Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

Antarctic

Halley VI, Britain’s latest and greatest Antarctic Research Station, has opened and will b...

Just over a century after Captain Robert Falcon Scott’s Antarctic expedition came to a tragic close, Britain’s latest and greatest Antarctic Research Station has opened and will become fully operational over the coming weeks. The £25.8 million (US$40.6 million) facility was designed by Hugh Broughton Architects and engineering firm AECOM, and represents a continued commitment from the UK's scientific community to maintain a cutting-edge facility in the region.  Read More

Swedish adventurer Johan Ernst Nilson (right) and his Audi-designed expedition sled (All p...

Swedish adventurer Johan Ernst Nilson definitely has his work cut out for him. On April 6th he began his one-year Pole2Pole trek, in the course of which he intends to travel from the North to South Pole using only carbon-neutral transportation. He has already begun to ski down from the North Pole, with other legs of his journey intended to include travel by dog sled, sailboat, bicycle and kite-assisted sled. Given that his life may depend on everything performing properly, he won’t just be using a garden-variety toboggan to haul his gear across the Arctic and Antarctic ice caps – instead, expedition sponsor Audi has made him a one-of-a-kind sled.  Read More

Sensium-based devices continuously measured the physical effects of minus 40 degree temper...

Wearable health monitors have been available for some time, providing feedback on functions such as heart rate and blood pressure. They represent the tip of a potentially huge health and fitness market, from athletes and emergency services personnel to patients both in and recently discharged from hospital, who could benefit from real-time, intelligent wireless body monitoring of vital signs. Telemetry technology provider Toumaz has developed an ultra-low power system to wirelessly monitor heart rate, ECG, temperature and physical activity. The Sensium Life Platform has just been used to monitor the health of team members during a record-breaking 4,000 kilometer transantarctic expedition that not only made the fastest vehicle crossing of the Antarctic, but was also the first expedition to use biofuels extensively in Antarctica, and featured the first bio-fuelled vehicle ever to reach the South Pole.  Read More

Elephant seal with CTD tag. Photo credit: Chris Oosthuizen

Australian climate and ocean scientists are studying some of the planet's most remote areas using a multi-million dollar array of high-tech underwater equipment that provides data vital for the monitoring of almost one-third of the world's oceans. The kit of technology includes sensor floats and autonomous underwater vehicles, which combine with sensor tagged animals, moored scientific stations and satellite remote sensing to form the Integrated Marine Observing System (IMOS). All data collected is made available online, which represents a big step forward in climate science. Gizmag's Grant Banks takes a closer look at what makes IMOS tick.  Read More

The IceCube team poses in front of the deployment tower following completion of the IceCub...

After five years of construction, an international team has put the finishing touches on the University of Wisconsin’s IceCube Neutrino Observatory. Located in Antarctica, the observatory is looking specifically for high-energy neutrinos, which are created in violent cosmic events such as super novae and gamma ray bursts. As neutrinos collide with water molecules in the pitch black, ultra-clear ice, a blue flash of light results, which is detected by the sensors. Ever since neutrinos were discovered in 1956, scientists have hoped to decipher the information these astronomical messengers carry about distant cosmic events and the completion of the observatory marks an important step towards tracing their origins.  Read More

Total Ozone Mapping Spectrometer (TOMS) image of the ozone hole over Antarctica in Septemb...

A new report suggests that international efforts to halt the destruction of the ozone layer have been successful. Launched on the UN International Day for Preservation of the Ozone Layer, the report by 300 scientists also provides new information about the net effects on Earth's climate, and also the effects of climate change on the ozone later moving forward.  Read More

One of IceCube's digital optical modules being lowered into the ice

After two decades of planning, the world’s first kilometer-scale neutrino observatory should finally be completed by this December. Named IceCube, it will consist of an array of 5,160 optical sensors embedded within one cubic kilometer of the Antarctic ice shelf – to put the accomplishment in perspective, one of the next-largest such observatories is just 40 cubic meters in size. Its main purpose will be to try to establish, once and for all, the source of cosmic rays.  Read More

Total Ozone Mapping Spectrometer (TOMS) image of the largest ozone hole ever observed in S...

You'd think the healing of the hole in the ozone layer would be good news, but it seems that although every cloud is said to have a silver lining, they also have a gray one as well. The Antarctic ozone hole was once regarded as one of the biggest environmental threats, but researchers now argue that the ozone hole over Antarctica helped to shield this region from carbon-induced warming over the past two decades and its repair could actually increase warming in the southern hemisphere.  Read More

Interpolated geolocation tracks of 11 Arctic terns tracked from breeding colonies in Green...

It’s official: the Arctic tern has the longest migration of any animal in the world. The Arctic Tern Migration Project recently discovered that the tern flies over 70,000 kilometers (43,496 miles) annually, from its breeding grounds in the Arctic to its winter quarters in the Antarctic. That distance is more than twice what was previously estimated. Over the lifetime of one bird, it travels approximately 2.4 million kilometers, the equivalent of three trips to the moon and back. For a bird that weighs just over 100 grams (3.5 ounces), that’s fairly impressive.  Read More

Less than 2 months into its tour of duty as an anti-whaling vessel, the Adi Gil has been s...

Enviro-warrior stealth boat the Ady Gil has reportedly been rammed by a security vessel employed to protect a Japanese whaling ship. The crew of the Ady Gil had been launching projectiles at the Nisshin Maru whaling vessel and attempting to entangle its propeller with rope, when the 1.5 million dollar craft was suddenly approached and rammed by the Shonan Maru, one of the Japanese security vessels. The attack smashed the sleek biodiesel-powered trimaran in half, and it sank, although the crew of six has been rescued uninjured.  Read More

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