Phys .org: Antarctica is still free of COVID-19. Can it stay that way?. “At this very moment a vast world exists that’s free of the coronavirus, where people can mingle without masks and watch the pandemic unfold from thousands of miles away. That world is Antarctica, the only continent without COVID-19. Now, as nearly 1,000 scientists and others who wintered over on the ice are seeing the sun for the first time in weeks or months, a global effort wants to make sure incoming colleagues don’t bring the virus with them.”
Nature: Rescued radar maps reveal Antarctica’s past. “Glaciologists will soon have a treasure trove of data for exploring how Antarctica’s underbelly has changed over nearly half a century. An international team of researchers has scanned and digitized 2 million records from pioneering aeroplane radar expeditions that criss-crossed the frozen continent in the 1960s and 1970s.”
EurekAlert: UGR researchers put a geophysical database of Antarctica at the disposal of the scientific community. “An international group of scientists, led by Professor of Earth Physics Jesús M. Ibáñez Godoy from the University of Granada (UGR), has made available to the whole scientific community, through a public, free access database, the results of a geophysical research they carried out on Deception Island, Antarctica.”
A new site provides information about penguin colonies in Antarctica. “The website also allows anyone to query all publicly available penguin census data. Any user can also access the latest modeled population estimates for Adélie penguins around the Antarctic continent, as well as the probability of presence and breeding for all other avian species on the Antarctic Peninsula. Lynch also explained that researchers with data to contribute to MAPPPD have a variety of ways to do so, as do keen-eyed tourists who, in the summer months, actually outnumber scientists in the region and can contribute important information through bird checklists and photographs.”
The government of New Zealand has launched a new Web site – about Antarctica. “The website also brings together our other digital platforms including ADAM (our digital asset platform that now hosts more than 70,000 images) and our social media profiles (Facebook,Twitter and Instagram).”
If you like Zooniverse crowdsourcing projects, you’ll love sealspotting! “[Michelle] LaRue and her team of researchers turned to crowdsourcing platform Tomnod (which means ‘big eye’ in Mongolian), to help scour 300 miles of the Antarctic coastline. Typically, a project like this would take years—’If I wanted to do it myself, it would take forever,’ LaRue said—but with the help of at-home volunteers, the research team expects to get sense of the seal population in a fraction of that time.”
The Polar Museum announced this in March and I missed it, but I got it last week: the Antarctic Catalog is now online. “Over 1500 records are now available online, of which 900 currently have images. This includes clothing and footwear, snowshoes and crampons, skis, goggles, medals and coins, domestic and personal equipment, foodstuffs, animal equipment such as whips and harnesses, scientific equipment, and geological and natural history specimens. It covers material from the expeditions of Scott and Shackleton in the 1900s and 1910s, the British Graham Land Expedition in the 1930s, the Norwegian-British-Swedish Antarctic Expedition in the 1950s, the Transglobe Expedition in the 1980s, and the expeditions of the Falkland Islands Dependencies Survey and the British Antarctic Survey, as well as many others. More images will be added as the objects are photographed, and more records will be added as the cataloguing progresses.” As the blog post I’m linking to indicates, the catalog is nowhere near finished.
It’s the cutest crowdsourcing project ever: count the penguins! “Penguin Watch initially launched in September 2014. The current version, Penguin Watch 2.0, allows users to keep track of the photos they’ve tagged and discuss individual photos with other users and even the scientists themselves. So far, over 27,000 people have participated in the project, and over 300,000 photos have been tagged.”