News: 2019

  • Emperor penguin colony at Auster Rookery near Australia’s Mawson research station.

    2019 Antarctic rewind

    2019 has been an outstanding year for the Australian Antarctic Program.

  • Mawson landing area moves inland

    When the sea-ice off Mawson research station can no longer support planes, expeditioners move the landing area 20 kilometres inland.

  • Dr Tas van Ommen in the Basler BT-67 on an ICECAP flight.

    Scientists peer beneath the Antarctic ice sheet to understand future climate vulnerability

    A new Antarctic topographic map will help identify which regions of the continent are going to be more, or less, vulnerable to future climate warming.

  • Female antarctic expedition mechanic stands in front of an iceberg

    Take your career south

    Do you want a really cool job? Why not head south with the Australian Antarctic Program. The Australian Antarctic Division is looking for more than 150 women and men to fill a range of roles for the 2020–21 season.

  • A collection of fish and other mesopelagic creatures on trays.

    Award for collaborative marine ecosystem research

    An Australian-European collaboration to enhance Southern Ocean ecosystem research has received the ‘Star of Europe’ award.

  • Vibrant artwork on a new Antarctic tractor

    Australia’s artistic Antarctic tractors head south

    The designs of iconic Australian artist Ken Done will adorn a new fleet of Antarctic tractors destined to travel across the icy continent on a quest to find million year old ice.

  • Graphic of RSV Nuyina in pack ice

    Come aboard Australia’s new Antarctic icebreaker

    The Australian Antarctic Program is recruiting science support specialists to work on the nation’s new hi-tech Antarctic icebreaker, RSV Nuyina.

  • Two blue coloured sewage treatment plants on the ship.

    Sailing the green seas

    It’s not easy being green but the icebreaker Nuyina project team is employing a range of environmental strategies to help the ship sail lightly on the Southern Ocean.

  • Photo of coloured buildings surrounded by water taken from the air

    Increased commitment for proposed Davis aerodrome

    On the 60th anniversary of the Antarctic Treaty System the Federal Government has announced further funding to strengthen Australia’s engagement in Antarctica.

  • United States representative, Herman Phleger, sits at a desk to sign the Antarctic Treaty in December 1959.

    60th anniversary of the Antarctic Treaty

    Antarctic nations around the world are today marking the 60th Anniversary of one of the world’s most successful international agreements, the Antarctic Treaty.

  • The Australian Antarctic Medal

    Australian Antarctic Medal nominations open

    Nominations are now invited for people who have made an outstanding contribution to Australia’s Antarctic Program.

  • Aerial view starboard side Aurora Australis parked at the edge of the fast ice

    Seeking supplementary shipping option

    As part of its contingency planning, the Australian Antarctic Division is seeking a supplementary shipping option for the 2020/21 season.

  • Photo of men and women standing in front of a green building

    Scientists on the ground of proposed runway site

    A team of scientists and technical experts has arrived at Australia’s Davis research station, kicking off a busy summer season of ecological and geotechnical surveys at a new proposed runway site.

  • Women in yellow standing in white snow.

    Antarctic Chief Scientist steps down

    The Australian Antarctic Division’s Chief Scientist, Dr Gwen Fenton, has announced her resignation after more than four years in the job.

  • Australia’s icebreaker Aurora Australis in the sea-ice

    Australia to assist French Antarctic program

    The Australian Antarctic Division will provide logistical support to the French Antarctic program, managed by the French Polar Institute, following damage to its icebreaker L’Astrolabe.

  • Leonie Suter in a lab coating sitting at a bench with test tube samples.

    Battle of the sexes

    In the ‘battle’ to identify the sex of Antarctic krill, scientists have developed a new molecular test for genes expressed only in females.

  • The Buoyant Rover for Under-Ice Exploration (BRUIE) sitting on the ice

    NASA space robot tested in Antarctica

    The Australian Antarctic Program is working with NASA this summer to test an under-ice robot which may eventually be used in a space mission to look for signs of extra-terrestrial life.

  • AA pack ice

    Aurora legacy

    Icebreakers hold a special place in the hearts of our expeditioners and crew.

  • The Nuyina’s science tender undergoing sea trials in Norway.

    Icebreaker’s science tender sea trials underway

    Final sea trials for the science tender of Australia’s new icebreaker, RSV Nuyina, are underway in Norway this week.

  • A Gulfstream V aircraft flying over mountains.

    Hobart hosts cool cloud workshop

    Hobart is hosting some 40 international scientists studying Southern Ocean clouds this week, following a huge data-gathering campaign involving ships, aircraft and satellites.

  • Two blue whales surfacing in the Southern Ocean.

    Blue whales prefer krill tall, dense and shallow

    Antarctic blue whales prefer to forage within tall, dense krill swarms at shallow depths, to maximise the energetic bang per bite, according to new research published this week in Scientific Reports.

  • C-17A on the ground at Wilkins Aerodrome

    Delivering the goods

    Fresh food, science equipment, medical supplies and machinery are winging their way to Antarctica today on the first cargo flight of the summer season.

  • Up close with Nuyina

    Check out the latest video of the Nuyina under construction at the Damen shipyards in Romania.

  • Photo of colourful flags

    Conservation of Antarctic marine living resources

    The meeting of the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) has concluded in Hobart.

  • The Nuyina docked by a wharf in Romania.

    Icebreaker’s internal fit-out shapes up

    Australia’s new icebreaker RSV Nuyina is looking more like a home away from home for scientists, expeditioners and crew, as the internal fit-out takes shape.

  • A green bottle on the shore

    Macca’s mystery message

    A message in a bottle has been discovered on the shore of Macquarie Island but much mystery remains over the Polish author.

  • Iceberg floating in Antarctica’s McMurdo Sound

    NASA ice mission launches from Hobart

    For the first time from Hobart, the Australian Antarctic Program is working with NASA’s Operation IceBridge to map coastal ice in East Antarctica.

  • Australian Antarctic Division palaeoclimate scientist Dr Andrew Moy examines planktonic and benthic foraminifera shells extracted from ocean sediments

    Tiny fossils reveal 25,000 years of Southern Ocean carbon history

    A reconstruction of 25,000 years of South Ocean carbon chemistry, using micro-fossils buried in sediments, shows sub-Antarctic waters have played a key role in regulating atmospheric carbon dioxide since the Last Glacial Maximum.

  • The two Antarctic barges on the River Derwent

    New Antarctic barges tested on the River Derwent

    Antarctic landing barges destined to work alongside Australia’s new icebreaker RSV Nuyina are getting wet for the first time during sea-trials on Hobart’s River Derwent.

  • map

    Nations meet in Hobart to conserve Southern Ocean

    The Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) meets in Hobart to build on a history of conservation achievements.

  • Scientist looks into ice scanning machine

    Scanning ice cores for climate clues

    Antarctic scientists are using a high-tech camera to peer inside ice cores and reveal new clues about climate.

  • Australian Antarctic Program Station Leaders, Finn Taylor, Matt Willliams, Ali Dean and David Knoff at headquarters in Kingston

    Cool heads in a cold climate

    Australia’s new Antarctic leadership team are prepped and ready for their deployment to the icy continent, ahead of the first flight and voyage this coming week.

  • Two groomers preparing the sea-ice ski landing area in front Davis research station

    Antarctic sea-ice prepared for planes

    An Antarctic plane landing area on the frozen ocean is being prepared on the sea-ice in front of Australia’s Davis research station.

  • Emperor penguin chicks and parents

    Emperor penguins vulnerable to sea ice changes this century

    Sea ice needed in the life cycle of emperor penguins is being lost to changing wind patterns and rising temperatures.

  • Two men preparing a piece of technical equipment next to water

    Mini sub heads south for Antarctic mission

    A sophisticated underwater mini submersible designed and built in Tasmania, will spend the summer in Antarctica exploring under the sea ice at Australia’s Davis research station.

  • Satellite image of large iceberg calving off an ice shelf.

    Gigantic iceberg breaks off East Antarctica

    A gigantic iceberg has calved from the Amery Ice Shelf in East Antarctica.

  • New Antarctic Arts Fellows, Dr Adam Nash and Dr John McCormick, in the studio.

    Take a virtual voyage south

    As Australia’s icebreaker sails south next year, the sights, sounds and movement of the ship on the Southern Ocean will be captured and packaged into an immersive experience all can share.

  • three people in an operating theatre with a mannequin

    Surgical tradies scrub up well

    Hobart is home to a unique medical training program for Antarctic expeditioners that may be useful for astronauts traveling in deep space.

  • Minister for the Environment, the Hon Sussan Ley MP, inspecting the completed ice core drill components

    Million year ice core drill at the cutting edge

    Australian Antarctic Program technicians are at the cutting-edge of a unique project to unlock our climate future, by discovering what changed the world one million years ago.

  • Expeditioner riding a quad bike in blowing snow.

    Are we there yet?

    Getting around Antarctica has always been a challenge. New Antarctic expeditioners are currently at the Australian Antarctic Division learning how to live and travel in this extreme environment.

  • men stand to attention in front of flag on rocky coast

    65 years of Mawson research station

    Antarctic veterans celebrated 65 years since the opening of Mawson research station at the Australian Antarctic Division today.

  • A tractor towing two shipping containers on sleds.

    Journey to Law Dome

    Travel with Craig Butsch, Senior Met Observer at Casey research station, on a pictorial journey to one of the snowiest places in Antarctica.

  • Daddy Cool 2019

    Daddy Cool!

    Australian Antarctic expeditioners are sending love to their Dads from the end of the Earth.

  • Large diatoms under the microscope.

    Tiny glass-like plants at risk in acid ocean

    Microscopic marine plants encased in glass-like ‘armour’ could struggle to build their protective cell walls as ocean acidification increases.

  • Through Ice & Fire book cover showing photo of Aurora Australis in sea ice.

    New book brings icebreaker legacy to life

    The legacy of Australian icebreaker Aurora Australis’s 30 year service in Antarctica is captured in a new book Through Ice & Fire, published today.

  • Photo of grey round partially constructed water tank

    Increasing water storage for Davis station

    Davis research station will soon have improved water security due to a 50 per cent increase in storage capacity.

  • Dana Bergstrom during her first visit to Macquarie Island as a Masters student in 1983, standing beside a rocky outcrop with a penguin.

    Microscopic Macquarie Island plant named after Antarctic ecologist

    A tiny freshwater plant with glass-like cell walls has been named after an Australian Antarctic Division ecologist.

  • graphic of icebreaker in ice with aurora

    Captains announced for RSV Nuyina

    Two experienced Captains for Australia’s new icebreaker have been announced.

  • Micrograph of Southern Ocean phytoplankton

    From little things big things grow

    The solar-powered Southern Ocean food chain is unique, going from some of the smallest organisms to the largest animal to ever live, in just a few short steps.

  • Wharfside view of RSV Nuyina in Galati.

    Portside with Nuyina

    Australian Antarctic Division Director, Kim Ellis, toured the RSV Nuyina at the Galați shipyards, as construction nears completion ahead of sea-ice trials early next year.

  • Australian doctors must under go an appendicectomy before they can go south

    Operation Antarctic Appendix

    A new group of freshly scarred Antarctic doctors, have arrived at the Australian Antarctic Division ahead of their posting to the icy continent.

  • Doctors attend to a simulated car crash victim in a scenario at Arm River in Tasmania

    Doctors prepare for extreme posting

    Tasmania’s rugged wilderness is the perfect training ground for Antarctic doctors preparing for an extreme posting to the icy continent.

  • Dr Brian Miller listens for whales during a voyage, with a computer screen in front of him showing sounds.

    Sound science enhances whale conservation

    French oceanographer Jacques Cousteau famously described the ocean as ‘the silent world’, but a marine mammal acoustician says he couldn’t have been more wrong.

  • Diesel generators of the Nuyina.

    Diesel generators start up

    The RSV Nuyina’s diesel generators started up for the first time this week.

  • Milky Way above Australia’s Davis research station

    Antarctic lessons for space

    Antarctica is the closest you can get to space without leaving Earth.

  • new Australian Antarctic Science Council

    New Australian Antarctic Science Council meets

    The newly formed Australian Antarctic Science Council met in Canberra for the first time.

  • A green laser probes high-altitude clouds above Davis research station, in a night sky of auroras and stars.

    Antarctic laser probes ozone-eating clouds

    For the first time this Antarctic winter, but a little later than usual, polar stratospheric clouds have been detected above Davis research station.

  • Preparing the midwinter swimming hole in the sea-ice, in front of Australia’s Davis research station

    Australians plunge into ice hole in midwinter dark

    It’s minus 23 degrees Celsius, dark and you’re standing on the edge of a hole dug into the sea-ice — what do you do?

  • Former French Prime Minister Michel Rocard with former Australian Prime Minister Bob Hawke, signing a book.

    Tribute to former Prime Minister Bob Hawke

    The Australian Antarctic Program is today paying tribute to former Prime Minister, Robert (Bob) Hawke, who played a pivotal role in conserving Antarctica for future generations.

  • Two of the tractors ready to undergo a transformation

    Tractor transformation time

    Hold still, this won’t hurt a bit! A fleet of tractor transformers are being Antarcti-fied in Hobart.

  • Southern Ocean and iceberg on grey stormy day

    World Oceans Day 2019

    For World Oceans Day, we ask: how awesome is the Southern Ocean?

  • Scientist inside trench with ice drill

    World Environment Day 2019

    With the focus of this year’s World Environment Day on air pollution, what of the natural ability of the atmosphere to clean itself of pollutants?

  • Expeditioners silhouetted against sunset

    Icy Twilight Zone

    Australian Antarctic expeditioners are living in the twilight zone after the last sunset on the icy continent for weeks.

  • Nuyina in the wet dock in Romania.

    Nuyina in harbour tests

    Antarctic icebreaker RSV Nuyina is being put through its paces with a barrage of tests on the propulsion, bilge, ballast and other auxiliary systems.

  • View of a 16.3 metre long barge under construction.

    New watercraft construction barging ahead

    Construction of two ‘heavy lift’ barges for the new Antarctic icebreaker, RSV Nuyina, is underway at Tasmanian shipbuilders, Taylor Bros.

  • Expeditioners at the polling station on the wharf at Casey research station

    Democracy in the deep freeze

    It takes more than five thousand kilometres of isolation and the long night of a polar winter to dampen the democratic desire of an ardent Antarctic voter.

  • vehicles and expeditioners on ice with mountain in background

    Search and rescue on the ice

    When you’re 5475 kilometres from help, you need to know you can rely on the team around you.

  • Group of expeditioners in snow with messages for Mother’s Day

    Mother’s Day 2019

    Despite being a long way from home this Mother’s Day, Australia’s Antarctic expeditioners at Mawson, Davis and Casey research stations are sending a whole lot of love from the ice.

  • Bow view of Nuyina painted in international orange.

    Readiness testing for Harbour Acceptance Trials

    Australia’s Antarctic icebreaker RSV Nuyina is being readied for ‘harbour acceptance trials’ next month and receiving a final coat of paint.

  • a dog wearing a vest on Macquarie Island

    Keeping Macca rodent-free

    At the frontline of biosecurity on Macquarie Island is a lively dog called Nui, making sure that rodents don’t return.

  • Leslie Russell Blake

    Southern Ocean to the Somme

    Today as the sun rises over Antarctica, dawn services at our research stations commemorate Anzac Day.

  • Royal penguins at Macquarie Island

    World Penguin Day 2019

    To mark World Penguin Day this year, we pay tribute to these amazing birds with some interesting facts about the 18 species that inhabit the Southern Hemisphere.

  • Casey station chef, Jordan Smith, puts the finishing touches on a cake in the kitchen

    The icing on the cake

    The wintering chef at Casey research station, Jordan Smith, has worked in kitchens from the French Alps to the Kimberley, but says the icing on the cake has been her time in Antarctica.

  • Scientists prepare to extract a fast-ice core to characterize sea-ice properties, including ice-crystal structure, salinity, density or chlorophyll content.

    Australian Antarctic Program Partnership

    The Australian Antarctic Division welcomes the opportunity to work with core partners the University of Tasmania, CSIRO and the Bureau of Meteorology as part of the new Australian Antarctic Program Partnership (AAPP).

  • Aerial view of Mawson station

    Government response to Antarctic inquiry

    The Government has responded to recommendations from the Joint Standing Committee on the National Capital and External Territories (JSCNCET) inquiry into the adequacy of Australia’s infrastructure assets and capability in Antarctica.

  • Boulders being loaded from a barge onto Aurora Australis

    Rocky road from Antarctica to Canberra

    Two rocky pieces of the icy continent have arrived in Hobart on the way to a new home in Canberra, where they will go on display as part of a unique outdoor geological museum.

  • A large tractor

    Heavy tractors chosen for Australia’s Antarctic inland ice quest

    The Australian Antarctic Program has procured five new heavy tractors to provide the pulling power for Australia’s new deep-field traverse capability, and the search for a million year ice core.

  • Expeditioners in Antarctica

    New Centre for Antarctic, Remote and Maritime Medicine

    Highly specialised medical skills honed in the extreme Antarctic environment will be shared through a new Centre for Antarctic, Remote and Maritime Medicine (CARMM) in Hobart.

  • Madi Gamble Rosevear working with the team on the Totten Glacier

    Seismic study allows scientists to see below glacier

    Australian Antarctic Program researchers have undertaken seismic studies on the largest glacier in East Antarctica, revealing for the first time a network of lakes beneath the ice.

  • Two men inside a large tent with an ice core drill

    Work begins on million year ice core drill

    Work has started on a high-tech ice drill that Antarctic scientists will deploy in their quest for the million year ice core — dubbed one of the holy grails of climate science.

  • The 105 solar panel array installed, with a wind deflector visible down the length of the array on the left side of the building, to minimise the effects of high wind speeds during blizzards.

    First Australian solar farm in Antarctica opens at Casey research station

    The first Australian solar farm in Antarctica will be switched on at Casey research station today.

  • The Dash-8 aircraft flies over Macquarie Island’s isthmus as it conducts a Laser Airborne Depth Sounder (LADS) survey.

    Sea floor survey from the sky

    Airborne surveyors are helping to map the shallow sea floor adjacent to Macquarie Island research station, in preparation for the arrival of Australia’s new icebreaker RSV Nuyina.

  • Jane Allen and Jesse Blackadder in Antarctica

    Antarctica calling all artists

    Artists looking for the ultimate inspiration are encouraged to apply for the Australian Antarctic Arts Fellowship.

  • Four women standing at the stern of a ship

    Pioneering work of female scientists reflected in Macquarie Island lakes

    Several lakes on sub-Antarctic Macquarie Island have been named after the first four female scientists to travel south with the Australian Antarctic Program.

  • a drone photographs a blue whale

    Technology provides new insights to Antarctic blue whales and krill

    Innovative technologies, including drones, shed new light on the distribution of endangered Antarctic blue whales and their food source krill.

  • Four Adélie penguins near the Casey station sign.

    Ice-free areas are hot property in Antarctica

    The principle of ‘location, location, location’ is as important in Antarctica as the rest of the world, with rare ice-free areas being highly desired real estate.

  • A jade green and white striped iceberg

    New clue in jade iceberg mystery

    Researchers have a new hypothesis that could solve the century-old mystery of why some Antarctic icebergs are green.

  • This infographic provides a snapshot of biodiversity protection in Antarctica.

    Enhancing biodiversity protection in Antarctica

    A review of Antarctic Specially Protected Areas (ASPAs) has found that they are biased towards protecting the more charismatic species, such as penguins and seabirds, over less visible species.

  • Monitoring fuel pump at Casey station

    New funding for upgrades of Antarctic research stations

    More than $450 million will be invested over the next ten years to upgrade our network of Antarctic research stations.

  • The Nuyina’s two 55 tonne cranes are in place and the bridge windows installed.

    Nuyina’s internal fit-out

    Despite blowing snow and temperatures as low as −10 degrees Celsius, construction is progressing on Australia’s new icebreaker, including on the internal fit out.

  • AAD Director Kim Ellis presents Casey station leader Christine MacMillian with a commemorative poster

    50 years of history at Casey research station

    Antarctic expeditioners celebrated the 50th anniversary of the opening of Casey research station today.

  • Nuyina in the dry dock with two cranes installed.

    Nuyina cranes and funnels

    The RSV Nuyina’s two 55 tonne cranes are now installed, and the aluminium cladding for the ship’s funnels has been lowered into place.

  • A tractor blowing an arc of snow

    Ice runway reopens

    Flights into Australia’s Wilkins Aerodrome in Antarctica resumed yesterday, following a twelve week shutdown for major reconstruction works on the 3.5 kilometre runway strip.

  • A 3D model of a live krill swarm 400 metres long, 200 metres wide, and 100 metres deep

    Giant krill swarms in 3D

    For the first time on an Australian research vessel, giant krill swarms are being captured in 3D using echosounders in the Southern Ocean.

  • Kim Ellis outside building

    New Director for the Australian Antarctic Division

    The new Director of the Australian Antarctic Division, Kim Ellis, takes up his leadership role.

  • Marcus Salton chisels a thick sample of very hard mumijo off rocks outside a nest cavity in the Masson Range near Mawson research station.

    Fossilised spit captures birds’ Antarctic history

    Fossilised layers of spit, or ‘mumijo’, at snow petrel breeding sites, are helping seabird scientists understand how long the birds have inhabited sites in East Antarctica.

  • Expeditioner demonstrating the signed cricket bat in use

    Search for story behind mystery Antarctic cricket bat

    A cricket mystery story is unfolding in Antarctica this Australia Day, after the discovery of a unique bat signed by the 1988 Australian and Sri Lankan test teams.

  • Graphic comparing adult blue whale with length of three standard buses

    Antarctic krill, blue whales and the power of poo

    The most comprehensive scientific voyage ever undertaken to study the largest creature on Earth and its food source heads to the Antarctic ice edge.

  • Aerial view of icebreaker Nuyina alongside a wharf in Romania.

    Superstructure blocks in place

    All the major superstructure blocks on Australia’s new Antarctic icebreaker are now in place.