Antarctic video gallery

Delivering the goods

Delivering the goods

Video transcript

Flt Lt Lucas Webb (Globemaster Captain): Today, we are taking our C-17 Globemaster and the Australian Antarctic Division cargo down to Wilkins Runway, which is just nearby Casey Station, for the first resupply mission of the summer season.

The flight time from Hobart to Wilkins Runway is about four and a half hours, and then once we get there, it’s actually quite different, to see the white continent, and then the runway is the same colour as the surrounding terrain.

We've got an instrument approach procedure that gets us down quite close to the ground, and then we can sort of pick it out. The guys do a very good job of marking it out for us, and making it that bit easier for us to see. The Globemaster lands on various surfaces, including ice, and so from a touchdown and control perspective, after landing, it’s actually fairly similar. But once we slow down, the taxi speed does start to feel a little more slippery than we're used to.

What we're carrying down to Wilkins Runway today is a lot of general cargo, but there are parts for machinery that they have been waiting for, over the winter period.

So the guys are really, you know, hanging out for that stuff.

There’s six missions the C-17 does throughout the summer season. They are highly sought after. Obviously, because of the remote nature, and the highlight it brings to your career. So, it’s definitely something that a lot of people are really keen to get on board.

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Eyes on the Ice

Eyes on the Ice

Video transcript

Our entire planet is affected by how Antarctic ice moves and changes.

Over 10 years NASA’s Operation IceBridge has flown the largest survey of Earth’s polar ice.

Now NASA and the Australian Antarctic Program are working together to map sea ice in East Antarctica.

Dr Petra Heil, sea ice physicist: “My work really looks at understanding the sea ice physics, and its real behaviour as it’s a component in the climate system, and the motivation is to understand what the sea ice has done and is doing now in order to forecast what its fate is in the future.”

For the first time from Hobart, NASA will fly over coastal ice in line with their orbiting satellite.

Petra Heil: “A lot of the satellite instruments we use are on satellites that are polar orbiting, and so if you imagine, they all kind of cross or need to travel around the pole, or near the pole; we get a convergence of their trajectories in the sea ice area and over the Antarctic.”

ICESat-2 carries a laser altimeter so accurate it measures ice changes in centimetres from 500km above.

On the ground, scientists near Casey research station will measure the density of the snow and ice.

Petra Heil: “On the ground, will move along the travel path of the plane, or the satellite, and they take every kilometre probably along a 10km transect very detailed analysis and measurements, take the ice core and send that back.”

The work on the ice is crucial to ‘ground truth’ what’s measured from air and space.

Petra Heil: “It’s exhausting, exhilarating, but it’s incredibly rewarding, and I think you have to be on the ground to really understand the physics in the system that you are working on.”

Production: Mark Horstman, Dan Broun. Vision: Simon Payne, Brett Wilks, Glenn Johnstone, Daleen Koch, Pete Curtis, NASA/GSFC Scientific Visualisation Studio.

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Barge baptism

Barge baptism

Video transcript

The workhorses of the Antarctic are getting wet for the first time.

Australian Antarctic Division, Maritime Systems Officer, Clive Evans; “It’s very exciting to see these designs that we’ve seen on paper, years ago, to actually finally be on the water and performing as we hoped they would do.”

The two aluminium barges are undergoing sea trials on the River Derwent.

Speed, propulsion, manoeuvrability and strength of the vessels are being tested.

Taylor Bros, Director, Phil Taylor; “All up they can weigh close to 80 tonnes, fully loaded, and they’ll still do eight knots. So that’s a fair challenge for something that is only 16 metres long.”

The barges will work alongside Australia’s new icebreaker RSV Nuyina.

They will carry vehicles and cargo from ship to shore at Australia’s Antarctic stations.

The barges have been built in Hobart by a team of 12 over the past 18 months.

Taylor Bros, Director, Phil Taylor; “We’ve got a team of naval architects here and we’ve got aluminium fabricators, we’ve got designers and engineers that have been in the shipping game for many years. There’s been a lot of input from a lot of parties.”

Down south they will have to withstand extreme conditions of minus 30 degrees Celsius and 50 knot winds.

Taylor Bros, Director, Phil Taylor; “I guess for the next 30 years, they’ll get flogged to death!”

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Ice on the Line

Ice on the Line

Video transcript

ICE ON THE LINE

Our extensive archive of ice cores is giving up new clues about past climate

Dr TAS VAN OMMEN, Australian Antarctic Division:

Line scanning is a really good example where new technologies come along and offer us the ability to derive new science from cores we might have drilled a decade or more ago.

DR TESSA VANCE, Antarctic Gateway Partnership at University of Tasmania:

An ice core line scanner is a giant piece of very expensive equipment that is basically a very big photocopier.

The scanner reveals thin bands in the ice that could indicate changes in snowfall

DR TESSA VANCE, Antarctic Gateway Partnership UTAS:

Most of the time people have assumed that accumulation in ice cores is relatively uniform throughout the year, but that’s as nonsensical as assuming that rain falls gently all of the time. It doesn’t, it doesn’t anywhere on the earth, so investigating how episodic that snowfall is really interesting because it gives you an understanding of how variable it can be as well.

Dr TAS VAN OMMEN, Australian Antarctic Division:

Drifting snow across the surface leaves a polished surface on the ice, and that can tell us something about periods where there hasn’t been snowfall or there have been excessive winds, and we can relate that then to the chemical signatures in the ice.

The key is finding similar bands that are common in ice cores across a large area

DR TESSA VANCE, Antarctic Gateway Partnership UTAS:

We have a scale along the side so we can date the ice cores, and then we know exactly what depth these lines are at in each ice core, so we can find the year that they’re in.

Written in the ice cores are clues to the future of the Antarctic ice sheet

DR TESSA VANCE, Antarctic Gateway Partnership UTAS:

In Antarctica, we get these episodes called ‘atmospheric rivers’ which are essentially rivers in the sky of huge amounts of precipitation coming from the sub-tropics down to Antarctica. Understanding how they vary through time is really important to understand how the surface mass balance of Antarctica can change over time.

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Cool Leaders video

Cool Leaders video

Video transcript

Ali Dean, Casey Station Leader

I've been working in the Antarctic for the last 20 years, first as a research scientist and more recently as a Station Leader. I first became fascinated with station leadership, as I transited through the stations, going out to work in the field. So, I saw them as these dynamic places that virtually make work in the Antarctic happen, so without them we wouldn’t be doing anything down there.

I see my most important role as an enabler. So not just for the science and the work programs, but for that real important community that you've got to develop when you're at a remote place. I consider that I’m really fortunate to be working in a job that I love, in a place that I love as well. Antarctica is unique, and I think everyone should experience it.

David Knoff, Davis Station Leader

Prior to joining the Antarctic Program I spent a few years in the Army as an officer there, as an infantry officer. And then followed that up with 10 years with Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, working at embassies around the world.

Some of the skills I’ll bring to this role are a sense of adventure. I’ve been a traveller and come from a travelling family. I’ve also worked in a number of remote environments in Pakistan and Iraq and Turkey, and hopefully those experiences in those locations, away from home and away from family and friends, will help me while I’m in Antarctica as well.

Why I wanted to work with the Australian Antarctic Program was the uniqueness of the environment that we get to work in every day. The science, the remoteness of the location as well, is certainly something I’m interested in, and the people.

Certainly one of the biggest challenges over winter is being separated from your friends and family. One of the other challenges we face down in Antarctica is the fact that you live and work with the same people. Making sure that there’s a harmonious balance between work and recreation down there as well, will be one of the bigger challenges we’ve got.

Matt Williams, Mawson Station Leader

My backgrounds pretty varied. I come from senior leadership roles in Afghanistan, where I worked with NATO, the US, Australia, and multinational forces. I worked in Africa as the head of Australia’s aid program to Africa for many years as well, working on humanitarian and aid issues. And I've worked as a senior public servant on health and international health issues, keeping Australians safe from health emergencies.

As a leader I think you need to understand people, you need to understand the issues, and you need to be able to motivate people on a daily basis to tackle some of the most incredible challenges there are in a really difficult but incredibly beautiful environment.

Finn Taylor, Macquarie Island Station Leader

I’ve been doing operational leadership roles for a long time, where I’ve been leading teams through a lot of different scenarios; from emergency response to managing remote and alpine parks, working with regional communities.

Now is a really exciting time to be part of the Australian Antarctic division; there’s a real commitment to modernise and improve our operations so that we can deliver much more benefits for peace and science.

I think my leadership style is that I’m very collaborative and inclusive in the way that I work with people. I enjoy being creative and I think a bit of fun is really, really important. And that’s something that I’ll bring to the role.

The environment on Macquarie Island is extreme. We’re going to have a lot of extreme weather events with rain, hail, snow. It’ll be cold. But we’ll also have this opportunity to see amazing wildlife right on our doorstep. It’s more like we’re the zoo and the island is the natural environment. It’s very exciting.

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Icy Missions

Icy Missions

Video transcript

Dr Glenn Johnstone: We'll take the ROV out to 30 different sites, and we're going to see the different types of habitats in those bays. So, we'll see sediment habitats, soft habitats and hard habitats and then we're going to be looking at the communities of organisms that live on those rocks and in those habitats to see how they differ between those bays.

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Arts Fellow retrospective

Arts Fellow retrospective

Video transcript

From the earliest expeditions, Antarctica has inspired artists.

Over four decades, our Antarctic Arts Fellowship has enabled many creative people to travel south.

Sculptors forming enduring monuments; authors creating much-loved stories;

Author, Alison Lester “I’m nine years old and I am going to Antarctica with my Dad. He’s the captain of the Aurora Australis. It’s an icebreaker, a ship that can go through ice.”

musicians composing unique melodies; and audio artists recording soundscapes from the frozen continent.

This summer, digital artists will travel to Antarctica.

They will digitally map the Aurora Australis and re-create the ship virtually to provide a life beyond its last voyage.

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Surgical tradies scrub up well

Surgical tradies scrub up well

Video transcript

[music]

This patient is suffering from a painful swollen belly and needs urgent medical attention.

It’s a scenario that could happen in Antarctica.

Dr Natasha will be the station doctor at Casey over winter.

>> Dr Natasha Behrendorff, Casey medical officer 2019–2020: Obviously in Antarctica, I’ve got to be the person who either delegates it to someone else or does it.

At each Australian Antarctic research station, there’s one doctor and no nurses.

So each year before they head south, Royal Hobart Hospital trains expeditioners as Lay Surgical Assistants to help the doctor in medical emergencies.


>> Daniel Dardha, Casey plumber 2019–2020: It’s been a massive learning curve, it’s something totally different from being a plumber on the job site to coming into the Hobart hospital, and everyone’s been great here too.

Plumber Daniel finds a bit in common with his day job.

>> Daniel Dardha: Because I was on the anaesthetic side of things, working with the ventilator, so it’s all just air and oxygen and in and out, don’t get them crossed up and make sure there’s no leaks and you’re pretty right to go aren’t you. Q: Just like air-conditioning? A: That’s plumbing, just in a fancy looking box.

Carpenter Glen is on the tools.

>> Glen Pretious, Casey carpenter 2019–2020: Scrub nurse, assisting the surgeon, keeping a sterile field, handling all the instruments for the surgeon. Hand hygiene, as a chippie you don’t normally have clean hands, but you certainly do here.

There are new things for the doctor to learn too.

>> Dr Natasha Behrendorff: It’s interesting, I have to use different language, and guess always be aware they may not recognise when things are deteriorating in the same way that someone else with medical training might.

With a nasty infected appendix removed, this patient will live to train another day.

>> Glen Pretious (Q: after this kind of training, what are you willing to take on?)

I’ll take on anything, after this training! (laughs)

 

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Designer drill video

Designer drill video

Video transcript

Extreme Antarctic conditions require extreme engineering.

Australian Antarctic Division Project Manager, Matt Filipowski: “The materials being used in the drill need to be able to withstand minus fifty degree ice temperatures and also just to operate continuously in that environment.”

The Australian Antarctic Program is designing and building a unique ice core drill.

This new drill refines a design develop with international partners.

It’s nine metres long and made of specialised stainless steel, aluminium bronze and titanium.

The drill will delve 3000 metres into the Antarctic ice cap to extract some of the oldest ice on Earth.

Matt Filipowski: “There’s a sharp cutting tip at the end that works a bit like a hole saw and that cuts a plug out of the ice. Then the drill chamber actually holds that section of ice, and then we winch the drill all the way to the top, to the surface, and we take that long cylindrical core out and then start the process all over again.”

Three metres of ice core will be extracted at a time.

The cores hold chemicals and tiny bubbles of atmosphere from more than a million years ago.

This snapshot will help scientists better predict how the climate might change into the future.

Once built, drilling is expected to commence in Antarctica in 2021.

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