Antarctic Sound / Weddell Sea
At last! Our first iceberg has appeared out of the cloud and snow of a lively Bransfield Strait. Having left the South Shetland Islands behind we have entered a new world at the northern tip of the Antarctic Peninsula.
07:30 - 08:30 Breakfast
09:00 Ashore on Paulet Island (weather and ice permitting)
12:30 Lunch is served
14:00 HB sessions (Commence World's First Antarctic World Café, Gender in Leadership and STEMM, Science lecture 2 - Mary Anne, Fronts and Zones/Habitats)
19:00 Dinner is served
Paulet Island was discovered upon the expedition led by James Clark Ross in 1839-1843 and was named after a captain in the Royal Navy. Paulet is a circular volcanic island only 2 km in diameter with a cone 353 meters high. In some ways, it is dwarfed by Dundee Island; a snow-covered, larger island 5 km Northwest of Paulet (discovered by the whaler Captain Robertson and named after his home town in Scotland). Fast forward to 1903: In February, Nordenskjöld's ship "Antarctic" was crushed by the Weddell Sea ice pack for many weeks. On the 12th, it sank 40 km from Paulet. 20 men sledged for 16 days and upon reaching the island they built a 10 m x 7 m hut. They must have done quite well in building it as all but one of the expeditions survived and you can still see the hut today, albeit in ruins. Aside from the hut and the volcanic cone, what immediately strikes you is the colonies of Adélie penguins, the hundreds of blue-eyed shags and the growlers (ice chunks) by the shore. Today they were glistening in the sunshine, Greg Mortimer (our expedition leader) said today was one of those rare blue sky days.
Following lunch, we had a science lecture by Mary-Anne on "Fronts and Zones/Habitats".
This included some definitions; that Fast Ice is ice connected to the continent, Pack Ice (also known as sea ice) is seasonal and moves, Marginal Ice, which is rich in krill, is pushed away from Antarctica during global warming.
The Polar Front (we crossed it somewhere in the Drake Passage) is defined by a dramatic change in temperature, salinity and nutrients, characterised by the Southern Annular mode (low pressure around the pole and high pressure circulating). The front can concentrate oceanic activity into regions. Fronts can also happen, for example, at coastal shelfs often characterised by areas of high productivity (nutrients) and often you can see plankton blooms on satellite images in these areas.
Mary-Anne then spoke about the rate of warming of our air and seas and the response of glaciers to this warming. This includes ice shelf collapse, such as the Larson B ice-shelf collapse on the peninsula (i.e. www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-40321674 ).
Krill are the keystone species in Antarctica, supporting whales and penguins as a result of their huge biomass. CCAMLR (Convention for the Conservation for Marine Living Resources) - which is part of the Antarctic Treaty (1982) oversees all ecosystem monitoring programs (CEMP) to detect significant changes in critical components of the Antarctic ecosystem and potential climate change impacts for predators and the movement of prey due to direct (foraging success/ habitat loss / unseasonal weather) or indirect /long-term (changes in breeding time / demography / range expansion) effects.
We then started Session One of the World's First Antarctic World Café - topic Gender in Leadership and STEMM. For those not familiar with World Café you can find out more here www.theworldcafe.com/key-concepts-resources/world-cafe-method/
Prior to attending, we had been given two documents, including "20 Things You Should Know", compiled over many months with facts about gender in leadership and STEM. This information was introduced to us by the people who had worked hard putting it together - a subset of our cohort - who had volunteered to lead this group (instead of being involved in a science theme - more on that later). Following a presentation, we had three perspectives to address, the role of the individual, the role of the organisation and the role of bigger programs (such as HB). It was brainstorming with guidance from facilitators at each station, 78 women, several hours and lots of ideas on paper. I don't want to write too much about the outcomes here as I believe this will be desalinated elsewhere, plus this was only Part One of three of the World Café Sessions on board the ship.