This week the country is being ravaged by a so-called weather bomb, and you might be wondering what happened to summer. The same question is being asked by scientists and environmental leaders around the world, and particularly in one of Earth’s most extreme environments, Antartica. In fact, even Gin Wigmore has popped down there to be part of the conversation!
With rock stars, business leaders and other famous names touching down on the ice, it’s a big week in Antartica. The New Zealand Antartic programme is celebrating its 60th Anniversary. Six decades ago Scott Base was established when Sir Edmund Hillary and his team constructed the first hut, ‘Hillary Hut’ in the facility, which is now one of Antartica’s longest standing. The frozen continent of Antartica attracts deep interest from throughout the global scientific community. The unique Antarctic Treaty system is known as a standard for international cooperation.
The treaty parties agree to freedom of scientific investigation and the exchange of scientific findings, non-militarisation of Antarctica and the Southern Ocean. Studies include those like regular magnetic measurement in Antarctica for the last 100 years, with New Zealand scientists taking the most recent readings this week. So far they show Earth’s South Magnetic Pole is moving north-west by 10km to 15km a year!
Right now, scientists are also keeping a close watch on a massive chunk of ice called the Larsen C iceberg. At 5000 metres square, it’s five times bigger than Auckland, dwarfing even cities like Philidelphia and Boston. It has been gradually breaking from the main ice sheet over recent decades, but this process seems to have suddenly accelerated over the last couple of months. If this monstrous iceberg melts into the sea, the effects will be monumental. Concerns for this type of melt activity are one of the motivations for this week’s 60th Antartic Programme incorporating a TEDX event like no other. The best news is, you can tune in – regardless of what the weather is doing here.
There is a diverse group of speakers who were chosen to put a spotlight on the global impact of climate change. To sing at the conclusion of the event, Gin Wigmore and her guitarist not only had to get themselves in tune, but they also had to undertake survival training and get a new wardrobe of up to six top layers and three bottom layers provided. Never has merino underwear, neck gaiters and gloves been ‘so in right now’.
TEDxScottBase will be broadcast to every continent this Sunday, January 22. There are a couple of options for you to tune in. Click here for more.
• TEDxScottBase broadcast: Sunday 22nd January 2017, set times in multiple time zones with “live chat” opportunities with some of the speakers and other Antarctic experts.
• TEDxScottBase viewing parties: Saturday 21 January – Sunday 22 January. Hosted by approved Ambassadors at a time of their choosing.