Saturday, February 5, 2022

Shackleton and South: the journey back to sub-zero

South: Sir Ernest Shackleton’s Glorious Epic of the Antarctic (1919)
From BFI by Bryony Dixon
Few reels of film can boast an adventure to compare with what happened to the footage from Shackleton’s fateful Antarctic expedition in the 1910s.
Catch the new BFINationalArchive remaster of South in selected cinemas now

It’s been a hundred years since the death of Sir Ernest Shackleton, Britain’s great Antarctic explorer, at the relatively young age of 42.
It’s also over a century since the precious film reels of the 1914 to 1916 Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition were brought to London by photographer-filmmaker Frank Hurley.
The young Australian survived – thanks largely to Shackleton’s extraordinary determination and leadership skills – and the pictures and films along with him.
The survival of the images is as dramatic a story as the survival of the men. 
The Endurance at night, as seen in South: 
Sir Ernest Shackleton’s Glorious Epic of the Antarctic (1919)

Hurley merrily filmed away as the expedition advanced, with beautiful shots taken at sea, of the pack ice and of the Endurance trying to force passage through the leads.
As the ship became frozen in, he continued to film the work to free her, as well as the setting up of camp on the floating pack ice.
He created extraordinarily inventive shots like one of the rigging lit up at night by magnesium flash.
He captured the gradual destruction and the ship’s final moments as the ice crushed her.
Then the filming stopped as the decision was made to drag the small boats to open water to try to get to land.
There would be no room for heavy cameras, only a couple of pounds per man of personal possessions. The food could be man-hauled across the rough pack ice. 
Hurley broke the rules to go aboard the ship and rescue the reels of film and glass slides. It was perilous and nearly got him in trouble with ‘the boss’
He describes the scene:
Early next morning, before the others were astir, Wild and I rejoined him and together we went aboard the Endurance. Poor old ship, what a battered wreck she was! All the cabins along the starboard side had closed up like the bellows of a folding camera. The alleyways were under water and blocked with debris and ice, while the wardroom was crammed to the ceiling with ice blocks and splinters… The refrigerating chamber, which once served as my darkroom, was a wreck of timbers filled with mushy ice. Somewhere in the icy waters lay submerged the hermetically-sealed cases containing my films and negatives. I had been warned not to remove them from the ship owing to the desperate struggle which now lay before us in a march to the land – a march on which food alone could be carried.

He continues:
We hacked our way through the splintered timbers and after vainly fishing in the ice-laden waters with boathooks, I made up my mind to dive in after them. It was mighty cold work groping about in the mushy ice.

But Shackleton, well aware of the paramount importance of returning with images, allowed Hurley to take the film reels and 120 of the glass slides.
As an archivist I can’t help but be impressed by his packing skills.
The fact that exposed negatives survived underwater and produced the beautifully sharp images we see today is extraordinary.
Hurley describes the painful process of selecting which images to keep:
Sir Ernest and I went over the plates together, and as a negative was rejected, I would smash it on the ice to obviate all temptation to change my mind.
Finally, the choice was made, and the films and plates that I considered indispensable were stowed away in one of the boats, having first been placed in double tins hermetically sealed.
About 400 plates were jettisoned and 120 retained.
Later I had to preserve them almost with my life; for a time came when we had to choose between heaving them overboard or throwing away our surplus food—and the food went over!
All my photographic gear was compulsorily abandoned, except one small pocket camera and three spools of unexposed film.
I wonder if three spools of film ever went through more exacting experiences before they were developed.

The same could be said for the three reels of cine film.
And it didn’t stop there – the films and photos with the tiny pocket camera with three unexposed rolls of film made it across the ice to the sea, and through six days and nights in a small cramped boat.
When they reached Elephant Island, the cans were buried in permafrost (they couldn’t have known it, but this was more or less the correct archival thing to do) for four months as they survived, in an upturned boat, burning seal blubber for warmth.

They could have starved or frozen – unable to communicate and on no shipping route, with no knowledge of whether Shackleton and his companions had made it back to civilisation.
Then the miracle happened: Shackleton returned after several unsuccessful attempts to find a ship that could make landfall and bring them off.

It was a great moment as Hurley recalls but even then, the films were on his mind:
Cheer followed cheer, the mountains cheered back, the sun even burst momentarily through the clouds. It was not only the sight of relief that warmed our hearts, for as the little boat drew near, we recognised our long-lost and heroic comrades, Shackleton, Crean, and Worsley!
But there was no time to be lost in greetings, rejoicings and salutations; they could come later when we were safe on board. Our relentless gaolers the icefields were hurrying to close the portals.
Scurrying clouds were drifting over the mountains and obscuring the sun; the wind began to pipe, bleak and gusty. A blizzard was coming; there was not a moment to lose.
Our few scientific specimens and records were gathered, the boxes of negatives and cinematograph films were hastily loaded into a boat, all were to be saved at last.

Even after their rescue, the films could have been lost, as so many silent films were, when their initial distribution period was over.
But there was value in the reels for lecturing by Shackleton and other explorers, including Hurley himself, and the negatives were reused multiple times to tell the story in different ways. 
Frank Hurley and Ernest Shackleton

Sir William Jury, a film magnate, bought the footage and rights in 1926, when the ITA expedition went into voluntary liquidation.
He saved the assorted bits of negative and positive, and later reissued it as a sound film, Endurance (1933), with a commentary by Frank Worsley.
Worsley was the captain of the Endurance and a navigational genius who sailed the Dudley Docker across 800 miles of open sea to south Georgia.

In some ways, probably the greatest risk to the material was the making of the sound version, when the negatives seem to have been re-cut and reframed.
But Jury left them in trust to make sure they were preserved, and they have been held at the BFI since 1955.

In 1996 the silent version was restored as the standalone film we know as South: Sir Ernest Shackleton’s Glorious Epic of the Antarctic.
Other vintage prints from around the world were used as a guide for the restoration, while the original reels have returned to sub-zero temperatures in the BFI’s master film store.

With all the bad things that can happen to film stock and the mechanics of cameras in the extremely low temperatures of Antarctica – where the oil freezes jamming the mechanisms and can tear the fragile film – the celluloid seems to have returned in astonishingly good order.
Of course, Hurley only had half a film as the camera was left behind, missing all that drama, and is still presumably home to brittle stars at the bottom of the South Atlantic.

He returned to south Georgia almost immediately in 1916 to take wildlife footage that the newspaper editor Ernest Perris, who sponsored the film, was convinced was needed to make the film interesting to the public (he was not wrong: people were obsessed with penguins).

The story of the escape had to be filled in with titles, drawings and paintings.
South is best thought of as that multi-media documentary lecture that Shackleton would have presented with stills, paintings, film and music woven together to spin the yarn, and for Hurley’s exquisite photography that keeps alive the story of that group of extraordinary men.

Friday, February 4, 2022

New study finds world's strongest ocean current speeding up

Eddies in Antarctica
The Antarctic Circumpolar Current (ACC) is the most important current in the Southern Ocean, and the only current that flows completely around the globe.
The ACC, as it encircles the Antarctic continent, flows eastward through the southern portions of the Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific Oceans. 
From The Hill by Brooke Migdon
Researchers say “robust acceleration” in the Antarctic Circumpolar Current has been largely driven by ocean warming tied to human activity.

  • The world’s strongest ocean current, the Antarctic Circumpolar Current, is speeding up, according to new research, mostly because of rising ocean temperatures.
  • The ACC carries water around the globe, pushing more water than any other ocean current.
  • It’s not entirely clear what accelerating currents mean for the ocean, but additional research has suggested it will likely alter waters’ heat distribution and impact the way in which nutrients are carried in oceans across the globe.
Earth’s strongest ocean current is getting faster, new research has found, and it's largely because of humans.
Satellite image shows how vital ocean current is affected by climate crisis
Scientists say it vital to understand the Antarctic Circumpolar Current’s dynamics
The study, published late last month in the journal Nature Climate Change, concluded that “robust acceleration” in the Antarctic Circumpolar Current was driven mostly by human activity, which has caused ocean temperatures to climb.
When the gap in temperatures between hot and cold water widens, the currents that border them pick up speed.
“Anthropogenic ocean warming is the dominant driver,” researchers at the University of California San Diego and the University of California Riverside wrote.
 The current is also heavily influenced by wind.
The ACC separates the Southern Ocean from the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans and carries water clockwise around the globe.
It pushes more water than any other current and is the only ocean current that is not blocked by land masses, though Antarctica is surrounded by it.

Researchers in the study used satellite data on the height of the sea surface and data collected by Argo floats, data-gathering robotic instruments in oceans all over the world used to track the temperature and salinity of ocean water.
The turbulent Southern Ocean.
One month of trajectories of modeled ocean particles throughout the ocean depth colored by their dissolved inorganic carbon.
Bluer colors are the higher concentrations of carbon in the upwelling limb of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current.

Limitations of prior research have masked the ocean’s “dynamic” response to warming before now, researchers wrote, and, because the region absorbs much of the atmospheric heat generated by humans, the current should continue to quicken as the planet warms.

Scientists are still working to understand the knock-on effects of accelerating currents, but it's believed they will alter oceans’ heat distribution, affecting marine life receiving mostly warmer waters.
Faster circulation will also change how nutrients are carried in oceans around the world.

Researchers earlier this year discovered the ACC once sped up between 115,000 and 130,000 years ago during the last interglacial period, which likely caused massive weather disruptions and lowered the ocean’s ability to absorb carbon dioxide. 
Links :

Thursday, February 3, 2022

Preparing for rising seas in the Maldives

acquired February 3, 1997
acquired February 19, 2020

With more than 80 percent of its 1,190 coral islands standing less than 1 meter above sea level, the Maldives has the lowest terrain of any country in the world. 
This makes the archipelago in the Indian Ocean particularly vulnerable to sea level rise.

With global sea level rising 3 to 4 millimeters per year, and that rate expected to rise in coming decades, some analysts anticipate a grim future for the Maldives and other low-lying islands.
One study concluded that low-lying islands could become uninhabitable by 2050 as wave-driven flooding becomes more common and freshwater becomes limited.
Sea elevation
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Changes anticipates sea level could rise by about half a meter by 2100 even if greenhouse gas emissions are sharply reduced or rise up to 1 meter if greenhouse gas emissions continue to increase strongly.

While the Maldives government has explored plans to purchase land on higher ground in other countries as an insurance policy against sea level rise, planners are also working to enhance the resilience of the country’s current islands.
One example is Hulhumalé, a newly constructed artificial island northeast of the capital, Malé.

The pair of Landsat satellite images above show just how much the area has changed between 1997 and 2020.
Construction of the island, designed to relieve crowding in Malé, began in 1997 in a lagoon near the airport.
Since then, the island has grown to cover 4 square kilometers, making it the fourth largest island in the Maldives.
Hulhumalé’s population has swollen to more than 50,000 people, with 200,000 more expected to eventually move there.
Localization with the GeoGarage platform (NGA nautical raster chart)
The new island, built by pumping sand from the seafloor onto a submerged coral platform, rises about 2 meters above sea level, about twice as high as Malé. 
The extra height could make the island a refuge for Maldivians who are eventually driven off lower-lying islands due to rising seas.
It could also prove to be an option for evacuations during future typhoons and storm surges.

Hulhumalé is not the only island in the Maldives that has seen major changes since the 1990s. Reclamation projects have enlarged several other atolls in similar ways in recent decades.
Among them is Thilafushi, a lagoon to the west that has became a fast-growing landfill and a common location for trash fires (note the smoke plume blowing to the southwest in the 2020 image). Gulhifalhuea is the site of another land reclamation project that is opening up new manufacturing and industrial space.

There is one piece of positive news: natural processes on coral reef atolls (like those in the Maldives) might make the islands more resistant to sea level rise than their low elevations might initially suggest.
Multiple studies, many of which use Landsat observations, show that most coral atoll islands in the Maldives and elsewhere have remained stable or even grown larger in recent decades.
Scientists are still studying why, but some research indicates that storms and floods that wash over islands can move offshore sediment onto the island surface, building the island up in the process. Other research shows that healthy coral reefs can grow upward even when seas are rising by producing abundant sediment.

“The key thing to understand is that these islands aren’t static. They don’t sit passively as if they were in a bathtub and slowly drowning,” said Murray Ford, a geologist at the University of Auckland. 
“They are constantly being reshaped by oceanographic and sedimentary processes.”

These natural processes may offer only limited protection to highly developed islands, partly because the construction of sea walls can disrupt the movement of sediment and human activity often degrades the health of coral reefs. 
“Once an island is on an engineered pathway, it can’t easily get off it. Islands that are being built on reclaimed land must factor in sea level rise and build higher off the ground,” said Murray. 
“For islands that are unpopulated, or sparsely populated, care should be taken to not interfere with the natural ability of islands to adjust to changes in sea level.” 
Links :

Wednesday, February 2, 2022

By cultivating seaweed, indigenous communities restore connection to the ocean

From Mongabay by Claudia Geib
  • In many places, Indigenous communities are working to restore seaweed species that have been traditional food sources or supported traditional diets.
  • From kelp farms in Alaska to seaweed-focused community education in Hawai‘i, the projects take many forms.
  • These Indigenous groups are reemphasizing the ability of marine algae and plants to support food sovereignty, climate resilience, and connections to tradition.

For the uninitiated, the first mouthful of the Hawaiian red algae known as limu kohu (Asparagopsis taxiformis) may be an unpleasant one: intensely iodine-rich and bitter, with all the marine intensity of an oyster but none of its sweetness.
O‘ahu resident Malia Heimuli doesn’t have the ‘ono for it, the Hawaiian word for when something tastes good.
But she says the older people in her life can’t get enough.

“I’m not used to the taste, but my grandma and mom are like, ‘gimme that any day,’” Heimuli says with a laugh.

There’s a reason for that generational divide, and it’s one that Heimuli knows well.
Over the last 50 years, limu kohu, along with many of the 60-plus species of seaweed grouped together in Hawai‘i as limu, became less common on the islands’ shores, the result of changing environmental factors.
With less limu available, many among the most recent generation of Native Hawaiians grew up without learning the culinary, medical and spiritual uses of these algae.

But that’s changing, in Hawai‘i and around the world.
Heimuli is the coordinator of a community group called Limu Hui — a partnership, or gathering, around limu.
Based out of the community environmental nonprofit Kuaʻāina Ulu ‘Auamo (KUA), Limu Hui seeks to both restore the health of Hawai‘i’s limu species, and pass on the ancestral knowledge of limu held by elders to the next generation.
Clusters of pale red limu kohu grow amongst green algae in Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument nortwest of Hawai’i.
Image by Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument via Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0).
In Hawaii, limu species also have significance outside of serving as food.
This lei, from the Bishop Museum in Oahu, was made of limu kala and used in forgiveness ceremonies to resolve family disputes.
Image by Wally Gobetz via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0).

Limu Hui’s work reflects a much broader trend: many Indigenous communities are working to restore degraded seaweed species that support traditional diets.
(Many of these projects work with algae, including limu and kelp, though some touch on seagrasses, a marine plant.) In doing so, these communities are restoring both ecosystems and these species’ traditional cultural functions, a practice known as biocultural restoration.

“If I were to list goals that various community members have expressed, healing from the harms of colonization is one goal, along with food sovereignty and security,” says Melissa Poe, a social scientist at Washington Sea Grant in Seattle and the coordinator of the Indigenous Aquaculture Collaborative Network.
The network helps groups in the Pacific region share information and develop community.
It currently includes at least a dozen groups working on some form of seaweed restoration, and Poe says interest is growing among other network members.

Poe says such work not only enables self-determination, but also the “awakening of knowledge” around resource management from an Indigenous framework: one that recognizes “the kinds of inherent responsibilities and kinship that Indigenous, place-based peoples have with their environments.”

These projects take many forms, including education, ecosystem restoration, commercial farming, research, or a combination thereof.

In Haida Gwaii, a chain of lush islands in British Columbia, Canada, it’s education and restoration.
Each spring, scuba divers swim along coasts once covered in kelp forests with hammers in hand, out to smash sea urchins.

Two centuries without sea otters, hunted for the fur trade, have left these coasts overrun with the urchins, an otter’s meal of choice.
Sea urchins fed voraciously on the holdfasts that keep kelp fixed to the seafloor, decimating Haida Gwaii’s kelp forests.
With the kelp’s decline, the Haida people also face the disappearance of many traditional foods, including abalone — which also graze on kelp — and herring spawn on kelp.
Herring instinctively lay their eggs on the broad leaves of kelp forests, producing a creamy, crunchy delicacy eaten both raw and cooked.

“The work we’re doing directly relates to food security, food sovereignty, and climate resilience, because kelp forests are essentially all of those things combined,” says Jaasaljuus Yakgujanaas, a shellfish biologist at the Council of the Haida Nation who has been a part of the kelp recovery program since 2018.
Grafton Schikora harvests sugar kelp grown by the Native Conservancy in Alaska’s Prince William Sound.
Image by Tesia Bobrycki/Native Conservancy.

Beginning in 2017, the Haida Nation teamed up with Parks Canada to conduct a combination of restoration and research over their 3-kilometer (1.9-mile) study site.
Project divers remove more than 75% of urchins at a depth of 17 meters (56 feet) or lower, as well as survey the study site for abalone and other species and collect samples to test ecosystem health.
The team has seen encouraging results.
After urchin removal in 2018, project divers returned the next year to find kelp forest already regrowing in places where there was once little to no growth.

Overgrazed kelp forests become “urchin barrens”; sea urchins there have proliferated so severely that they don’t have sufficient food.
The urchins enter a zombie-like state, slowing their metabolism and reabsorbing their reproductive organs.
This means they contain no roe, a protein-rich traditional food for many First Nations, and one that has been in short supply for the Haida Nation.

Yet this year, Yakgujanaas says the urchins they removed seemed healthier, with better-quality roe.

It’s a sign the project is moving toward its goal of reestablishing balance: between kelp and urchins, and between urchins and the people who treasure them as a food source.
Haida divers now distribute roe to the community when they remove healthy urchins.

As kelp regrows, the Haida Nation hopes to see abalone return, too.
Yakgujanaas notes that her elders harvested abalone as a reliable food source, but she has never been able to; during her lifetime, abalone numbers have been too low for a sustainable harvest.

Kelp forms the backbone of healthy ecosystems, providing food, shelter and oxygen.
The Haida kelp restoration is therefore led by an Indigenous understanding of interconnectedness: that healthy seaweeds sustain the health of the ecosystem as a whole.

Young bull kelp on a growline in Prince William Sound, Alaska.
Image courtesy of Tesia Bobrycki/Native Conservancy.

It’s a theme shared across many Indigenous seaweed projects, regardless of what form they take.

On British Columbia’s Central Coast, the Heiltsuk Nation and scientists from Simon Fraser University piloted research studying whether commercially harvesting feather boa kelp (Egregia menziesii) could be sustainable for both the algae and the ecosystem it supports.
They found that, by following traditional Heiltsuk practices of only harvesting part of each individual kelp at a time, it actually grew back more enthusiastically than if left alone.

“People were really excited [about] these results, that if we’re careful about following these partial harvesting rules, it really is and can be sustainable just as Heiltsuk knowledge suggests,” says Hannah Kobluk, a Ph.D.
researcher at Simon Fraser who took part in the project.
She says their research underlined “the richness that comes from drawing from multiple forms of knowledge, whether it be Indigenous, local, fishermen themselves … it all paints a way richer picture.”

In Alaska, the Cordova-based Native Conservancy has started several pilot programs in kelp farming.
The goal is to create a “regenerative kelp economy based on conservation, restoration and mitigation — not another resource extraction job in Alaska,” says founder and president Dune Lankard, a member of the Eyak tribe.

Lankard’s hope is that their kelp farms will not only provide kelp itself — fresh, frozen, and dried, for local consumption and to bring to market — but also create shelter where wild salmon can hide from predators, and surface area where herring can lay their eggs.

The Native Conservancy currently has nine test sites along a more than 160-km (100-mile) stretch in Prince William Sound, where kelp grows affixed to long anchored lines, as well as a test farm that the conservancy seeded with ribbon, sugar and bull kelp (Alaria marginata, Laminaria saccharina and Nereocystis luetkeana) in the fall of 2021.

The goal is to make a trifecta of food source, sellable products, and stable jobs for Alaska’s Indigenous communities.
In many, Lankard says, locals choose to move away when they reach adulthood because of the lack of consistent work.
That diaspora has exacerbated a disconnect with the ocean and traditional practices.
Tyler Quales monitoring grow lines in Prince William Sound, Alaska.
Image courtesy of Tesia Bobrycki/Native Conservancy.

“Native peoples are the original guardians and stewards of their ancestral lands and waterways,” Lankard says.
“If we’re able to build an industry that’s based on one of our traditional food sources and ways of life, it adds that cultural aspect, that spirit, and that relationship with the ocean.”

This relationship becomes particularly important when climate change is thrown into the mix.
For all of the Indigenous groups Mongabay spoke with, climate change is top of mind, especially the question of how warming waters could harm the very seaweed these groups seek to preserve.

Conversely, seaweed could help mitigate climate change.
A 2016 paper estimated that macroalgae sequester 173 million metric tons of carbon every year as they float offshore and eventually sink into the deep sea.
Some research also suggests seaweed buffers against ocean acidification, providing oases of safety as the ocean’s pH drops.
Yet at the same time, the warmer, more nutrient-poor waters that come with climate change are stressing these species; recent marine heat waves have been particularly devastating for kelp forests.

Even so, there is refuge, and hope, in the traditional knowledge deployed for these projects.

“There have been many millennia of environmental and climate changes in the past; that ancestral knowledge has helped communities survive and thrive to this day,” says Poe.
“Sometimes the community members in our network use the phrase, ‘looking to the past to prepare for the future.’”

In Hawai‘i, Limu Hui is breaking new ground as it tests methods of transplanting limu species grown in tanks to the wild ocean.
Yet the group’s members emphasized that Limu Hui’s true focus is encouraging relationships with limu itself.
Limu Hui coordinator Wally Ito shows some limu to participants of the organization’s regular limu walks in Hawai‘i, which help locals connect with local seaweed species.
Image by Kim Moa/KUA.

“The idea of limu restoration is not so much just limu planting; it’s a pathway for community cohesion,” says Wally Ito, a co-founder of Limu Hui.
“To get younger kids out of the house, and get them to touch the limu.
Smell the limu.
Taste the limu.
We have this taste, this ‘ono, of limu.
But we cannot pass on that taste to the next generation.
They gotta taste it for themselves.”

Miwa Tamanaha, former co-director of KUA and a founding member of Limu Hui, noted that public attention to marine algae is also growing outside of Indigenous communities; the recent explosion of seaweed farming is a prime example.
As humanity experiences a collective loss of biodiversity, habitat and community, Tamanaha says this interest “maybe is an indicator of re-centering relationship — what each of our places wisely has to feed us, and what we wisely have to give to our places in turn.”
Links :

Tuesday, February 1, 2022

This concept yacht has a surprising power source

The new boat's use of electricity, along with solar cells and wind turbines will make the boat 70% self-sufficient in energy.
Image: The SeaCleaners

From World Economic Forum by Lucien Libert

Yvan Bourgon and his team have designed a yacht which collects plastic garbage from the ocean and then uses it as fuel.
It is hoped that a prototype for this design can be launched in 2024.
Bourgon has said that if 400 of the boats were to be made, they could clean up one third of the plastic debris in the oceans.

A French ocean adventurer and his team have designed a yacht which he says can scoop up plastic garbage to stop it blighting the world’s oceans, and converts the same waste into fuel to help power the boat.

Yvan Bourgnon has spent his career racing sailing vessels around the globe as a competitive yachtsmen. Over the years, he said, his encounters with floating carpets of trash became more and more frequent.

Yvan Bourgon and his team have designed a yacht which collects plastic garbage from the ocean and then uses it as fuel.
It is hoped that a prototype for this design can be launched in 2024.
Bourgon has said that if 400 of the boats were to be made, they could clean up one third of the plastic debris in the oceans.

A French ocean adventurer and his team have designed a yacht which he says can scoop up plastic garbage to stop it blighting the world’s oceans, and converts the same waste into fuel to help power the boat.

Yvan Bourgnon has spent his career racing sailing vessels around the globe as a competitive yachtsmen. Over the years, he said, his encounters with floating carpets of trash became more and more frequent.

 The SeaCleaners presents The Manta : the first concentrated ecology and technology factory ship capable of collecting, processing and recovering large quantities of marine plastic waste.
Right now, it exists only on the drawing board, but Bourgnon and his team hope to turn into a working prototype that can be launched in 2024.

As the boat moves through the water, conveyor belts will scoop up waste, sort it, then feed it into a burner.
That will melt the plastic, producing gas which drives a turbine, and in turn generates electricity for the boat’s systems to use.

That electricity, along with solar cells and wind turbines on the boat’s deck, will make the boat 70% self-sufficient in energy, according to Bourgnon.

He said that if 400 of the boats were to be made, they could clean up one third of the plastic debris in the oceans.
He said even conservative estimates project that, by 2060, there will be three times more waste in the sea than now
“To fold your arms and say ‘No, we’ll do nothing, we’ll leave it, we’ll focus on dry land, we’ll leave the waste in the ocean,’ is totally irresponsible,” he said.

Links :

Monday, January 31, 2022

RSV Nuyina discovers deep glacial canyon

The AAD acoustics team used Nuyina’s multibeam echosounders to map more than 840 square kilometres of the seafloor in front of the Vanderford Glacier, following a canyon more than 55 kilometres long, and 2200 metres deep at the deepest point mapped (in purple).
Hydrographic Material reproduced with permission of The Australian Hydrographic Office © Commonwealth of Australia 2022
Photo: Pete Harmsen/AAD

From Antarctica

A deep canyon at the front of the Vanderford Glacier in East Antarctica has been mapped for the first time by acousticians on board RSV Nuyina.

 Vanderford Glacier (Photo : Pete Harmsen / AAD)

The previously unknown canyon, more than 2200 metres deep, 2000 metres wide and at least 55 kilometres long, was discovered after the ship departed Casey research station, following its refuelling operation.
Localization in Antarctica with the GeoGarage platform (AHS nautical raster chart)
No info with STRM bathymetry data
As the ship navigated Vincennes Bay in front of the glacier, acousticians Jill Brouwer, Alison Herbert and Floyd Howard switched on the ship’s EM122 multibeam echosounder and were surprised by what they saw.
The AAD acoustics team used Nuyina’s multibeam echosounders to map more than 840 square kilometres of the seafloor in front of the Vanderford Glacier, following a canyon more than 55 kilometres long, and 2200 metres deep at the deepest point mapped (in purple).
Hydrographic Material reproduced with permission of The Australian Hydrographic Office © Commonwealth of Australia 2022
(Photo: Pete Harmsen/AAD)

“Although we’ve been visiting this region for decades on the Aurora Australis, we haven’t had the capability to do this sort of detailed mapping before,” Mr Howard said.
“As a result, current navigational charts of this area are based on fairly limited surveys.”
“Our work has shown that the seafloor is deeper and more complex than we thought.”
Some of the multibeam echosounder data showing the structure of the seafloor in front of the Vanderford Glacier, with different colours representing different depths. (Photo: Pete Harmsen/AAD)

The multibeam echosounder sends out pings of sound in a fan-shape beneath the ship and ‘listens’ to the returning echoes to build a picture of the seafloor.
The sideways projection of sound also allowed the team to map the canyon underneath the glacier for up to three and a half kilometres from the front.

Voyage Leader Lloyd Symons said it’s not unusual to see interesting features in front of glaciers, which scour the seafloor as they advance or retreat, and drop rocks or ‘erratics’ along the way.
AAD acoustician Jill Brouwer monitoring the multibeam echosounder as the undiscovered canyon in front of the Vanderford Glacier is revealed.
(Photo: Pete Harmsen/AAD)

But he wasn’t expecting a canyon this deep.
“It is truly mind boggling to look northward to the nearby Browning Peninsula and know that there is 2200 metres of water underneath the keel,” he said.
“It will be really interesting to see how we can use Nuyina’s acoustic capabilities to improve our understanding of the seafloor bathymetry around our other stations in the future, particularly the approach to Mawson, which has a deep, narrow channel surrounded by pinnacles of rock.”

A conductivity, temperature, depth (CTD) instrument was deployed into the deepest part of the canyon, 2200 metres below, to measure water properties such as temperature and salinity.
(Photo: Pete Harmsen/AAD)

The technical team on board also sampled the water in the canyon using a conductivity, temperature, depth (CTD) instrument, deployed to just three metres above the seafloor.
CTDs are used by oceanographers to measure changes in water properties – including ocean temperature and salinity near glaciers, to understand how warming water contributes to glacial melt from below.

The data from this and other mapping efforts on board Nuyina will feed into global efforts to map the world’s oceans by 2030.

Acoustics experts and science systems engineers on the ship are from the AAD’s Technology and Innovation Branch, funded by the Australian Government to manage the suite of world-leading science systems on board RSV Nuyina.
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Sunday, January 30, 2022

Melting beauty: the icefields of Patagonia


Forests, grasslands, deserts, and mountains are all part of the Patagonian landscape, which spans more than a million square kilometers of South America.
Toward the western side, expanses of dense, compacted ice—the Patagonian icefields—stretch for hundreds of kilometers atop the Andes mountain range in Chile and Argentina.
The northern and southern lobes of the Patagonian icefield are what’s left of a much larger ice sheet that reached its maximum size about 18,000 years ago.
Though just a fraction of their previous size, the modern icefields remain the largest expanse of ice in the southern hemisphere outside of Antarctica.
But rapid change is ongoing.
“They are, in fact, melting away at some of the highest rates on the planet,” said Eric Rignot, a glaciologist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the University of California-Irvine.

Meltwater from the Patagonian icefield contributes to sea level rise.
The contribution is less than what will come from Greenland and Antarctica, but scientists plan to keep studying the region from space, from the air, and from the ground.

According to Rignot: “Understanding the evolution of these glaciers helps us understand what glaciers in Greenland and Antarctica may look like in the future in a much warmer climate.”

The images of NASA highlight this dynamic region.
Click on the links for even more insight about each icefield and its glaciers.