National Science Week

Adelie penguins inspecting a scientist at work near Casey research station
Adelie penguins inspecting a scientist at work near Casey research station (Photo: Glenn Johnstone)

12th August 2017

Welcome to science week – Antarctic style!

Throughout the week our scientists will be sharing their insights into the icy continent across a range of events.

Today the Australian Antarctic Division’s Chief Scientist Dr Gwen Fenton will be at the Festival of Bright Ideas in Hobart to talk about the important research being undertaken in Antarctica.

The Director of the Division Dr Nick Gales will be on a panel discussing ‘Science and Whales’, with a focus on the International Court of Justice ruling on Japan’s whaling program, on Monday 14 August.

Krill will also be a key focus during Science Week. Join us @AusAntarctic on Thursday 17 August for a Facebook Live tour of our Antarctic Krill aquarium at 11:30am AEST!

[Video]

Science Week - Dr Gwen Fenton

Video transcript

Q: By how much would sea levels rise if all the ice in Antarctica melted?

  1. 130 m
  2. 60 m
  3. 16 m
  4. 3 m

Dr Fenton: Hi, I'm Dr Gwen Fenton and I'm the chief scientist at the Australian Antarctic Division.

If you guessed (b) you’re right. The icy continent is where most of the world’s fresh water is stored as ice. Researchers estimate if all Antarctica’s ice melted, sea level would rise by around 60 metres.

Future Earth is the theme for National Science Week this year, and Antarctica and the Southern Ocean play a critical role in understanding what might happen on that future Earth. The region is the engine room for global climate. By studying it, we can unlock the secrets of the past, which can help us predict future changes.

Researchers here at the Division study the chemicals in ice cores, which tell us about past temperature, sea ice extend, volcanic events, and the impact of human activity on the Earth.

As part of Science Week, we are really excited to be hosting a Facebook Live tour of our Antarctic krill aquarium, here at the Kingston headquarters. The scientists are currently undertaking research into how a changing Southern Ocean will impact krill and the larger animals, like penguins, seals, and whales, that eat them. I’d love you to join us and our science team on the Division’s Facebook page, on Thursday the 17th at 11:30am Hobart time, to get the Antarctic view on the Future Earth.

[end transcript]