Education Policy | Post Primary | Preschool | Primary | Tertiary | Search


Experts see sea ice as climate-change indicator

28 November 2005

Ice Conference Heats Up

World experts see sea ice as climate-change indicator

Sea ice responds very quickly to climate change, shrinking or expanding accordingly, so it is a critical climate-monitoring tool.

The trouble is, no one has yet figured out a way to accurately measure the thickness of sea ice remotely by satellite. Just how to do this is one of the big questions confronting the International Glaciological Society’s symposium on sea ice, taking place at the University of Otago from 5 – 9 December.

One hundred and thirty delegates from countries such as Finland, Russia, Japan and the United States will converge on Dunedin to discuss a range of issues about sea ice.

Organiser Dr Pat Langhorne of the University’s Physics Department says the symposium has attracted specialists in a wide range of fields, from researchers working on the crystalline structure of sea ice, to those focusing on the global picture.

“It’s a very good opportunity to see things from the other end of the spectrum,” she says. “If you’re working on minutiae, it’s important to talk with people exploring the larger regional picture. It expands your vision!”

The other big issue being considered is the so-called ‘albedo feedback effect’ -- an acceleration of ice melt. Usually, because the ice is white, it reflects most of the sunlight. Ice therefore doesn’t heat up, and so melts slowly.

“However, with the sea ice’s response to climate change, there is already an increase in sea ice melting, which makes the sea ice darker, which in turn means the ice absorbs more light, so that it warms more, and melts more,” Dr Langhorne explained. “This melting of the sea ice is of particular concern in the Arctic where it is already happening, but it has the potential to be a problem in Antarctica also.”

Notable conference delegates include Dr Stephen Ackley from Clarkson University in New York State and Dr Ian Allison who is a programme leader from the Australian Government’s Antarctic Division.

Dr Ackley, who has researched aspects of sea ice for nearly 30 years, is currently focusing on the dynamics of sea ice ecology. Dr Allison is the co-chair of the International Polar Year Committee which is sponsored by the International Council of Science and the World Meteorological Organisation.

The committee is planning a range of research activities to commemorate next year’s 50th anniversary of the involvement of 80,000 scientists from 67 countries in the International Geophysical Year 1957/58. This event is remembered in New Zealand because of Sir Edmund Hillary’s first crossing of the Antarctic continent.


© Scoop Media

Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines


Scoop Review Of Books: Salt River Songs by Sam Hunt

Colin Hogg, a longtime comrade of Sam, writes in his Introduction that, ‘There is a lot of death in this collection of new poems by my friend Sam Hunt. It’s easier to count the poems here that don’t deal with the great destroyer than it is to point to the ones that do.’ More>>

Electronica: Restoring The World’s First Recorded Computer Music

University of Canterbury Distinguished Professor Jack Copeland and UC alumni and composer Jason Long have restored the earliest known recording of computer-generated music, created more than 65 years ago using programming techniques devised by Alan Turing. More>>


Scoop Review Of Books: Almost Getting Away With Murder

The Black Widow by Lee-Anne Cartier: Lee-Anne Cartier is the sister of the Christchurch man found to have been murdered by his wife, Helen Milner, after an initial assumption by police that his death, in 2009, was suicide. More>>

Howard Davis: Triple Echo - The Malevich/Reinhardt/Hotere Nexus

Howard Davis: The current juxtaposition of works by Ralph Hotere and Ad Reinhardt at Te Papa perfectly exemplifies Jean Michel Massing's preoccupation with the transmigration of imagery in a remarkable triple echo effect... More>>

Scoop Review Of Books: Nō Tāu Manawa

Vaughan Rapatahana responds to Fale Aitu | Spirit House by Tusiata Avi: "fa’afetai Tusiata, fa’afetai, / you’ve swerved & served us a masterclass corpus / through graft / of tears & fears..." More>>

9 Golds - 21 Medals: NZ Team Celebrates As Rio 2016 Paralympic Games Close

The entire New Zealand Paralympic Team, led by kiwi sprinter and double gold medallist Liam Malone as flag bearer, are on the bus to the Maracanã Stadium in Rio de Janeiro for the Closing Ceremony of the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games. There, they will celebrate the fantastic successes of the past 10 days. More>>


New Zealand Improv Festival: The Festival Of Moments To Return To The Capital

The eighth incarnation of the New Zealand Improv Festival comes to BATS Theatre this 4-8 October , with a stellar line-up of spontaneous theatre and instant comedy performed and directed by top improvisors from around New Zealand and the world. More>>


Get More From Scoop



Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news