A UK team will study an area that has been hidden for thousands of years, until a giant iceberg broke away last year.
A research team from the UK will be conducting a major expedition of a seabed ecosystem that has been hidden from view for thousands of years, and was suddenly revealed by a giant iceberg that broke away from the Antarctic Peninsula last year. The British Antarctic Survey has released some video of the iceberg that spans 6,000 square kilometers which was shot from a plane that flew along its edge.
Over a three week period from February into March on the research ship RRS James Clark Ross, researchers will explore the Larsen C ice shelf where the iceberg disconnected from the continent. It will provide scientists with a major opportunity to study marine life and how it has been impacted by environmental change.
It will be a very difficult journey fraught with challenges for the team, who must navigate ice-filled waters. However, this could provide some major breakthroughs in understanding the continent and climate change itself.
“A team of scientists, led by British Antarctic Survey (BAS), heads to Antarctica this week (14 February) to investigate a mysterious marine ecosystem that’s been hidden beneath an Antarctic ice shelf for up to 120,000 years,” reads a statement from the British Antarctic Survey. “The iceberg known as A-68, which is four times of London, calved off from the Larsen Ice Shelf in July 2017. The scientists will travel by ship to collect samples from the newly exposed seabed, which covers an area of around 5,818 km2. It is an urgent mission. The ecosystem that’s likely been hidden beneath the ice for thousands of years may change as sunlight starts to alter the surface layers of the sea. The international team, from nine research institutes, leaves Stanley in the Falkland Islands on 21 February to spend 3 weeks in February-March 2018 on board the BAS research ship RRS James Clark Ross. Satellite monitoring is critical for the ship to navigate through the ice-infested waters to reach this remote location.”