Antarctic video gallery

Deep Frozen Democracy

Deep Frozen Democracy

Video transcript

During winter, our Antarctic stations are ice-bound and isolated.

So, how do our expeditioners get to vote on election day?

Each station has two volunteer Returning Officers appointed by the Australian Electoral Commission.

Sam Sanders, Assistant Returning Officer, Casey station:
I’m Sam, 28 years old…actually no, that’s a lie. I’m 27 (laughs). Sam Sanders, 27 years old, from Melbourne, and I’m the Bureau of Meteorology technician down here at Casey station.

Craig Butsch, Returning Officer, Casey station:
G’day, my name’s Craig Butsch, I’m 46 years old, from Darwin, originally from Melbourne, and I’m down here at Casey station with the Bureau of Meteorology as the senior meteorological observer.

The Casey polling booth has a view over the sea ice.

Sam Sanders:
So we’ll be voting later on today. We’ve set up the booth down at the wharf, and we’re ready to roll.

This year a total of 49 expeditioners are registered to vote as ‘Antarctic electors’.

The AEC emails ballot papers for each voter to the Returning Officers, who print them out.

Craig Butsch:
So people down here at Casey will be voting with a paper ballot. They’ll be placing it in the secured ballot box, and the next day myself and my assistant Sam will be counting the votes and then phoning them through to the AEC in Hobart.

Sam Sanders:
Yeah look, I think it’s really nice to be involved in what’s going on back in Australia, and voting is a nice way of doing that, and it’s good to be involved.

Craig Butsch:
It’s a little bit cold today, so we won’t be having a sausage sizzle but we will be having brunch. We’ll get our sausages, but it’ll be an inside-brunch-sausage instead of an outside-democracy-sausage-sizzle-sausage. (laughs)

[end transcript]

Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em

Southern Ocean to the Somme

New Centre for Antarctic, Remote and Maritime Medicine

New Centre for Antarctic, Remote and Maritime Medicine

Video transcript

Antarctica is a remote and extreme environment.

There’s only a single doctor on each Australian station to provide medical care over winter.

Chief Medical Officer Dr Jeff Ayton “In Antarctica we are isolated for nine months of the year and we’ve had to deal with anything from mental health issues right through to major trauma in isolation.”

The skills developed by Antarctic doctors will now be extended to other remote and regional areas through the Centre for Antarctic, Remote and Maritime Medicine (CARMM).

It will bring together a network of specialists to support healthcare in isolated communities.

Advanced telehealth systems will play a key role.

Chief Medical Officer Dr Jeff Ayton “We’ve got access to real time monitoring but also near real time and real time imaging coming through. Providing the necessary support 24/7 to the distant doctor and the community that they are serving.”

The Centre will also provide accredited training and education pathways for generalist health practitioners.

Chief Medical Officer Dr Jeff Ayton “CARMM has been a long time coming and this is fantastic and an amazing opportunity to bring together for Tasmania and Australia, a cold climate academic centre of excellence which will deliver health care, training, education and research and innovation well into the future.”

CARMM is a partnership between the Australian and Tasmanian Governments and the University of Tasmania.

[end transcript]

A glimpse beneath the ice

A glimpse beneath the ice

Video transcript

The Totten Glacier is the largest in East Antarctica.

It stretches 30 kilometres across and up to 2 kilometres deep.

But little is known about what lies beneath this mass of ice, whether it’s bedrock or water.

Dr Ben Galton-Fenzi “By understanding how much ocean is under the glacier we can then understand how susceptible they are to climate change.”

For the first time researchers have found a network of lakes underneath the glacier using seismic testing.

They set off a series of small explosions two metres below the surface of the glacier, sending out sound waves.

Dr Ben Galton-Fenzi “That will echo off different layers in the ice and the bottom of the ice. Then we have geophones, that are basically microphones on the surface, that will listen to that sound and that will tell us how thick it is and the characteristics of the ice and the ocean below the ice.”

The research will help better predict future sea level rise.

[end transcript]

Work begins on million year ice core drill

Solar Farm at Casey

Solar Farm at Casey

Video transcript

TEXT BOX: The first Australian solar farm in Antarctica has been switched on at Casey research station.

MARK PEKIN — INFRASTRUCTURE ENGINEER. We’re installing some solar panels, primarily to help with the power on station and reduce the amount of diesel that we burn.

TEXT BOX: 105 solar panels are mounted on the northern wall of the station’s store.

TEXT BOX: They provide 30 kilowatts of renewable energy into the station’s power grid.

MARK PEKIN: Back in the real world the sun typically goes overhead. Down here at the very low latitudes in the southern hemisphere, the sun typically doesn’t get much above the horizon, so the wall of the building gets more sunshine than the roof of the building.

It’s certainly a lot windier down here than what you’d find when normal solar panels are installed. And that’s another value of having it on the wall. It’s quite snug in there. And the panels are designed for some fairly serious wind loads.

DOREEN McCURDY — ENGINEERING SERVICES SUPERVISOR: Temperature is a big thing as well. The guys are having to do really fiddly little screws and nuts and when their hands are cold they need to take breaks and put their hands in pockets with pocket warmers to warm up.

Each panel takes about 20 minutes to install. When we have cold or really windy days the guys come inside and pull cables or install cable trays.

TEXT BOX: The panels will help cut fuel costs and emissions and boost the station’s capacity at peak times.

MARK PEKIN: There are no doubt some learnings that we’ll get for this and we’ll look at what that can do for some of our other stations as well.

Masdar credit: This project was made possible by Masdar (Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company), a global leader in the commercialisation and deployment of renewable energy and clean technologies in more than 25 countries around the world to address global sustainability challenges.

[end transcript]

Whales, krill, iron & ice

Whales, krill, iron & ice

Video transcript

Text on screen:

The seven-week science voyage to East Antarctica on RV Investigator has been a major success.

Searching 200,000km2 of the Southern Ocean, scientists found Antarctic blue whales by following their calls.

More than 250 underwater listening devices were deployed, capturing over 750 hours of underwater recordings.

More than 300 hours of search effort were logged.

36 blue whales were encountered, and 25 individually identified.

This voyage was the first to also focus on the whales’ primary food source, Antarctic krill.

For the first time on an Australian research vessel, echo sounders built 3D pictures of giant krill swarms.

Several swarms extended over 1 kilometre in length and hundreds of metres across.

Scientists want to learn if iron-rich whale poo fertilises the ocean and helps grow more krill.

For the first time in the Southern Ocean, drones were used to take surface water samples.

Near icebergs where the ship couldn’t reach, drone missions dipped jars into the sea to collect water.

Vast amounts of other data about water chemistry were collected.

Every piece of the puzzle is important to better understand the ecology of the Southern Ocean.

Production: Mark Horstman, Simon Payne.

Vision: Alex Vail, James Cox.

This research is supported by a grant of sea time on RV Investigator from the CSIRO Marine National Facility.

[end transcript]