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.

Now back on dry land, Voyage Leader Richard O'Driscoll reflects on the final days of RV Tangaroa's 2015 Antarctica expedition.
Our journey is slowly coming to an end. The past five weeks has passed so quickly and I have loved every moment of it.
At the base of the ocean’s food chain are algae. Algae feed the krill that feed the whales.
Today marked the last official day of science here in the Ross Sea. The ship has now been turned north and the 8 day steam back to Wellington has begun.
SAFE PASSAGE: Ice Pilot’s critical mission
Ice pilot Scott Laughlin is on the New Zealand - Australia Antarctic Ecosystems Voyage to guide RV Tangaroa through the Antarctic waters.
A research voyage in Antarctic waters faces the tyranny of distance and ice during every hour of the six-week voyage.
In his last update, NIWA project leader Dr Richard O’Driscoll talks about the challenging search for whales in foggy and icy conditions.
Water, Water Everywhere
Over the last 50 years the atoll of South Tarawa, in Kiribati has experienced large increases in population.
Pod of Orcas visit RV Tangaroa
NIWA research vessel Tangaroa, down in Antarctic waters, received some welcome visitors yesterday
Antarctic trawl nets deep data
NIWA scientists aboard RV Tangaroa have been trawling the central Ross Sea calculating the abundance of the prey species.
Balleny humpback whale research
The region around the Balleny Islands is a known foraging area for humpback whales. Objective one of the Antarctica voyage aimed to determine why the Islands are such a popular spot for humpback whales.
NIWA scientists aboard RV Tangaroa have been trawling the central Ross Sea calculating the abundance of the prey species.
It has been another amazing week here on the Tangaroa. On Saturday we saw Antarctica which was an absolutely breath-taking experience that I’ll remember for the rest of my life!
Today marks the halfway point in our journey and we have started the demersal trawling part of the voyage. Each day has been full-on with excitement and new things to learn and see. The highlight of the last few days was holding one of the biggest fish in the Southern Ocean in my arms - an Antarctic toothfish.
Favourable weather has provided excellent photographic conditions for NIWA's photographer Dave Allen, who has accompanied the 6 week voyage.
Through the cloud a large dark shadow appears in the distance. I look at Blake and ask him, “Could that be it?” We both wait with anticipation, fizzing with excitement, and eyes fixed on the horizon.
Scientists from the Australian Antarctic Division explain the blue whale research they are leading onboard the New Zealand-Australia Antarctic Ecosystems Voyage 2015.
It’s now day 18 on board the RV Tangaroa and spirits are as high as ever. After seven days of amazing weather and a lot of successes with the blue whale work in the northern Ross Sea we have decided to put the last three days allocated to this scientific objective on hold for later in the trip, and to head south to start our third scientific objective which is the demersal trawl survey.
NIWA voyage leader Dr Richard O’Driscoll updates the Tangaroa’s encounter with the planet’s largest living beings – the Antarctic blue whales – and discovers what’s on their menu.
We have now said goodbye to the towering cliffs and vast glaciers of the Balleny Islands and have been heading southeast tracking blue whales by following their low frequency calls. Yesterday we broke into the polynya that is the Ross Sea. The fantastic weather is following us - making it easy to appreciate this surreal part of the world.
The first objective of the New Zealand- Australia Antarctic Ecosystems Voyage was successfully achieved with the completion of the research at the Balleny Islands.
It’s now day 8 at sea and day 3 at the Balleny Islands. The Balleny Islands are a group of volcanic Antarctic Islands situated at 67 degrees south. They are mostly barren rock, with steep cliff faces and covered by massive glaciers, but they are also home to some incredible marine wildlife!
On day five at 9:07 am we all held our breath as we passed 60 degrees south.
Scientists and crew on board Tangaroa are getting their first taste of the deep South’s breath-taking environment as the vessel crosses the 60th parallel, the northern limit of the Southern Ocean.
Voyage leader Richard O'Driscoll reports on voyage progress so far as RV Tangaroa enters the CCAMLR zone.

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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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