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Antarctica, 2004 News Archives
Her power and beauty is nature in its purest state...

Latest Antarctic News | Important Disclaimer

This section will host some of the important news about Antarctica and will come from many of the online news services and RSS news feeds. This is just a sampling and will not include every news breaking event. If our readers find articles they feel should be listed here, please email us the URL of the news headline and we will consider posting it here.

Iceberg threat to penguin chicks...
WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) -- Tens of thousands of Antarctic penguin chicks could starve to death in the next few weeks as a huge iceberg blocks access to coastal feeding grounds, a New Zealand official has said.

A 3,000 square-kilometer (1,200 square-mile) iceberg, known as B15A, could also block the sea route used to supply three science stations during the Southern Hemisphere summer, said Lou Sanson, chief executive of the government scientific agency Antarctica New Zealand. The iceberg has blocked sea ice flows from McMurdo Sound as it moves at a speed of 2 kilometers (1.2 miles) a day. U.S. researchers have estimated that B15A contains enough fresh water to supply Egypt's Nile River complex for 80 years, Sanson said.

He called the iceberg "the largest floating thing on the planet right now," and said it could block four supply ships due to arrive in Antarctica in a month. Three thousand breeding pairs of Adele penguins on Antarctic's Cape Royds face a 180-kilometer (112-mile) round trip to bring food to their chicks, because their access to ocean feeding grounds has been cut by the ice buildup.

"So by the time a penguin comes in from the ice edge on a return 180-kilometer (112-mile) walk they've used all the food" they gathered when they reach their nests, he said. "Penguin researchers are predicting that the annual hatching is pretty certain to fail," Sanson said, meaning most chicks will die. Scientists also fear that only about 10 percent of the 50,000 breeding pairs of Adele penguins at nearby Cape Bird will rear a chick this season, Sanson added.

Adult penguins there face a 100-kilometer (60-mile) round trip across the ice to reach open water and food. Antarctica New Zealand is working with the United States and Italian Antarctic programs on alternatives for receiving vital fuel supplies for their science bases in late January.

A U.S. icebreaker, fuel tanker and cargo ship plus an Italian cargo vessel are due to deliver a year's supply of fuel and food at that time, he said. The alternatives are to break a 130-kilometer (81-mile) channel through the pack ice to reach Winter Quarters Bay on the McMurdo Sound coast -- or offload the fuel and other supplies on the ice edge, pumping fuel through temporary lines several miles to storage tanks, he said.

All Antarctic bases have contingency supplies of a year's food and fuel, Sanson said.

Currently there is "more fast (blocked) ice in McMurdo Sound than we've ever recorded in living history for this time of year," Sanson said, adding that the iceberg has been stopping normal winds and water currents from breaking up sea ice in McMurdo Sound.

Posted: CNN, Tuesday, December 14, 2004 Posted: 8:51 AM EST (1351 GMT)

Antarctic wildlife facing food shortage...
(AP) -- A key food source for Antarctic seals, whales and penguins has declined about 80 percent since the 1970s in ocean waters near the Antarctic Peninsula, researchers report.

The overall effect of the decline in stocks of krill, a shrimp-like crustacean, isn't clear, but the finding suggests "we need to do some more work quite urgently to find out what's going to happen," said marine biologist Angus Atkinson. Some prior studies have suggested an effect on penguin diet, foraging behavior and population sizes, he said.

Atkinson, of the British Antarctic Survey, is lead author of a report on krill abundance in Thursday's issue of the journal Nature. He and colleagues combined data from nearly 12,000 net hauls done from 1926-39 and 1976-2003. Results showed the Antarctic krill population to be concentrated largely northeast of the Antarctic Peninsula, which lies south of the tip of South America, but they also revealed the long-term declines in summer krill stocks in this area.

Statistical analysis suggested the most likely explanation is declines in the amount of winter sea ice in the area of the peninsula. Krill feed on algae found on sea ice. The area around the peninsula has shown an unusually strong warming trend over the past 50 years, although Atkinson said it's not clear how that is connected to the loss of sea ice. He also said the cause of the warming isn't known.

Eileen Hofmann, professor of oceanography at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia, said if the study is born out by further work, it means climate change is affecting the marine food web in the Antarctic Peninsula region. It will take more research to determine the impact on penguins, seals and whales, she said. Posted: CNN, Wednesday, November 3, 2004 Posted: 2:09 PM EST (1909 GMT)

Additional Information:
Scientists Link Antarctic Ice Melt to Decline in Staple Food for Fish and Marine Mammals

(4 November 2004
  - McAlary Report - 400k Audio (Real audio)

Antarctic birds use scent to find mates...
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Antarctic birds returning to a nesting colony after feeding at sea sniff out their mates, literally.

Antarctic Prion - Photograph by John WarhamResearchers studying the behavior of birds called Antarctic prions found the musky-smelling birds were able to discern the scent of their mates. Scent is widely used among mammals, but this is the first time it has been shown to be used by birds, according to the researchers, Francesco Bonadonna of the French National Center for Scientific Research and Gabrielle A. Nevitt of the University of California at Davis.

Their findings were reported Thursday in the journal Science. Antarctic prions are part of a group known as tube-nosed seabirds. They mate for life and take turns incubating their eggs, with one bird sitting on the eggs while the other goes to the sea for food. Scientists studying the birds found they have a noticeable odor, which remained behind on bags sometimes used to hold the birds. So the researchers set up a Y-shaped maze. On the end of each arm, they placed a bag that had previously held a bird. In 17 out of 20 cases, the returning bird selected the bag that smelled like its mate, indicating smell plays a part in finding their way back to the right spot.

In a separate test, returning birds avoided bags that smelled like themselves, the team found. In some mammal species, avoiding animals that smell like themselves has evolved as a way to avoid inbreeding. Posted: CNN, Thursday, October 28, 2004 Posted: 2:21 PM EDT (1821 GMT)

Additional Information:
The photograph of the Antarctic Prion was taken by John Warham (leading figure in seabird biology) and additional information about the Antarctic Prion can be found by linking to the Australian Antarctic Division website.

Antarctic glaciers melting faster... ( Full Story: 1 2 )
WASHINGTON (Reuters) -- Glaciers once held up by a floating ice shelf off Antarctica are now sliding off into the sea -- and they are going fast, scientists said. Posted: CNN, Wednesday, September 22, 2004 Posted: 11:15 PM EDT (0315 GMT)

Space habitat headed for Antarctica... ( Full Story )
( -- A new research station at the bottom of the world may give future Antarctica researchers some special treats like living above ground and looking out a window. Posted: CNN, Wednesday, September 15, 2004 Posted: 10:05 AM EDT (1405 GMT)

New Martian meteorite found in Antarctica... ( Full Story )
WASHINGTON (Reuters) -- A meteorite from Mars has been discovered in Antarctica, one of only about 30 known Martian space rocks on Earth. Posted: CNN, Thursday, July 22, 2004 Posted: 10:04 AM EDT (1404 GMT)

Icebergs revealed under Cook painting...  ( Full Story )
LONDON, England (Reuters) -- The first known oil painting of Antarctica, hidden for more than two centuries under a tropical picture painted on Captain Cook's second voyage of southern discovery, goes on show to the public on Tuesday. Posted: CNN, Tuesday, July 6, 2004 Posted: 9:54 AM EDT (1354 GMT)

Antarctic ice station likely to float away...
LONDON, England (Reuters) -- Britain's Antarctic ice station has a design problem few architects can have envisaged when it was built -- within a decade it is likely to float away. The existing base is built on an ice shelf which is likely to break off into the sea if global warming continues at its current rate. So now the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) has appealed for designers to come up with a replacement. Posted: CNN, Monday, June 28, 2004 Posted: 10:46 PM EDT (0246 GMT)

Japan cleans up Antarctic garbage...
TOKYO, Japan (AP) -- Japanese researchers in Antarctica are getting serious about cleaning up the half-century's worth of garbage piled up at their base on the southernmost continent, an official said Thursday. Building materials, cast-off snow vehicles and fuel drums have collected at the research base since the first expedition was launched in 1956. By 1998, the garbage weighed about 550 tons and research teams began clearing the pile. Now, those efforts are being accelerated in an international effort to clean up Antarctica. Japan's Science Ministry hopes to send the remaining 370 tons of garbage home within four years, ministry official Suguru Suzuki said. Posted: CNN, Thursday, June 17, 2004 10:47 AM EDT (1447 GMT)

Banding hurts penguins' chances in wild...  ( Full Story )
Identification bands that scientists use to track and study penguins may hurt their chances of reproducing, according to new research.  Posted: CNN, Friday, June 11, 2004 Posted: 4:21 PM EDT (2021 GMT)

Barring humans, 15,000 years warm weather...  ( Full Story )
"Our data shows we won't go into another ice age. We have 15,000 years before that is coming," Dr Eric Wolff, of the British Antarctic Survey, told a news conference.  Posted: CNN, Thursday, June 10, 2004 Posted: 9:46 AM EDT (1346 GMT)

Oldest Antarctic ice core reveals climate history...  ( Full Story )
Secrets of the Earth's past climate locked in a three-kilometer long Antarctic ice core are revealed this week in the journal Nature. The core from Dome C, high on East Antarctica's plateau, contains snowfall from the last 740,000 years and is by far the oldest continuous climate record obtained from ice cores so far.  Published: British Antarctic Survey (BAS), June 9, 2004

Underwater Volcano Discovered Off Antarctica...artist's depiction of the track of the camera array as it is towed over the volcanic cone
The volcano stands 2,300 feet above the seafloor and extends to within roughly 900 feet of the ocean surface.

WASHINGTON (AP) -- A previously unknown underwater volcano has been discovered off the coast of Antarctica, the National Science Foundation (NSF) said Thursday.

NSF Press Release | CBS Video

Posted: Friday, May 21, 2004 Posted: 10:14 AM EDT (1414 GMT)

Peace Expedition to Antarctica (2004) - Palestinians and Israelis have been warring with each other for years, but on January 1st, 2004, four Israelis and four Palestinians (two women and six men) will set aside theirBreaking the Ice differences to set off on a sea and land expedition to the distant reaches of Antarctica. The teams goal is to summit and name a previously unclimbed mountain in a ceremony at its peak. Heskel Nathaniel, a 41-year-old Israeli property developer wants to show that people can work together as individuals, despite their differences and troubled history. He goes on to say: "We're either going to win as a team, or fail together. We have to learn to understand each other, and to co-operate."

Their expedition is being called: "Breaking the Ice"
News Stories: 1  2  3  4

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