85,985 results

  • Fiddling While Antarctica Melts? Debates about Antarctica’s Role in Sea Level Rise and Implications for Policy Responses

    Miles, Russell (2014)

    Postgraduate Certificate thesis
    University of Canterbury Library

    Sea level is rising—but, in spite of attention being drawn to this impact of climate change since the late 1970s, the sheer complexity of attempting to quantify and model potential rises mean that it remains unclear by how much sea levels will rise, at what rate, and where it will impact most. This uncertainty has meant that many policy makers have been unwilling to expend the political capital and resources to take action to counter potentially disastrous –but uncertain –affects. Uncertainty fuels inaction. The role of the Antarctic contribution to sea level rise is critically important because, out of all the contributions to sea-level rise, Antarctic melting has the capacity to greatly affect sea levels. It is already happening in a number of areas, and some models project that melting in Antarctica could accelerate over this century. Should this come to pass, many poorer countries may not have the funds or information to respond in time, as making decisions and finding resources can take decades. To some extent, further research, better data and sharing of knowledge about the contribution of Antarctic melting to sea level rise will help address uncertainties. But policy makers also need to appreciate that, owing to the nature of the system studied and the available sources of data, complete certainty or consensus within the scientific community may not be possible, and hard decisions will need to be made. This review considers the science of and the ongoing debates about Antarctica’s contribution to sea-level rise –especially the idea of an acceleration of flow off the glaciers in the Amundsen Sea in the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS)—and how this information is conveyed to policy makers. It finds that even though much progress has been made by scientists, especially in the past five years, there would be great merit in increasing investments in Antarctic ice sheet research to feed into the next IPCC Assessment Report 6 in five years time. This research should aim to reduce the variance within the scientific community on the issue of WAIS melting, but also help policy makers determine a level of uncertainty at which they would be willing to act, given the risks involved of a possible dynamic response in the WAIS rapidly increasing sea-level rise beyond our capacity to respond. The alternative for the world’s scientists, policy makers and planners is neatly encapsulated in one word—Nero.

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  • Sea ice observation in Antarctica Status and Outlook

    Schroeter, Ben (2015)

    Postgraduate Certificate thesis
    University of Canterbury Library

    There are known deficiencies in contemporary sea ice observation techniques. Manual methods are physically laborious and subject to human-induced observation error, as are ship-based methods. Upward Looking Sonar (ULS) allows the subsurface mapping of ice floe topography, though it is subject to acoustic propagation errors. Electromagnetic Induction Sounding (EM) is principally impaired by device size, weight and flight height. Visible/near-IR (VIR), thermal infrared (TIR) and laser altimetry are challenged by atmospheric interference and/or require solar illumination, limiting their applicability at night or in the polar winter. Microwave methods (Radar Altimetry, Passive Microwave) can penetrate cloud and snow cover, albeit at lower spatial and temporal resolutions. This paper provides a summary of current observation technology, and highlights future research directions in this field.

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  • Antarctic sea-ice extent in global coupled climate models

    Schroeter, Serena (2015)

    Postgraduate Certificate thesis
    University of Canterbury Library

    Antarctic sea ice plays a key role in the global climate system, moderating heat and moisture exchange in the Southern Ocean, reflecting solar radiation, and maintaining global thermohaline circulation. However, the trend of increasing Antarctic seasonal sea ice extent observed during the past few decades is not currently reproduced by the majority of climate models. A key question has emerged: Is this disparity due to problems within the physics of the models, or due to drivers of sea ice extent that are not yet incorporated in the models? Accurate representation of sea ice dynamics and processes is vital to inform regional and global climate predictions, and a large body of publications investigating this disparity has developed in the past decade. This paper summarises academic literature on modelling sea ice extent, concluding that while the models contain biases and poorly represent some climate processes, particularly in ocean components, substantial uncertainty remains as to the processes driving sea ice extent increases, which could limit the capacity for accurate representation in models. Further research into the processes driving the increase in sea ice extent is therefore highly recommended.

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  • Fisheries Management and Ecosystem Monitoring in the Southern Ocean

    Wi, Toni (2016)

    Postgraduate Certificate thesis
    University of Canterbury Library

    The Commission for the Conservation of Marine Living Resources, otherwise known as CCAMLR, is the governing body established as part of the Antarctic treaty system to regulate fisheries in the Southern Ocean. Due to concern about the exploitation of Antarctic krill (Euphasia superba), a key prey item in the Antarctic marine food web, the CCAMLR Ecosystem Monitoring Programme (CEMP) aims to account for the needs of predator species when setting conservation measures such as catch limits. This precautionary approach is integral to the conservation objectives of CCAMLR and the rational use of marine resources. Predator parameters and environmental conditions are monitored as they are likely to be important for both predator and prey species. In the krill fishery, a krill yield model allows for krill escapement and trigger levels are set to protect dependent predators and minimize ecosystem effects. The scale of management units should be taken into account for a better understanding of the effects of harvesting and allow for faster management response. Future challenges such as climate change could further complicate the ecosystem based approach, but may be anticipated by the precautionary management of CCAMLR and the ecosystem monitoring programme.

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  • The effectiveness of the Environmental Impact Assessment process in Antarctica

    Robinson, Emily (2016)

    Postgraduate Certificate thesis
    University of Canterbury Library

    Environmental Impact Assessment in Antarctica is outlined within the Madrid Protocol of 1991 and stipulates that all activities which are conducted South of 60 degrees must undergo an Environmental Impact Assessment before proceeding. This report will deal with the effectiveness of the EIA processes which are in place under the Madrid Protocol and the issues which are outstanding within the processes that take place.

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  • Antarctica and manned missions to Mars: Antarctica as a natural field study for psychological changes in an isolated and confined environment (ICE).

    de Hamel, Stephanie (2014)

    Postgraduate Certificate thesis
    University of Canterbury Library

    This review covers literature related to both Antarctic psychology and potential manned missions to Mars. By studying the effects on human health and behaviour when personnel winter-over in Antarctica, it is possible to use this data to predict the behaviours that would be seen in a long duration space flight and would allow a suitable selection process to be implemented in order to reduce the risk of serious interpersonal conflict or psychological issues. This review aims to cover (briefly) the history of psychology in Antarctica, the common effects seen as well as the patterns observed, and then use this information as a starting point to delve into the psychology of other isolated and confined (ICE) environments – namely a long duration shuttle mission to Mars. Personnel views expressed are my own and I draw conclusions about my thoughts on the future based on the reviewed literature.

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  • ‘Whaling In the Antarctic’: A Judgment by the International Court of Justice and what could happen in Future due to that

    Curie, Marcus (2014)

    Postgraduate Certificate thesis
    University of Canterbury Library

    In March this year the International Court of Justice made a judgment about the case ‘Whaling In the Antarctic’ where Japan is blamed by Australia to hunt whales in the Southern Ocean. The Court decided that Japan’s program JARPA II is not conforming to the assumed moratorium of the International Whaling Commission and hence it is to stop immediately. The relation to the Southern Ocean, and that endangered species are a subject, as well as the compliance of international conventions, this case is important for the future of Antarctica and the Antarctic Treaty. After the judgment there were assumptions if Japan will abide to it, and a few weeks later Japan came up with the news to design a new program which will be conform to the judgment and the moratorium. Currently it is unsure what will happen and predictions are not easy to make. This case is unprecedented and there are no other cases to compare it to. This critical review will investigate the major information about legislation, as well as the driving forces and threats for whaling in Japan.

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  • To What Extent Can Acidification in the Southern Ocean Impact on Marine Biodiversity?

    Route, Gail (2015)

    Postgraduate Certificate thesis
    University of Canterbury Library

    Ocean acidification is regarded as one of the most recent threats to the global environment resulting from unprecedented absorption of elevated anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions. The emerging research on the effect of acidifying oceans on marine organisms collectively indicates a potential detrimental effect on biodiversity, particularly for aragonite-derived organisms. This in turn affects marine food webs that can impact on the livelihood of humans. An urgent need for multidisciplinary research is highlighted which, ideally, needs to be internationally coordinated. This will enable a better understanding of the predictability and effects of ocean acidification on marine biodiversity and can be implemented in mitigation and policy-making.

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  • Antarctic Specially Protected Areas as tools for conservation: An assessment of purpose, placement and effect

    McNeill, Bridget (2015)

    Postgraduate Certificate thesis
    University of Canterbury Library

    Offering the highest level of protection under the current Antarctic Treaty System, Antarctic Specially Protected Areas are often considered a key tool in the conservation of terrestrial Antarctica (Shaw et al 2014). However as conservation science evolves, and approaches to conservation planning become more systematic, the capability of these areas to meet long-term Antarctic conservation objectives has been questioned. To address this, both the placement and management of existing Antarctic Specially Protected Areas is reviewed, in order to assess whether, as a system, Antarctic Specially Protected Areas 1) designate adequate area, representative Antarctic biodiversity, and 2) effectively separate it from threatening processes. Finding that in the short term, stricter compliance with management guidelines and monitoring is required by Treaty Parties, and in the long term, that meeting representativeness and comprehensiveness requirements is impeded by both a gap in available data and the placement of existing system, it is clear that both the management and designation processes of ASPA’s requires review if Antarctic conservation objectives are to be achieved.

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  • What are the limiting survival factors of microbial life in continental terrestrial Antarctica?

    Dobson, Wills (2014)

    Postgraduate Certificate thesis
    University of Canterbury Library

    Despite the extreme conditions of inland terrestrial Antarctica, life still manages to survive in microbial form. Exploring and understanding how it exists has important implications in understanding evolutionary processes, modelling early earth life and astrobiology. The most extreme environments that harbour microbial life in continental Antarctica are the Dry Valleys of the Transantarctic Mountains and the protruding Nunataks of the Ice sheet expanse. Conditions in these environments are harsh, with water in low supply, extreme temperature variation and either too much or too little sunlight. Life exists in a variety of shapes and forms. Nematodes and Tardigrades are some of the hardiest micro fauna known, able to survive total desiccation and freezing. Mosses, Algae and Lichen make up the photosynthesis capable organisms and can survive in a wide variety of environments. These organisms strive against the odds and form habitats not just in soil or on rock surfaces, but also under or within the rock. This helps to manage their moisture supply, and protect from harmful exterior forces such as extreme temperature variations and UV radiation. The major limiting forces for microbial life in terrestrial continental Antarctica are varied. Unsurprisingly water availability is the most important as it controls all organisms ability to live and grow. Temperature is also important due to its effect on the freezing point of water and controls on photosynthesis. Light plays a major part as it helps control the growth of the photosynthetic organisms as well as varies the temperature. Surface type is also important due to the slow growth rates in Antarctica, coupled with the environments required in which to survive.

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  • Prince Harry and other surface issues: Antarctic issues in UK and US newspapers

    Brundin, Hanna (2014)

    Postgraduate Certificate thesis
    University of Canterbury Library

    Due to climate change, the fishing industry, tourism and resource extraction Antarctica has become and increasingly more common topic in mass media around the world. Despite this, and the importance given to mass media in terms of impact on public awareness and policy making, little is known about how Antarctic issues are portrayed and its influence on the public arena. This essay looks at how four newspapers in the UK and the US portray Antarctica by comparing a sample test with existing literature on quantitative journalistic norms and values. It also compares the results with the findings of studies made on the relationship between climate change coverage and its influence on public knowledge. There is a consensus that the general public lacks knowledge and interest in Antarctic issues, however, this assumption has no statistical evidence to back it up. This essay demonstrate that there is a possibility that the general public is uninformed, only has superficial knowledge about Antarctic issues or simply doesn't consider them to be important. But, it stresses that the need and urgency for further, in depth studies are crucial to our understanding of medias influence on the knowledge of the general public.

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  • Have Southern Ocean whale populations recovered from the intense whaling of the last century and what is the future of these populations?

    Brabyn, Mark (2014)

    Postgraduate Certificate thesis
    University of Canterbury Library

    In 1904 shore based whaling moved to the Antarctic region and in 1925 factory ships began harvesting the open oceans. The International Whaling Commission (IWC) was set up in 1946 by which time southern right whales and humpbacks in the Southern Ocean were commercially extinct. Quotas and management practices were set in place but catches increased until 1962 when populations crashed. It wasn’t until 1986, that a full moratorium on commercial whaling took place but there was a loop hole to allow scientific whaling. DNA sampling from whale meats from Japanese markets in the early 1990’s showed that the Japanese had been illegally harvesting humpback whales. Records obtained after the fall of the Soviet Union showed they had been undertaking extensive illegal whaling. In recent years, key whale species taken in the Southern Ocean have shown signs of recovery but this varies greatly with blue whales still considered highly endangered. The IWC was not effective with the management of the initial whale stocks and now they are faced with a polarised view amongst members with no areas of compromise. Fundamental issues on how we feed the growing human population are discussed but require further research.

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  • The Role of Ice Shelves in Antarctica, Ice Shelf Variation Across Antarctica and the Mechanisms Behind Ice Retreat

    Turnbull, Morag (2016)

    Postgraduate Certificate thesis
    University of Canterbury Library

    Ice shelves are an important component of Antarctica, they restrict the flow of glaciers at the edge of the Antarctic Ice Sheet (AIS) therefore limiting any loss of ice from the ice sheet. Ice shelves across Antarctica are undergoing changes, mostly the retreat of ice. Iceshelf loss in Antarctica is mainly to be a result of basal melting and iceberg calving. As ice shelves act as barriers to the ice sheet, disintegration of ice shelves will have major consequences for the Antarctic Ice Sheet and for global ocean levels. This literature review analyses studies on the changes of ice shelves across Antarctica and the reasons for iceshelf variation.

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  • The Distribution and Deposition of Radionuclides over Antarctica

    Lowther, Nicholas (2014)

    Postgraduate Certificate thesis
    University of Canterbury Library

    The production of artificial radionuclides from the atmospheric thermonuclear testing of the 1950s onwards has been detected in Antarctica. The presence of these pollutants has been utilised by science to produce meteorological information about the Antarctic continent. Accurate analysis of radionuclide stratospheric residence times, air to ice radionuclide concentration ratios, fallout characteristics of radionuclides and snow accumulation rates are made possible by their presence in Antarctica. The artificial radionuclides of 137Cs and 90Sr and natural radionuclide 210Pb have ideal decay properties for analysing the meteorological applications. By understanding the processes that current pollutants follow in Antarctica we can plan effectively for new and emerging pollutants that threaten the continent.

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  • Sea ice algae no more?

    Burn, Courtney (2015)

    Postgraduate Certificate thesis
    University of Canterbury Library

    Primary productivity is an essential part of all ecosystems. Primary producers are important for starting the carbon cycle. In areas such as the Antarctic which is known to face climate changes, understanding how these changes will effect primary producers is of high importance. Wider ecosystem effects also needed to be considered. The main primary producer in sea ice communities is sea ice algae. Dramatic cooling or warming events will result in changes in sea ice extent. These changes could potentially have negative effects on sea ice algae populations and the wider marine ecosystem. More work is needed to fully predict the potential effects of Antarctic warming and cooling on the wider marine ecosystem

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  • Antarctic poetry: theme, criticism and analysis

    Sima, Ellen (2016)

    Postgraduate Certificate thesis
    University of Canterbury Library

    For over two hundred years, Antarctica and the Southern Ocean have been a source of inspiration for poets, and today the number of pieces in the Antarctic poetry canon numbers in hundreds. Yet despite the significance of this group of texts, there is a dearth of critical literature focusing specifically on Antarctic poetry. This review will analyse criticism from a range of Antarctic literary fields, namely narrative fiction, non-fiction, and poetry, by a number of authors, collating perspectives and opinions on canonical themes and motifs. These will explore notions of Antarctica as: a wide, white expanse and blank slate for writers to attempt their mark; a transformational landscape, one that fundamentaly changes the people who visit it; a place of stark contrasts; a space where heroic era history acts as both narrative and metaphor; and a contemporary, lived environment, where the natural environment and daily goingson provide inspiration. Using these thematic categories as a framework, a selection of poems by Chris Orsman, Bill Manhire, Bernadette Hall and Owen Marshall will be analysed, and recommendations made for future research in Antarctic poetry.

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  • The Effect of Climate Change on Antarctic Seals

    Kelman, Emma (2015)

    Postgraduate Certificate thesis
    University of Canterbury Library

    Climate change will have a significant impact on the seals of Antarctica, the Weddell (Leptonychotes weddellii), crabeater (Lobodon carcinophagus), leopard (Hydrurga leptoynx), Ross (Ommatophoca rossii), southern elephant (Mirpunga leonina) and Antarctic fur seal (Arctocephalus gazella). It is likely to affect food supply, habitat availability and reproductive rates, altering population size. Survival will depend on seals’ ability to change behaviour and adapt to changing conditions but the severity of the impact will vary with different species. It is important to determine how seals wil react to climate change as they can be used as indicators of sea ice condition and prey availability. Crabeater populations are likely to decline due to the loss of sea ice affecting krill abundance, habitat availability and protection from predators. Leopard seals have a very diverse diet so may not experience the same decline due to loss of food sources, however juvenile mortality may still cause a population decline. Populations of Weddell seals may decrease due to a lower breeding rate. Populations of Ross seal may also decrease due to loss of sea ice and increased forgaing costs from changing distribution of squid. Whilst southern elephant seals and Antarctic fur seals will not be negatively affected by loss of sea ice (indeed, this may lead to population expansion), loss of food sources may still cause a population decline. The declining population numbers is a very serious issue as it reduces the species ability to adapt to the changing conditions. Seals are an important part of the Antarctic biota therefore changes in their lifestyle characteristics will affect the whole marine ecosystem.

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  • The Evolution Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV), Emerging Policy Challenges and Future UAV Use in Antarctica

    Turner, Jeff (2016)

    Postgraduate Certificate thesis
    University of Canterbury Library

    Abstract: In 2015, the availability and use of UAV’s around the world has increased sharply, along with their capabilities and range. This reviews their evolution, users and uses, specific Antarctic considerations and the emerging policy and guidelines regarding their future use in Antarctica.

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  • Critical review on anthropogenic environmental changes and the effects that this may have had on Emperor penguin populations in Antarctica.

    Richards, Wilma Faye (2015)

    Postgraduate Certificate thesis
    University of Canterbury Library

    This literature review takes into consideration of different aspects of reporting, which include the use of; books, journals, online articles and published scientific articles, to get the overall feeling on people’s attitudes on environmental change and its effect on Emperor penguin populations in Antarctica. Emperor penguins (Aptenodytes forsteri) are the largest of all penguins and it is thought that these ice-obligate species are particularly susceptible to environmental changes in the southern ocean conditions. The Emperor penguins due to specialised adaptations is able to survive the extreme weather conditions of Antarctica, and there are concerns that with a rise in atmospheric temperatures the sea-ice is melting and will cause extinction to many colonies reducing their total population. There has been a report of an Emperor penguin colony utilising floating ice shelves during years when sea-ice formed much later than usual. This new habit would appear to be the answer, excepting the rising atmospheric temperature combined with rising sea water temperatures has already claimed part of the Larsen Ice Shelf. Another oppressing factor is their food source mainly in the form of krill becoming subject to be seriously affected by rise in temperature, which is causing limitations of the available surface area of the underside of the sea-ice for algae. Commercial fisheries are now targeting the Emperor penguins food source the krill and squid, putting extra pressures on their survival.

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  • Organizational Tendency of Antarctic treaty System: A Perspective of International Law

    Chen, Xu (2016)

    Postgraduate Certificate thesis
    University of Canterbury Library

    Antarctic Treaty system" means the Antarctic Treaty, the measures in effect under that Treaty, its associated separate international instruments in force and the measures in effect under those instruments. In the past 56 years, the Antarctic Treaty System take the responsibility to governance the Antarctic. From the very beginning, the treaty was signed to solve the historical problem instead of blueprint the future. With the development of new technology and international law system, the treaty system itself began to face the challenge not only from external but from the internal. The typical argument aroused in 1980s, which almost lead the Antarctic governance under United Nations’ framework. Although the problem was settled down and lead to the development of the new instruments for regional governance, as the definition question about the Antarctic itself still exist in the international law system, the possibility of further conflicts still exist. On the other hand, further developments about the governance instruments also face the challenge about legality. The lack of conflict resolution mechanisms is also a problem needs to be focus, since this may leads to potential conflicts of jurisdiction but for the treaty system, still has no legal capability to solve. Since the Antarctic is a region without authority, the governance of this area is comprehensive, it should cover all the departments may related to, and not a single international law department could handle. Thus, in order to build a sustainable and reliable governance system, the organizational tendency may a possible direction for the Antarctic Treaty System further development.

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