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Antarctic and Southern Ocean stories

Hobart hosts international scientists

Hobart further cemented its role as the Antarctic gateway, as scientists from across the globe gathered to take the ‘temperature’ – or geothermal heat flow – of the icy continent. Accurate ‘temperatures’ are needed to understand how the Antarctic Ice Sheet contributes to rising sea levels. However, getting these measurements has been hampered by logistic problems with drilling, caused by thick ice cover and bedrock. Organiser, Dr Jacqueline Halpin, from the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies (IMAS) said: “In Antarctica, 99 per cent of the continent is covered in ice, so geothermal heat flow patterns are difficult to map, but hotspots may significantly affect how ice flows and melts in different areas.” Scientists from the US, UK, China, Japan, Belgium, Ireland and New Zealand met in Hobart in late March to discuss the sharing of data bases and models of geothermal heat flow. “Models which predict the future evolution of the Antarctic Ice Sheet need to take into account the continent’s underlying temperatures,” Dr Halpin said. “It’s an exciting time in the development of research in this field, as we combine expertise from a range of disciplines to explore the underlying temperature of the Antarctic continent.”

11 April 2018, Edition 193

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