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124 The Polar Vortex Anomaly

16 . 02 . 2021

Notes

Watch this on video | Buy us a coffee: Chris / Henry

Polar Newsreel: Our North American correspondent, Robert, forwarded us the film Drifting North: Into the Polar Night by Amy Richman, a collaboration between the University of Colorado Boulder’s Fiske Planetarium and the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, from the first leg of the historic MOSAiC expedition led by the Alfred Wegener Institute from late 2019. We recommend to give it a try. / Iceberg A-68 is fragmenting further with the crumples being picked up by the southern front of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current. A team of the British Antarctic Survey is on its way to take the chance to research the impact of the massive piece of ice on the fragile marine ecosystem around the island of South Georgia. / Chris introduced Project Cybersyn, a distributed decision support system to aid in the management of the national economy from 1971 to 1973 often referred to as Chile's socialist internet. After the CIA-backed military coup in Chile on September 11, 1973, Cybersyn was abandoned and the operations room was destroyed.

The Polar Vortex Anomaly: For a few years now, the buzzword of the Polar Vortex has been making the rounds particular in combination with recent weather patterns of snow in Spain and, at the same time, a freezing cold snap in North America. New data reveal, the freak weather of the last few weeks is due to an extraordinary disturbance of the polar vortex. During this "Berlin Phenomenon” (Sudden Stratospheric Warming) the polar stratosphere suddenly warms up by dozens of degrees. This breaks down the polar jet stream that forms a wind barrier that normally keeps arctic air away from mid-latidues. To explain this extraordinary event we dive into the atmosphere layers with their distinct features, get a closer look on the particulars of the Troposphere, analyse the atmospheric flow and the special atmospheric features of the polar regions before looking at the formation of the polar front as barrier between the cold, dense, so-called arctic air and the tropical, much warmer air and finally unveiling the current anomaly of the polar vortex. Thanks to ESA's Aeolus satellite, we can for the first time directly follow such an event. This satellite is the first to be able to measure polar winds directly from orbit. The current analyses show that the polar vortex has weakened unusually strong since mid-December 2020. An event can be observed in which the polar vortex is split into two parts - one air mass circles over the North Atlantic and one over the North Pacific with the wind direction reversing in large areas of the polar vortex. The interesting thing about it: A few years ago, scientists discovered that weakening of the polar vortex and the rarer Sudden Stratospheric Warming are becoming more frequent. A likely cause of this is the retreat of the Arctic sea ice and the increasing warming of the North Atlantic. Because according to models, the associated influx of heat into the atmosphere promotes the sudden warming of the stratosphere. But we need to understand better whether and to what extent climate change intensifies this polar weather phenomenon. It is still too early to draw concrete conclusions from the Aeolus data.

This is an episode of the Curiously Polar podcast

with Chris Marquardt https://chrismarquardt.com/ Henry Páll Wulff: https://henrypall.com/

Listen to all podcast episodes at https://curiouslypolar.com

All video episodes at https://tfttf.com/curiouslypolarvideo

Find us here: Web: https://curiouslypolar.com Twitter: https://twitter.com/curiouslypolar Instagram: https://instagram.com/curiouslypolar

123 A Brief History of the Discovery of Antarctica

09 . 02 . 2021

Notes

Watch this on video | Buy us a coffee: Chris / Henry

Polar Newsreel: A wallet lost by US navy meteorologist on Antarctica in the 1960s turned up during demolition work])https://future.usap.gov/demolition-new-aims-construction/= at McMurdo base 53 years later. Nornickel must pay €1.62 billion for the huge Arctic oil spill.

Main Topic: Since the times of the father of geography, Ptolemy, people believed that the massive landmasses in the Northern Hemisphere would be balanced out by massive, yet undiscovered, lands in the south. This idea of the hypothetical "Great Southern Continent" together with the desire for a great fertile southern continent rich in resources to rival those of the New World nurtured expeditions to the Far South.

It was James Cook’s second voyage of 1772-75 which finally destroyed the dream of a vast, inhabited and prosperous “Terra Australis Incognita” and ushered in the new age of South Polar exploration.

Who actually discovered the southern continent has been heatedly disputed, chiefly on nationalistic grounds, primarily between the British support of Bransfield and Smith, and the Americans for Palmer. The controversy raged for over a century with accusations of wilful misinterpretation of the accounts and logs right up to claims and counter-claims for forgery.

In fact, the first person to actually see the continent was neither British nor American but was almost certainly the Russian Admiral von Bellingshausen. However, this wasn’t realised until his records became available in the West, almost a century later. Today it’s believed that the Russian expedition reached on 28 January 1820 a point within 32 km (20 mi) from Princess Martha Coast and recorded the sight of an ice shelf at 69°21′28″S 2°14′50″W that became known as the Fimbul Ice Shelf.

Further reading (affiliate links): Jakob Sondergard Pedersen & Philip Curtis (2012) The Mapping of Antarctica, The Map House of London, Robert Clancy, John Manning & Henk Brolsma (2013) Mapping Antarctica: A Five Hundred Year Record of Discovery, Springer Praxis Books, Peter Fretwell (2020) Antarctic Atlas: New Maps and Graphics That Tell the Story of A Continent, Particular Books

This is an episode of the Curiously Polar podcast

with Chris Marquardt https://chrismarquardt.com/ Henry Páll Wulff: https://henrypall.com/

Listen to all podcast episodes at https://curiouslypolar.com

All video episodes at https://tfttf.com/curiouslypolarvideo

Find us here: Web: https://curiouslypolar.com Twitter: https://twitter.com/curiouslypolar Instagram: https://instagram.com/curiouslypolar

125 When Dinosaurs Roamed Antarctica

03 . 02 . 2021

Notes

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Polar Newsreel If lockdown is taking it too hard on you, you might find some ease drawing some icebergs and see how they float. | To see an actual iceberg the size of Greater London you can follow the brand new one recently calved from Brunt Ice Shelf. | At the same time the first commercial vessel sailed the Northern Sea Route during winter. | After being fined $2 billion for the damage caused by the major fuel spill last year, Nornickel is making headlines again when three people die in a partial collapse of its ore processing plant in Norilsk. | Turkey plans it’s very own year-round Antarctic Research Station at Horseshoe Island in Marguerite Bay.

When Dinosaurs lived in Antarctica Wo would expect to find Dinosaurs in the coldest and most remote place in the world? But it hasn’t always been that way. There used to be a time when Antarctica was covered in forests and dinosaurs roamed the continent free. And in 1986 a group of Argentine scientists made their way to James Ross Island under expedition leader Eduardo B. Olivero. The expedition came back home with a sensational finding - the excavation of a few fossils, namely a partial skeleton and bony plates of some sort of body armour of a new plant-eating species, later to be named Antarctopelta oliveroi. And the area seems to be the dinosaur hot spot in Antarctica at the moment. In 1986 an expedition of the British Antarctic Survey discovered the second dinosaur on neighbouring Vega Island.

The places those fossils have been found so far are ice free and rather easy accessible. The more the Antarctic ice sheet will retreat, the more area the ice will set free, the more likely is that scientists may unveil more fossils to get a better picture of how Antarctica looked like in previous periods. And that in turn will give us a better understanding of how things have changed in the past.

This is an episode of the Curiously Polar podcast

with Chris Marquardt https://chrismarquardt.com/ Henry Páll Wulff: https://henrypall.com/

Listen to all podcast episodes at https://curiouslypolar.com

All video episodes at https://tfttf.com/curiouslypolarvideo

Find us here: Web: https://curiouslypolar.com Twitter: https://twitter.com/curiouslypolar Instagram: https://instagram.com/curiouslypolar

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