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A Life Of Ice And Cold In Antarctica

Tanya with a few of the 5 million Adelie penguins that live in Antarctica. They build their nests out of pebbles which they either collect from the slopes around them, or steal from other nests! Image credit - Tanya Patrick, CSIRO
by Staff Writers
Hobart, Australia (SPX) May 30, 2007
Where do penguins go to dance? What is it really like in Antarctica? How do animals and humans survive down south? In January this year, Tanya Patrick, editor of CSIRO's kids' science magazine Scientriffic, travelled to Antarctica to find out the answers to these questions and more.

"I fell in love with Antarctica about three years ago through a friend who visited there," Tanya says.

"It seems I'm not alone! I was bombarded with nearly 1800 questions from kids across Australia. Their questions varied from the serious, such as 'How bad is global warming going to get and what will happen if the ice melts in Antarctica?', to the practical, 'Can you sleep in the summer because there's no night?' and 'How do you go to the toilet?'!"

Tanya has written about her journey and answered many of these questions in the latest issues of Scientriffic and The Helix, the magazines of CSIRO's Double Helix Science Club.

While in Antarctica, Tanya interviewed scientists working on many International Polar Year projects, from studying ancient atmosphere samples trapped in million-year-old ice cores to looking in frozen lakes for extremophiles - microorganisms that thrive in places where other creatures don't dare venture. "I flew to Ace Lake, in the Vestfold Hills, which is the largest ice-free area in Antarctica. It was an amazing sight seeing the scientists hard at work in the middle of the frozen lake," she says.

She also learnt how to build an igloo, visited an Adelie penguin colony and flew over giant glaciers on exhilarating helicopter flights.

The latest issues of Scientriffic (May/June) and The Helix (June/July) magazines feature Tanya's Antarctic stories and hands-on activities, plus a bonus poster and stickers to celebrate International Polar Year.

Tanya's trip was made possible through the Australian Antarctic Division's Arts Fellowship program.

CSIRO's Double Helix Science Club has more than 25,000 members across Australia. Members receive either Scientriffic (ages 7+) or The Helix (ages 10+) magazine every two months with science news, hands-on activities, experiments, comics, competitions and giveaways.

Related Links
International Polar Year at CSIRO
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What Climate Changes Does Antarctica Predict
Moscow (RIA Novosti) May 16, 2007
Not long ago, I came back from Antarctica where I stayed with the 52nd Russian Antarctic expedition. This continent is unique - it has no state borders and scientists can choose to work wherever they want. This freedom is granted by the Antarctic Treaty signed on December 1, 1959. It designates Antarctica as a "natural reserve, devoted to peace and science." Every country has the right to conduct research there. Russia has five out of some 50 research centers belonging to 20 states.







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