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News Link • Underwater Exploration and Living

The Incredible Transforming Antarctic Submersible

• Wired.com
 

This may seem like an academic exercise in engineering, but to researchers at Northern Illinois University (NIU), it was a very real challenge, and the only thing keeping them from a new world of oceanographic discovery beneath the Antarctic ice.

The vast sheets of ice that cover parts of the Southern Ocean around Antarctica are capricious beasts, prone to detachment and disintegration.  But even as a warming ocean accelerates the process, no one knows precisely how it’s happening, or which areas may be at risk.  NIU professors Ross Powell and Reed Scherer are hoping to find out, but in order to do so, they’ve got to get a closer look at the ice-water-seafloor interface to track how shifting currents, warmer temperatures, or chemical gradients may conspire to destabilize ice.

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