) says the current ships, RRS James Clark Ross and RRS Ernest Shackleton, are to carry on operating at least until 2020. They were built in 1990 and 1995 respectively; RRS Ernest Shackleton is a leased Norwegian vessel. The new vessel is intended to be able to stay in the field longer and, unlike RRS James Clark Ross, feature a helipad.

Other specifications include the ability to launch unmanned submarines and scientific gliders, devices towed behind ships to gather data, as well as power through 2m (6.6ft) thick ice at three knots.

Osborne also announced the start of consultations on how to spend the rest of the £7 billion. The announcements come shortly after Nerc completed upgrades to ocean-going ‘bluewater’ ships RRS Discovery and RRS James Cook. “The new vessel will make Nerc’s entire fleet, ton for ton, the most advanced scientific fleet in the world” according to Nerc head Professor Duncan Wingham, speaking to the BBC.



Sources

Bookmark-new.svg


This text comes from Wikinews. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 licence. For a complete list of contributors for this article, visit the corresponding history entry on Wikinews.

January 21, 2014

Cold as ice: Wikinews interviews Marymegan Daly on unusual new sea anemone

Cold as ice: Wikinews interviews Marymegan Daly on unusual new sea anemone

From Wikinews, the free news source you can write!
Jump to: navigation, search
Science and technology
Related articles
  • U.S. Secret Service conducts drone exercise
  • Southwest Airlines grounds 128 uninspected planes
  • University of Utah study finds suicide may be linked to air pollution
  • Fire ravages large academic library in Moscow
  • Rare megamouth shark found dead in Pio Duran, Philippines
Wikinoticias Ciencia y Tecnología.svg
Collaborate!
  • Pillars of Wikinews writing
  • Writing an article

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

In late 2010 a geological expedition to Antarctica drilled through the Ross Ice Shelf so they could send an ROV under it. What they found was unexpected: Sea anemones. In their thousands they were doing what no other species of sea anemone is known to do — they were living in the ice itself.

Edwardsiella andrillae and its habitat
Image: Daly et al.

Discovered by the ANDRILL [Antarctic Drilling] project, the team was so unprepared for biological discoveries they did not have suitable preservatives and the only chemicals available obliterated the creature’s DNA. Nonetheless Marymegan Daly of Ohio State University confirmed the animals were a new species. Named Edwardsiella andrillae after the drilling project that found it, the anemone was finally described in a PLOS ONE paper last month.

ANDRILL lowered their cylindrical camera ROV down a freshly-bored 270m (890ft) hole, enabling it to reach seawater below the ice. The device was merely being tested ahead of its planned mission retrieving data on ocean currents and the sub-ice environment. Instead it found what ANDRILL director Frank Rack of the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, a co-author of the paper describing the find, called the “total serendipity” of “a whole new ecosystem that no one had ever seen before”.

The discovery raises many questions. Burrowing sea anemones worm their way into substrates or use their tentacles to dig, but it’s unclear how E. andrillae enters the hard ice. With only their tentacles protruding into the water from the underneath of the ice shelf questions also revolve around how the animals avoid freezing, how they reproduce, and how they cope with the continuously melting nature of their home. Their diet is also a mystery.

Cquote1.svg What fascinates me about sea anemones is that they’re able to do things that seem impossible Cquote2.svg

—Marymegan Daly

E. andrillae is an opaque white, with an inner ring of eight tentacles and twelve-to-sixteen tentacles in an outer ring. The ROV’s lights produced an orange glow from the creatures, although this may be produced by their food. It measures 16–20mm (0.6–0.8in) but when fully relaxed can extend to triple that.

Genetic analysis being impossible, Daly turned to dissection of the specimens but could find nothing out of the ordinary. Scientists hope to send a biological mission to explore the area under the massive ice sheet, which is in excess of 600 miles (970km) wide. The cameras also observed worms, fish that swim inverted as if the icy roof was the sea floor, crustaceans and a cylindrical creature that used appendages on its ends to move and to grab hold of the anemones.

NASA is providing funding to aid further research, owing to possible similarities between this icy realm and Europa, a moon of Jupiter. Biological research is planned for 2015. An application for funding to the U.S. National Science Foundation, which funds ANDRILL, is also pending.

The ANDRILL team almost failed to get any samples at all. Designed to examine the seafloor, the ROV had to be inverted to examine the roof of ice. Weather conditions prevented biological sampling equipment being delivered from McMurdo Station, but the scientists retrieved 20–30 anemones by using hot water to stun them before sucking them from their burrows with an improvised device fashioned from a coffee filter and a spare ROV thruster. Preserved on-site in ethanol, they were taken to McMurdo station where some were further preserved with formaldehyde.

This map shows the location of the Ross Ice Shelf in the Antarctic, and the two known localities for E. andrillae relative to McMurdo Station
Image: Daly et al.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWikinewsWikinews waves Right.png How did you come to be involved with this discovery?

Marymegan Daly: Frank Rack got in touch after they returned from Antarctica in hopes that I could help with an identification on the anemone.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWikinewsWikinews waves Right.png What was your first reaction upon learning there was an undiscovered ecosystem under the ice in the Ross Sea?

MD I was amazed and really excited. I think to say it was unexpected is inaccurate, because it implies that there was a well-founded expectation of something. The technology that Frank and his colleagues are using to explore the ice is so important because, given our lack of data, we have no reasonable expectation of what it should be like, or what it shouldn’t be like.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWikinewsWikinews waves Right.png There’s a return trip planned hopefully for 2015, with both biologists and ANDRILL geologists. Are you intending to go there yourself?

MD I would love to. But I am also happy to not go, as long as someone collects more animals on my behalf! What I want to do with the animals requires new material preserved in diverse ways, but it doesn’t require me to be there. Although I am sure that being there would enhance my understanding of the animals and the system in which they live, and would help me formulate more and better questions about the anemones, ship time is expensive, especially in Antarctica, and if there are biologists whose contribution is predicated on being there, they should have priority to be there.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWikinewsWikinews waves Right.png These animals are shrouded in mystery. Some of the most intriguing questions are chemical; do they produce some kind of antifreeze, and is that orange glow in the ROV lights their own? Talk us through the difficulties encountered when trying to find answers with the specimens on hand.

MD The samples we have are small in terms of numbers and they are all preserved in formalin (a kind of formaldehyde solution). The formalin is great for preserving structures, but for anemones, it prevents study of DNA or of the chemistry of the body. This means we can’t look at the issue you raise with these animals. What we could do, however, was to study anatomy and figure out what it is, so that when we have samples preserved for studying e.g., the genome, transcriptome, or metabolome, or conduct tests of the fluid in the burrows or in the animals themselves, we can make precise comparisons, and figure out what these animals have or do (metabolically or chemically) that lets them live where they live.

Daly explained how she obtained these images of the anemone’s anatomy.
Image: Daly et al.

Just knowing a whole lot about a single species isn’t very useful, even if that animal is as special as these clearly are — we need to know what about them is different and thus related to living in this strange way. The only way to get at what’s different is to make comparisons with close relatives. We can start that side of the work now, anticipating having more beasts in the future.
In terms of their glow, I suspect that it’s not theirs — although luminescence is common in anemone relatives, they don’t usually make light themselves. They do make a host of florescent proteins, and these may interact with the light of the ROV to give that gorgeous glow.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWikinewsWikinews waves Right.png What analysis did you perform on the specimens and what equipment was used?

MD I used a dissecting scope to look at the animal’s external anatomy and overall body organization (magnification of 60X). I embedded a few of the animals in wax and then cut them into very thin slices using a microtome, mounted the slices on microscope slides, stained the slices to enhance contrast, and then looked at those slides under a compound microscope (that’s how I got the pictures of the muscles etc in the paper). I used that same compound scope to look at squashed bits of tissue to see the stinging capsules (=nematocysts).
I compared the things I saw under the ‘scopes to what had been published on other species in this group. This step seems trivial, but it is really the most important part! By comparing my observations to what my colleagues and predecessors had found, I figured out what group it belongs to, and was able to determine that within that group, it was a new species.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWikinewsWikinews waves Right.png It was three years between recovery of specimens and final publication, why did it take so long?

MD You mean, how did we manage to make it all happen so quickly, right? 🙂 It was about two years from when Frank sent me specimens to when we got the paper out. Some of that time was just lost time — I had other projects in the queue that I needed to finish. Once we figured out what it was, we played a lot of manuscript email tag, which can be challenging and time consuming given the differing schedules that folks keep in terms of travel, field work, etc. Manuscript review and processing took about four months.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWikinewsWikinews waves Right.png What sort of difficulties were posed by the unorthodox preservatives used, and what additional work might be possible on a specimen with intact DNA?

MD The preservation was not unorthodox — they followed best practices for anatomical preservation. Having DNA-suitable material will let us see whether there are new genes, or genes turned on in different ways and at different times that help explain how these animals burrow into hard ice and then survive in the cold. I am curious about the population structure of the “fields” of anemones — the group to which Edwardsiella andrillae belongs includes many species that reproduce asexually, and it’s possible that the fields are “clones” produced asexually rather than the result of sexual reproduction. DNA is the only way to test this.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWikinewsWikinews waves Right.png Do you have any theories about the strategies employed to cope with the harsh environment of burrowing inside an ice shelf?

MD I think there must be some kind of antifreeze produced — the cells in contact with ice would otherwise freeze.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWikinewsWikinews waves Right.png How has such an apparently large population of clearly unusual sea anemones, not to mention the other creatures caught on camera, gone undetected for so long?

MD I think this reflects how difficult it is to get under the ice and to collect specimens. That being said, since the paper came out, I have been pointed towards two other reports that are probably records of these species: one from Japanese scientists who looked at footage from cameras attached to seals and one from Americans who dove under ice. In both of these cases, the anemone (if that’s what they saw) was seen at a distance, and no specimens were collected. Without the animals in hand, or the capability of a ROV to get close up for pictures, it is hard to know what has been seen, and lacking a definitive ID, hard to have the finding appropriately indexed or contextualized.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWikinewsWikinews waves Right.png Would it be fair to say this suggests there may be other undiscovered species of sea anemone that burrow into hard substrates such as ice?

MD I hope so! What fascinates me about sea anemones is that they’re able to do things that seem impossible given their seemingly limited toolkit. This finding certainly expands the realm of possible.



Sister links

  • Wikipedia-logo-v2.svg Edwardsiella andrillae

Sources

Wikinews
This exclusive interview features first-hand journalism by a Wikinews reporter. See the collaboration page for more details.

External links

Wikinews
This article is a featured article. It is considered one of the best works of the Wikinews community. See Wikinews:Featured articles for more information.


Bookmark-new.svg


This text comes from Wikinews. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 licence. For a complete list of contributors for this article, visit the corresponding history entry on Wikinews.

February 28, 2013

British Explorer Ranulph Fiennes pulls out from Antartic expedition after suffering frostbite

From Wikinews, the free news source you can write!
Jump to: navigation, search

Thursday, February 28, 2013

United Kingdom
Other stories from the United Kingdom
Location of the United Kingdom

A map showing the location of the United Kingdom


Wikinews uk.svg
News from the United Kingdom

To write, edit, start or view other articles on the United Kingdom, see the United Kingdom Portal

A file photo of Ranulph Fiennes.
Image: B Milnes.

After suffering severe frostbite the British explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes has decided to pull out from The Coldest Journey expedition across the Antarctica. The 68-year-old contracted frostbite after becoming injured whilst training at a base camp in Antarctica. He fell over and had to use his bare hands to fix a ski in temperatures of -30C.

He is now on his way to Cape Town after several days of poor blizzard conditions halted his evacuation. Despite his withdrawal, the expedition is to continue without him and his fellow team members are to trek the 2,000 miles (3,219km) across Antarctica from Novolazarevskaya Station to the Ross Sea on March 21, the winter solstice and the first day of winter, taking six months. The team successfully travelled approximately 70km to transport him by snowmobile to the Princess Elisabeth Station. He is now to be flown on to Novo for a flight to Cape Town.

Organisers of The Coldest Journey expedition said in a statement, “The condition is such that he has very reluctantly decided with the support of the team doctor and in the interests of the success of the expedition and its associated aims, to withdraw from Antarctica while the possibility to do so still exists, before the onset of the Antarctic winter”.

Tony Medniuk, an organiser from the expedition, told the BBC, “After five years of preparation, a small slip like this and a few moments can undermine the most meticulous preparation”. Ian Prickett, a member of the team, said on Twitter “Sir Ran is leaving but we will carry on.”.

The team is hoping to raise $US 10 million for Seeing is Believing, a charity which aims to tackle avoidable blindness. No human being has ever walked across Antarctica during the winter and the expedition team are bracing themselves for near permanent darkness and piercing temperatures of -90C.

Fiennes also suffered from frostbite whilst on an expedition to the North Pole in 2000 and, as a result, had to amputate the fingers on his left hand.

Sir Ranulph has been described by Guinness World Records as the world’s greatest living explorer. In the past he became the first person to reach both the North and South Pole by surface as well as the oldest Briton to reach the summit of Mount Everest in 2009 at the age of 65. Another British explorer, Captain Scott, died one hundred years ago on his expedition after being caught out by the start of the southern winter solstice.



Sister links

  • Wikipedia-logo-v2.svg The Coldest Journey

Sources

This text comes from Wikinews. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 licence. For a complete list of contributors for this article, visit the corresponding history entry on Wikinews.

British Explorer Ranulph Fiennes leaves Antarctic expedition after frostbite

British explorer Ranulph Fiennes leaves Antarctic expedition after frostbite

From Wikinews, the free news source you can write!
Jump to: navigation, search

Thursday, February 28, 2013

United Kingdom
Related articles
  • 26 June 2015: Former Scottish Conservatives leader Annabel Goldie to stand down as MSP
  • 25 June 2015: Petition pressures City of Edinburgh Council to review clause affecting live music scene
  • 13 June 2015: English actor Christopher Lee dies aged 93
  • 6 June 2015: Major haemorrhage linked to alcoholism announced as cause of Charles Kennedy’s death
  • 4 June 2015: Charles Kennedy, former Liberal Democrats leader, dies aged 55
Location of the United Kingdom
United Kingdom (orthographic projection).svg
Collaborate!
  • Pillars of Wikinews writing
  • Writing an article

A file photo of Ranulph Fiennes.
Image: B Milnes.

After suffering severe frostbite the British explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes has decided to pull out from The Coldest Journey expedition across Antarctica. The 68-year-old was frostbitten whilst training at a base camp in Antarctica. He fell over and fixed a ski with his bare hands in roughly -30C temperatures.

He is now on his way to Cape Town after several days of blizzard conditions halted his evacuation. Despite his withdrawal, the expedition is to continue without him and his fellow team members are to trek the 2,000 miles (3,219km) across Antarctica from Novolazarevskaya Station (Novo) to the Ross Sea starting on March 21, at the autumnal equinox and approaching winter, taking six months. A team successfully travelled approximately 70km to transport him by snowmobile to the Princess Elisabeth Station. He is now to be flown on to Novo for a flight to Cape Town.

Organisers of The Coldest Journey expedition said in a statement, “The condition is such that he has very reluctantly decided with the support of the team doctor and in the interests of the success of the expedition and its associated aims, to withdraw from Antarctica while the possibility to do so still exists, before the onset of the Antarctic winter”.

Expedition organiser Tony Medniuk told the BBC, “After five years of preparation, a small slip like this and a few moments can undermine the most meticulous preparation”. Ian Prickett, a member of the team, said on Twitter “Sir Ran is leaving but we will carry on.”

The team hopes to raise US$10 million (£6.2 million) for avoidable-blindness charity Seeing is Believing. This is to be the first time any human has walked across Antarctica during winter and the expedition team are bracing themselves for cold around -90C and near-permanent darkness.

Fiennes also suffered from frostbite whilst on an expedition to the North Pole in 2000 and, as a result, lost the tips of the fingers on his left hand.

Guinness World Records has called Sir Ranulph “the world’s greatest living explorer”. In the past he became the first person to reach both the North and South Pole by surface as well as the oldest Briton, at age 65, to reach the summit of Mount Everest in 2009. Another British explorer, Captain Scott, died a century ago on his Antarctic expedition after being caught out by the beginning of winter.



Sister links

  • Wikipedia-logo-v2.svg The Coldest Journey

Sources

External links

Bookmark-new.svg


This text comes from Wikinews. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 licence. For a complete list of contributors for this article, visit the corresponding history entry on Wikinews.

April 14, 2012

Wikinews Shorts: April 14, 2012

Wikinews Shorts: April 14, 2012 – Wikinews, the free news source

Wikinews Shorts: April 14, 2012

From Wikinews, the free news source you can write!
Jump to: navigation, search

A compilation of brief news reports for Saturday, April 14, 2012.

Yemen al-Qaeda attack leaves twelve dead

Twelve people were killed in an al-Qaeda militant attack on a security checkpoint yesterday in Aden, Yemen, according to the country’s Defense Ministry. Four Yemeni security force members and eight al-Qaeda militants are among the dead. Four additional people were wounded, including two al-Qaeda fighters and two members of the security force.

Al-Qaeda has been present in Yemen for several years, but gained traction last year when movements across the country called for the ouster of leader Ali Abdullah Saleh. Officials, who were unauthorized to speak to the press, spoke of the attack on the condition of anonymity.

Sources


Iran nuclear negotiations continue

Nuclear negotiations between Iran and six other nations continued yesterday and have made progress, according to diplomats. The meeting is the first time Iran has met with world powers in over a year. When the meeting broke for lunch, a diplomat warned of premature optimism, however. The diplomat also mentioned the possibility of reaching common ground in the future.

Iran continues to insist that the development of a nuclear program is intended solely for peaceful purposes, but Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has threatened a preemptive strike, saying that his country would be threatened by Iran achieving nuclear capability. Although U.S. President Barack Obama has not eliminated the possibility of using military force against Iran, he has expressed desire for a diplomatic solution instead.

Sources


US Secret Service agents relieved in light of alleged misconduct

Approximately twelve members of the United States Secret Service, including agents, were relieved from their duties after allegations of misconduct, reportedly involving prostitution. The agents were serving in Colombia preceding a visit by President Barack Obama. Despite the incident, however, the agency claims that security for the President was never compromised.

All questions directed to the White House pertaining to the matter have been redirected to the Secret Service. President Obama is visiting Colombia to participate in the Summit of the Americas, where he plans to discuss issues including trade policy.

Sources


Severe ‘life-threatening’ weather forecast for Midwestern US

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration‘s Storm Prediction Center issued a high risk warning on Friday for parts of several U.S. states, with Oklahoma and Kansas expected to be the most impacted by severe weather. Accuweather meteorologist Paul Walker told ABC News that the weekend “should be particularly dangerous” and that the issuance of a warning two days prior to severe weather is unusual.

Officials in Kansas and Oklahoma are urging residents to watch the situation and make emergency plans with their families.

Sources


Antarctic emperor penguin population approximated from space

Scientists from the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia used satellite imagery to approximate the Antarctic population of emperor penguins at approximately 600,000, nearly double that of previous estimates. The scientists used high resolution imagery to ensure the ability to distinguish between shadows, excrement and the penguins themselves. They also found approximately 238,000 breeding pairs of penguins in Antarctica. Two-decade-old studies estimated this number to be between 135,000 and 175,000.

Although the population estimate is higher than before, their numbers may decline in the coming years if current climate trends continue, according to researchers. Researcher Phil Trathan said “Current research suggests that emperor penguin colonies will be seriously affected by climate change.” The species, which only occupies Antarctica, is currently listed as “least concern” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

Sources




Bookmark-new.svg


This text comes from Wikinews. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 licence. For a complete list of contributors for this article, visit the corresponding history entry on Wikinews.

February 10, 2012

Wikinews Shorts: February 10, 2012

Wikinews Shorts: February 10, 2012 – Wikinews, the free news source

Wikinews Shorts: February 10, 2012

From Wikinews, the free news source you can write!
Jump to: navigation, search

A compilation of brief news reports for Friday, February 10, 2012.

Help Wikinews! Contribute to Wikinews by expanding these briefs or add a new one.

Russian scientists contact Lake Vostok

Lake Vostok cross-section.
Image: U.S. National Science Foundation.

Russian scientists say they have made first contact with Lake Vostok, one of several hundred subglacial lakes beneath the solid ice surface of Antarctica. It is estimated the lake has been separate from outside conditions for about 20 million years. Its size is comparable to Lake Ontario. The lake is located in the East Antarctic Ice Sheet with one of the lowest recorded temperatures on Earth.

Scientists believe the study of such subglacial lakes can provide them with an in-depth look into the White Continent’s history, as well as the possibility of finding live microorganisms that can live under extremely cold conditions.

Sources


New U.S. airport program provides speedy security check

The Transportation Security Administration is to allow 35 U.S. airports to operate a faster way to get through airport security screeing.

The new Pre-Check program allows air passengers to keep on their shoes, carry-on their computers, and wear a light jacket. Passengers participating in the Pre-Check program are screened before reaching the security point on their way to the plane. To participate in the program, travelers are required to be citizens of the U.S. and pass a background check.

The program is already in place at seven national airports, such as Atlanta, but is to expand to 28 more large city airports like New York‘s three airports, Chicago, and Boston this year.

Sources


Somalia’s rebels align with Al-Qaeda

Somalia’s Al-Shabaab formally allied itself with Al-Qaeda in separate audio and video announcements.

Rebel leader Mukhtar Abu al-Zubair praised Al-Qaeda’s leader and congratulated the organization on its victories in its wars with the United States in Iraq and Afghanistan. Ayman al-Zawahiri, leader of Al-Qaeda, acknowledged the development and said, “The Arab region is slipping from America’s grip”.

UK defense think tank Royal United Services Institute, and US House committee on homeland security chairman Peter King, warn that Somali terrorists may try to strike inside both countries.

Sources



Bookmark-new.svg


This text comes from Wikinews. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 licence. For a complete list of contributors for this article, visit the corresponding history entry on Wikinews.

August 3, 2011

Russian geographer Andrey Kapitsa dies aged 80

Russian geographer Andrey Kapitsa dies aged 80

From Wikinews, the free news source you can write!
Jump to: navigation, search

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Russia
Related stories
Location of Russia

A map showing the location of Russia

More information on Russia:
  • Russia
  • Culture
  • Demographics
  • Economy
  • Geography
  • History
  • Politics

Satellite image of Lake Vostok

Andrey Kapitsa, the Russian geographer best known for his part in the discovery of Lake Vostok in Antarctica, has died in Moscow at the age of 80. He participated in four Soviet expeditions to the South Pole during his career.

Kapitsa was born to Physics Nobel Prize laureate Pyotr Leonidovich Kapitsa in Cambridge, England in 1931. He graduated from the Moscow State University‘s Faculty of Geography in 1953, and took part in the first of his four expeditions to the South Pole two years later. In 1967, he led the U.S.S.R. Academy of Sciences on a two year expedition through eastern Africa.

Along with other scientists, Kapitsa is credited with the discovery of Lake Vostok in eastern Antarctica. Lake Vostok, named after the polar research station, lies four kilometres below the ice and is around 15.5 thousand km². It is believed that the lake is home to ancient organisms, which have evolved over time.

Kapitsa’s body will lie in state on August 4 in the foyer of the Moscow State University’s Community Centre.



Sources

Bookmark-new.svg


This text comes from Wikinews. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 licence. For a complete list of contributors for this article, visit the corresponding history entry on Wikinews.

January 2, 2010

Remains of 1912 expedition plane found in Antarctica

Filed under: Antarctica — admin @ 5:00 am

Remains of 1912 expedition plane found in Antarctica

From Wikinews, the free news source you can write!
Jump to: navigation, search

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Antarctica
Other stories from Antarctica
Location of Antarctica

A map showing the location of Antarctica

To write, edit, start or view other articles on Antarctica, see the Antarctica Portal

A team of expeditioners from Australia has found the remains of the first airplane ever taken to the Antarctic. The find was made at Camp Denison.

The expedition is in Antarctica to help conserve huts used by the Australian explorer Douglas Mawson in the early twentieth century. The team unsuccessfully searched for the aircraft for three summers. The plane, which was a single-engine Vickers built in 1911, has been lost in the Antarctic ices since 1975. It was the first aircraft produced by the Vickers plant in France.

Before Mawson’s 1911–14 expedition, the aircraft was damaged due to a crash. Mawson had apparently decided to use the machine as a motorised sled instead; however, the engine wouldn’t function properly under very low temperatures, and the plane was later abandoned.

“[We’ve used a] Magnetometer, ground-penetrating radar, metal detectors and all sorts of things to try and look for it, but in the end it was just a combination of a very low tide, good weather and a thin ice melt,” commented Tony Stewart, a member of the team, as quoted by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. “Our carpenter was just taking a walk along the beach and just saw the metal in 10 centimetres of water, just right next to the ice.”

“The ice melts back very quickly, it’s on the edge of a harbour which is covered in sea ice most of the year and then as summer comes the edge of the ice gradually pulls off in huge chunks,” he continued. “This is the first time those rocks have been exposed in that area for some time so we’ve been walking around that area above the air tractor not knowing it was there under our feet all this time.”



Sources

Bookmark-new.svg


This text comes from Wikinews. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 licence. For a complete list of contributors for this article, visit the corresponding history entry on Wikinews.

April 5, 2009

Massive ice shelf expected to break away from Antarctica

Filed under: Antarctica — admin @ 5:00 am

Massive ice shelf expected to break away from Antarctica

From Wikinews, the free news source you can write!
Jump to: navigation, search

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Antarctica
Other stories from Antarctica
Location of Antarctica

A map showing the location of Antarctica

To write, edit, start or view other articles on Antarctica, see the Antarctica Portal

Illustrated map of the Wilkins Shelf in 2008
Image: National Snow and Ice Data Center/NASA.

The European Space Agency (ESA) reported on Friday that the Wilkins Shelf, an enormous Antarctic ice shelf half the size of Scotland, could break away from the continent very soon.

According to reports, only a thin strip of ice connects it to the Charcot Island, and cracks are expanding rapidly. This is the largest shelf of ice so far to have disintegrated in the Antarctic.

In February 2008, the shelf lost 425 square kilometres (164 square miles) of ice, followed by a loss of another 62 square miles in May 2008.

“During the last year the ice shelf has lost about 1800 square kilometers (694 square miles), or about 14 percent of its size,” said Angelika Humbert from the Institute of Geophysics at University of Münster in Germany. Scientists say that the shelf, if it detaches from the mainland, won’t cause an increase in sea levels, as it is already floating.

Most scientists believe that the incident is further evidence of global warming. Average temperatures in the Antarctic peninsula have increased by about 2.5 degrees Celsius (3.8 degrees Fahrenheit) in the past fifty years.



Sources

Wikipedia
Wikipedia has more about this subject:
Wilkins Ice Shelf
Bookmark-new.svg


This text comes from Wikinews. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 licence. For a complete list of contributors for this article, visit the corresponding history entry on Wikinews.
Older Posts »

Powered by WordPress