Dispatches from Antarctica

Biologist David Ainsley reporting from Antarctica

On January 4, weather permitting, the Exploratorium webcast team will hook up with scientists at Palmer Research Station in the Western Antarctic Peninsula as part of its continuing series Ice Stories: Dispatches from Polar Scientists. The peninsula is one of the most rapidly warming places on Earth and the site of a Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) Project. Scientists there are getting ready for a month-long research cruise off the shores of western Antarctica to study how this rich marine ecosystem is responding to melting sea ice and global climate change.

The planned webcast is part of a two-year series that began in November 2007 in celebration of International Polar Year. The Exploratorium provided cameras to eight scientists—including a penguin biologist, glaciologist, and cosmologist—and asked them to post photos, videos, and blog reports on the Ice Stories site so others can follow their research, ask questions, and share in discoveries as they occur. When summer arrives in the northern hemisphere, the focus of these polar dispatches will shift to the Arctic, then return to Antarctica a year from now.The science covered by these first-hand reports includes the geologic history of climate change, the current breeding behavior and changing demographics of Adélie penguins, the deployment of a powerful new telescope at the South Pole, the fast-evolving science of ice-sheet dynamics, and responses of a polar marine ecosystem to dramatic warming.  Ahead in January are webcast reports on balloon research, the Ice Cube telescope, and more. For the latest, visit the Ice Stories site.