Video

Heard Island camera trials

28th July 2014
[Video]

Video transcript

Multi-species satellite tracking

16th July 2014
[Video]

Video transcript

Midwinter swim 2014 at Davis research station

21st June 2014
[Video]

Video transcript

[Narelle Campbell:] Welcome to Davis station Antarctica. Today is Midwinterʼs Day, and it marks the winter solstice and the slow return of the sun. We will see the sun around about mid-July, which we're all looking forward to, even though it will only just pop its head up briefly, for a while, until it hangs around a bit longer as the year goes on.

Today is a tradition amongst all Antarctic stations. We honour those who have been down before us; particularly those who came down in the early 1900s: Mawson, Scott and Shackleton.

We do start our day off with an early morning swim in the icy cold waters. The guys spent all day yesterday preparing the swim hole. The sea ice here at the moment is one metre deep, so it did take a while for them to get those chunks of ice out for our one-and-a-half metre by one-and-a-half metre swimming pool. Straight after this, after the team have all been for a swim, we go back to our station and have an outdoor spa, and tonight there'll be a formal dinner, where we'll be toasting all those who've been down before us, and our family and friends back home who we haven't seen for quite some time.

We did send an invitation out to many people to attend our party tonight … lots of excuses why they canʼt get here, probably because it's impossible. The 20 of us here at Davis station; we won't see a ship at all or any form of transport at all until around about November, and just at the end of the year thatʼs when we will return home. So with the winter months theyʼre dark, very cold – minus 30-odd degrees today.

[All:] Happy Midwinters!

201314 Antarctic season highlights

11th June 2014
[Video]

Video transcript

Glaciologist – Dr Tas van Ommen

The Aurora Basin project was a major ice coring project in East Antarctica to deliver us a long, 2000 year detail climate record form a part of Antarctica where we really had little or no information about past climate.

We do need climate records that go one or two thousand years or in this ballpark because they are used to test climate models of the past. And 2000 years gives us a nice long period to look at the climate before human interference began with the emission of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. So we end up with over a thousand years of natural variability, seeing how it responds to changes in the sun’s output, seeing it how it responds to volcanoes and how the natural system works and that really important for understanding the changes that we are seeing now.

We got about 500 metres of ice in the main ice cores and we also took some shallow cores which will be about 30–50 metres, and on the traverse with the French we also recovered some shallow cores to another 20 metres so ice core scientists in France, Australia, and the US are going to be busy for the next few years really digesting what we are going to get out of Aurora Basin.

Minister for the Environment – Hon. Greg Hunt MP

The commonwealth government will fund the acquisition of a new icebreaker. This is critical national infrastructure. It is the largest single investment in Australia’s Antarctic research and logistics venture in Australian history. It would be an investment of hundreds of hundreds of millions dollars.  It should be delivered by 2019.

Australian Antarctic Division Senior Policy Adviser – Ewan McIvor

The CEP is the Committee for Environmental Protection that’s established under the environmental protocol to the Antarctic Treaty. The committee is an advisory body to the Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting, which is the decision making body.

The Committee has a mandate to provide advice on all environmental issues facing Antarctica and there is quite a spectrum. Current priority issues range from preventing the introduction of non-native species, developing the Antarctic protected areas systems and dealing with the environmental implications of climate change in Antarctica.

Casey station leader – Ali Dean

I'm Ali Dean and I'm going down to Casey as the station leader.

I've worked in the Antarctic for quite a few years now, first as a geologist so going down over the summer months, using the stations as a staging post.

During those times on station, I became fascinated with multi-faceted, really active places with a lot of interesting people.

This will be seventh winter as station leader in Antarctica and I'm just as excited about this trip as I was about that first one.

Macquarie Island station leader – Ivor Harris

My name's Ivor Harris and I'll be going down to Macquarie Island station for the coming winter.

My position on station will be station leader which is a role I've been lucky enough to be selected to do three times previously.

I've got a broad background in the biological sciences but also in the military.

The people that go to Antarctica to work, go there because they really, really want to be there. They're selected as being very, very capable and experienced at their roles and as a general rule, it's a very easy job to manage the community and look after people because they're great people.

Davis station leader – Narelle Campbell

My name is Narelle Campbell and I am heading off to Davis this winter.

My career has led down a number of paths. I've now been south three times and I'm coming up to my fourth time.

What I am looking forward to most this coming season is again experiencing Antarctica, it’s the wildlife, it’s the scenery and the community. Watching a community gel together, work closely together, have fun.

Mawson station leader – Steve Robertson

My name is Steve Robertson and I am the incoming station leader at Mawson station.

I am currently a sergeant with Victoria police so I’ve worked in busy metropolitan police stations in Melbourne. I've worked up in country police stations and remote police stations as well.

The role of the station leader for me is two-fold I guess. You’ve got your science, and in order to support the science you’ve got your infrastructure: your diesos and so on, and so forth. In addition to that, you’ve got the other part of the role being the community and my role is to make that gel, as well as this cohesive community.

Aurora Basin project overview

8th May 2014
[Video]

Video transcript

The Aurora Basin project was a major ice coring project in East Antarctica to deliver us a long, 2000 year detail climate record form a part of Antarctica where we really had little or no information about past climate.

We do need climate records that go one or two thousand years or in this ballpark because they are used to test climate models of the past. And 2000 years gives us a nice long period to look at the climate before human interference began with the emission of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. So we end up with over a thousand years of natural variability, seeing how it responds to changes in the sun’s output, seeing it responds to volcanoes and how the natural system works and that really important for understanding the changes that we are seeing now.

The drilling was part of an international project; we’ve got partners from Europe and America helping. And providing various analyses and putting the whole project together was French traverse to deliver the camp to the site and to get it up and running, provided a very broad sweep of science.

We had a lot of international participation in the camp, we had scientists from Denmark, France, the US, as well of as course Australian scientists. We had scientists also from China, and we had some student participation which brought in people from NZ, and also Japan. So, a very international team at times.

We got about 500 metres of ice in the main ice cores and we also took some shallow cores which will be about 30-50 metres, and on the traverse with the French we also recovered some shallow cores to another 20 metres so ice core scientists in France, Australia, and the US  are going to be busy for the next few years really digesting what we are going to get out of Aurora Basin.

The cores in the field were progressively brought out in insulated boxes and stored in a refrigerated container which has come back to Australia and those ice cores will be processed. Some of them have already been cut and sectioned and ready for distribution to our partners. That job needs to be completed here in Hobart before we can ship all the cores.

Our specialty here in Hobart will be to look at the water isotopes which will give us a temperature signal from the main ice core. That’s the work we have already started with the spectrometer in the field and the other strand is to look at trace chemistry, things like seas salts, volcanic emissions, things that get deposited in the ice that we can measure with ion chromatography. So we’ll be part of the big team.

Co-operation is absolutely essential in any project like this where you have tight timelines, large logistics, complications with weather  require flexibility and AB was gem for a model of co-operation in that sense. We had a logistical field leader who understood the science need and facilitated that and made the camp run smoothly, we had science leadership in the camp that was making smart decisions about how to get the science done.

But we have long term view to what is an international priority and that’s to find the oldest ice in Antarctica  which we believe is over a million years old and that almost certainly in the deep heart of Antarctica, even further than Aurora Basin.

This is very much a stepping stone for us. It’s a chance to contribute to that big cooperative ice to understand where the oldest ice will be and in learning how to operate in a remote  deep field camp refining our skills we are also paving the way for ongoing Australian participation.

Australian to lead Antarctic Environment Protection body

1st May 2014
[Video]

Video transcript

Australian Antarctic Division Senior Policy Adviser – Ewan McIvor

The CEP is the Committee for Environmental Protection that’s established under the environmental protocol to the Antarctic Treaty. The committee is an advisory body to the Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting, which is the decision making body.

The Committee has a mandate to provide advice on all environmental issues facing Antarctica and there is quite a spectrum. Current priority issues range from preventing the introduction of non-native species, developing the Antarctic protected areas systems and dealing with the environmental implications of climate change in Antarctica.

It’s constituted by representatives from all the countries that are active in Antarctica and it also includes other organisations, non-governmental organisations, with environmental scientific and technical expertise in Antarctic matters.

Each country is responsible for the activities of its own nationals in Antarctica, so it’s through that mechanism that penalties can be applied.

As chair my role is to facilitate the free-flowing and effective exchange of views between the countries that are members of the committee. The committee operates by consensus.

Australia is very strongly committed to protecting the Antarctic Environment. Assuming the role of chair again for Australia is another important way of demonstrating that commitment and also having a direct role in influencing the international efforts to protect the Antarctic Environment.

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This page was last modified on 28 October 2011.