Antarctica

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Latest news

NIWA’s flagship research vessel Tangaroa leaves soon on a six-week voyage to Antarctica, making it one of the few full scientific expeditions to the continent since the global outbreak of COVID-19.
At the bottom of the Southern Ocean, near Cape Adare in East Antarctica, lies an undersea ridge which until this month was only known by its co-ordinates: -71.2132 latitude, 172.1649 longitude.
Five specialist NIWA divers were left ‘gasping’ during their recent plunge under the ice near Scott Base.
New measurements from the ocean under the centre of the Ross Ice Shelf have significantly improved our understanding of the complex processes that drive melting in Antarctica.

Our work

The Southern Ocean is under-sampled. Data collected continuously during the Antarctic Ecosystems Voyagehelped fill an important knowledge gap about oceanographic and atmospheric processes in this important region.
NIWA’s Antarctic fisheries research is allowing us to investigate possible effects of the longline Antarctic toothfish fishery on the toothfish population and on the local ecosystem.
Climate Present and Past is a core-funded project under NIWA's National Climate Centre. It aims to explore historical climate data and track past changes in climate through a range of approaches.
NIWA is conducting a five–year study to map changes in the distribution of plankton species in surface waters between New Zealand and the Ross Sea.

Latest videos

2018 - Antarctic Voyage Update #3
2018 - Antarctic Voyage Update #3
2018 - Antarctic Voyage Update #1
TAN 1802 - Antarctic voyage leader Dave Bowden on the phone from the Southern Ocean.
Dolphins farewell RV Tangaroa - 9 February 2018
RV Tangaroa is farewelled by a pod of dolphins as it heads off on its 12th voyage to the white continent. Footage courtesy of Kareen Schnabelke.
Researching NIWA's Antarctic sea ice

NIWA marine physics technician Brett Grant gives a tour of our Antarctic field camp and explains how we are conducting research into sea ice in the coldest place on the planet.

An unavoidable delay in a research ship’s voyage to Antarctica resulted in some surprising and important findings about the behaviour of emperor penguins.

The absence of sea ice near Antarctica over the past six weeks has astonished scientists undertaking research aboard NIWA’s flagship research vessel Tangaroa.

Tangaroa Marine Environment and Ecosystem Voyage 2018

A couple of days ago we deployed the last of three long-term passive acoustic monitoring moorings, as a collaboration between the Ross-RAMP MBIE Endeavour project and The Australian Antarctic Division.

Today we left the area south of 60°S and have started the five-day return journey to New Zealand.

Think about a futuristic world where at night time, people use different kind of self-propelled vehicles to hover across cities, illuminating the skies with different colours and shapes, while transiting around them.

We have been conducting daily net tows to get an integrated picture of the macro-zooplankton dynamics in the area.

Today we found NIWA’s Andrew Marriner hard at work in the Ocean-Atmosphere Container Lab and asked him to explain his work onboard.

In the back of Karl Safi’s lab, where we found him working in the semi-dark, is a very futuristic looking piece of kit called the Radially Aligned Linear Photosynthetron (RALPH).

To verify the identities of animals we see on the DTIS camera, we use an epibenthic sled to collect physical samples of animals from the seafloor.

The Benthic team have been observing and identifying animals living on the seabed at Long Ridge, north of the Ross Sea.

Today the screaming sixties are living up to their name. We are at 67°S, just east of Scott Island, and deck work has been suspended temporarily while we weather a storm.

Sean Hartery, a PhD student from Canterbury University based at NIWA, is collecting samples and data for two main areas of atmospheric research while he is out here in the Ross Sea: ice nuclei and aerosols.

On Friday the sun shone for the first time in a while, and we sailed close to our second proper iceberg of the voyage.

We are slowly zigzagging our way north up Iselin Bank as the mesopelagic team have been running their giant fish finder, the EK60.

2018 - Antarctic Voyage Update #3
2018 - Antarctic Voyage Update #3

In the last few days our microbial team has been doing intensive sampling of the water column using the CTD, which is deployed every day around noon.

We have been told by people who have previously visited the Ross Sea that you could count on seeing three things: icebergs, penguins on icebergs and seals hauled out icebergs.

Scientists and crew have been busy assembling an active acoustic mooring for deployment, working on the Iselin Bank and have been visited by an Adelie penguin.

John McGregor from NIWA checks on the instruments that measure atmospheric gases throughout our voyage.

On trips that take us away to isolated places we need to take a Medical Doctor, just in case anyone requires emergency medical or surgical treatment.

It is -4 degrees outside and our third day of intensive oceanographic work continues.

We are getting to the end of our transit south, which means today was the last of our daily emergency drills.

The fog has cleared and we have a spectacular view of the continent of Antarctica today, from Cape McCormick to Cape Adare.

Every day at noon everyone on the ship gathers on the bridge for a toolbox meeting to discuss the work ahead of us for the day.

Our first icebergs

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All staff working on this subject

Principal Scientist - Fisheries
Principal Scientist - Marine Ecology
Principal Scientist - Climate
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Marine Biogeochemistry Technician
Marine Mammal Acoustician
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Coastal and Estuarine Physical Processes Scientist
Fisheries Acoustics Scientist
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Principal Scientist - Marine Ecology
Emeritus Researcher – Atmospheric Radiation
Principal Scientist - Atmosphere and Climate
Principal Scientist - Fisheries
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Marine Physics Modeller
Principal Scientist - Marine Physics
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Atmospheric Technician
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Marine Ecology Technician
Principal Technician - Marine Biology
Algal Ecologist
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