Antarctic ice shelves showing no sign of global warming

By Christian Kerr, The Australian

ANTARCTIC ice shelves are showing no sign of climate change, six years of unique research have shown.

Scientists from Western Australia’s Curtin University of Technology are using acoustic sensors developed to support the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty to listen for the sound of icebergs breaking away from the giant ice sheets of the south pole.

“More than six years of observation has not revealed any significant climatic trends,” CUT associate professor Alexander Gavrilov said yesterday.

Professor Gavrilov and PhD student Binghui Li are investigating whether it is possible to detect and monitor significant changes in the disintegration rate of the Antarctic ice shelf by monitoring the noise of ice breaking.

The pair are using two acoustic stations, one 150km off Cape Leeuwin, the southwest tip of WA, and another off the gigantic US military base on Diego Garcia in the Chagos Archipelago, in the Indian Ocean.

“They are part of a network of underwater acoustic receivers, or hydrophones,” Dr Gavrilov told The Australian yesterday.

The stations have been used to locate nuclear explosions detonated by India.

More than 100 signals from Antarctica are detected weekly by the Cape Leeuwin station. They are then transmitted to Geoscience Australia in Canberra.

“Six years of results is not long in the scheme of things, so we will keep watching,” Dr Gavrilov said.

The pair will present their research at a conference in Europe later this month.


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