Antarctica

Latest news

The New Zealand ship Janas has recently returned from a six-week winter research voyage to the Ross Sea where scientists made the first observations of developing Antarctic toothfish embryos.
While most New Zealanders were settling into their summer break, some scientists were double-checking their survival gear before heading to work deep in the Southern Ocean.
Part of the world’s largest ice shelf is melting 10 times faster than the overall average and solar-heated waters beneath the ice shelf are to blame, NIWA research has found.
After travelling almost 12,000km in the past six weeks, a group of scientists returns to Wellington at the weekend with new knowledge about life in the Ross Sea of Antarctica.

Our work

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.

Acidification of the world’s oceans from rising atmospheric carbon dioxide levels reduces the availability of carbonate required by some marine organisms to build shells and skeletons, and potentially affects their ability to maintain existing structures.

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.

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.

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

We are not far enough south yet to have 24 hours of daylight so it is still getting dark at night, albeit a bit later than in Wellington right now.

Today was a busy day! We continue to transit southwards but we released three oceanographic drifters at 56 degrees South

Today an emergency drill with fire hose practice and lifejacket familiarisation was run with all the crew.

Today’s main activity was a science safety tour.

Today our emergency training activity was focused on learning how to get in and out of our immersion suits, in under 2 minutes.

Antarctic voyage leader Dave Bowden on the phone from the Southern Ocean.

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All staff working on this subject

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