SANAE IV July 2019 Newsletter now available

In this edition:

Read more about the:

  • Mechanical Engineer and Technical Team Leader of S58;
  • wastewater treatment works at SANAE;
  • recreational activities at the base: Karaoke evenings at the South African National Antarctic Expedition station and more;
  • weather statistics of June 2019.

Team members of SANAE58 enjoying some outside time in the sun, after the long dark winter. L-R (Back): Travis Duck, Bongisipho Kuali, Jacques Robbertze, Mpati Boleme; (front) Dr. Salomé Odendaal, Tshimangadzo Munyai, Marvin Rankudu and Ewald Ferreira. Photo credit: Jacques Robbertze

Click here to download/view the SANAE IV Newsletter, July 2019 Edition.

Click here to view all the SANAE newsletters available on the Antarctic Legacy of South Africa Archive.

 

Anché Louw, Antarctic Legacy of South Africa, 15 August 2019

Women’s Month 2019

August is a very special month for women in South Africa and this said we would like to salute women within the South African National Antarctic Programme.

SANAP is filled with strong women in Antarctic, sub-Antarctic and Southern Ocean research. The programme also consist of a number of brave women overwintering at the South African research stations (Marion Island, Gough Island and Antarctica).

There are 29 National Research Foundation/Department of Science and Technology  funded projects within SANAP and 13 of these are managed by women. This is evident that women definitely have a place within Antarctic research.

The South African National Space Agency (SANSA) sends four volunteers to Antarctica every year. These volunteers assist with hard work (physically and mentally). The last take-over to Antarctica, three of the four South African National Space Agency (SANSA) volunteers were women.

During my trip to Antarctica earlier this year, I had the opportunity to meet a number of very inspiring women – in the video below, meet the three SANSA volunteers of the 2018/2019 Antarctic take-over and the new VLF (Very Low Frequency) SANSA Engineer, who is currently overwintering at the South African National Antarctic Expedition station (SANAE IV).

 

Anché Louw, Antarctic Legacy of South Africa, 13 August 2019.

Sound & Vibration research currently onboard the S.A. Agulhas II

It is the last week of the SCALExperiment Winter Cruise of 2019. Here’s what the engineers of Stellenbosch University are currently doing onboard the S.A. Agulhas II.

Observations of stern and bow slamming done from the SAAII bridge.

During the SCALE Voyyage to Antarctica, the Sound and Vibration Group has been conducting full scale measurements using accelerometers placed on the S.A. Agulhas II. Wave observations have been conducted to estimate the height and frequency of the waves encountered by the vessel. With this, slamming observations have been conducted. When the vessel is experiencing slamming the team is tasked to rate the slam according to the comfort experienced.

The team has conducted ship manoeuvers in open water while stationary and moving at various speeds. This was done to investigate under which wave states the vessel experiences slamming.

The team is also investigating human comfort onboard the vessel. Passengers fill in daily motion sickness and slamming surveys. In addition to this a head acoustic dummy, Mike, has been measuring the sound experienced in a passenger cabin.

Information received from: Prof Annie Bekker, Associate Professor, Department of Mechanical and Mechatronic Engineering, Stellenbosch University,  05 August 2019

Photos: supplied by Sound and Vibration Group 

West Indian Ocean Governance and Exchange Network (WIOGEN)

Dear all

The West Indian Ocean Governance and Exchange Network (WIOGEN) is one of the MeerWissen initiatives and was launched earlier this month. WIOGEN is an opportunity to produce joint publications through the science exchanges, be involved in a science to policy event, training schools and virtual learning. The network activities will be driven by the needs of the region and its members.

The first conference will take place on the 7th and 8th of November 2019. Please fill in the survey to ensure that you are included in news about WIOGEN and to express your interest in attending the November event (it is a non-obligatory expression of interest).  https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/BLQ95Q3

Please click here for more information. We look forward to welcoming you to the network and working with our partners to improve ocean governance in the West Indian Ocean.  If you have any questions please feel free to email info@wiogen.org or visit the (under construction) website:  https://wiogen.org/

Best wishes

Shannon

(Representing implementing partners IOI-SA and Leibniz Centre for Tropical Research – ZMT)

Dr Shannon Hampton
International Ocean Institute – African Region
CBC Building, Kirstenbosch, Rhodes Drive, Newlands
0217998830
www.ioisa.org
https://www.facebook.com/IOISouthernAfrica/
http://howtosurvivephd.blogspot.com/

Why is the Maties TracEx-group currently on the SCALExperiment Winter Cruise of 2019?

Jean Loock and Johan Viljoen, Stellenbosch University doctoral candidates currently onboard the S.A. Agulhas II, gave some insight on why the TracEx -group is so interested in studying the Southern Ocean during winter and the particular interest in the seasonal sea-ice.

“Phytoplankton are microorganisms that help regulate global climate through carbon dioxide uptake as they photosynthesise. To do this they require nutrients but in the remote oceans food is scarce, resulting in fierce competition and poor growth of these plankton. However, within the seasonal sea-ice that grows during winter and extends northwards from Antarctica, a thriving little community of microorganisms exist.

Our team is looking to analyze the snow layer on the ice, the ice itself and the water below the ice in an attempt to understand how these nutrients are concentrating within the ice. It may be that during the summer melting phase, these nutrients are expelled from the ice and provide the food required for large scale blooms of phytoplankton and thereby improved carbon dioxide uptake. These curious cases are crucial to improving our understanding of the climate system in a changing environment”.

Follow the TracEx Group on Facebook and Twitter.

Preparing the Mini Geotraces CTD Rosette before the cruise:

On the day of the first launch, during the #SCALExperiment #WinterCruise2019 .

Team TracEx getting ready to deploy their new mini CTD rosette in ice conditions to collect water samples to study the trace metals in the water column below ice. Photo Credit: Johan Viljoen.

 

For more information on #SCALExperiment #WinterCruise2019  – click here.

Anché Louw, Antarctic Legacy of South Africa, 01 August 2019

 

SANAE IV June 2019 Newsletter now available

SANAE58, Antarctica, Newsletters

In this edition:

  • Meet the Team Medical Doctor, Salomé Odendaal
  • Learn more about the medical facilities at the base
  • The ins and outs about waste management here at SANAE IV
  • What you want to know about cooking and a typical SANAE braai
  • Weather summary for the month and more…

 

Click here to download/view the SANAE IV Newsletter, June 2019 Edition

Most recent news from the team:

 

Click here to view all the SANAE newsletters available on the Antarctic Legacy of South Africa Archive.

 

Anché Louw, Antarctic Legacy of South Africa, 30 July 2019

The Annual Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting

South Africa’s permanent presence on the Antarctic continent commenced shortly after the Norwegians announced the evacuation of their Antarctic base, which was established for the International Geophysics Year (IGY), in the Dronning Maud Land region (approximately 4000 km south of Cape Town). This base was taken over by South Africa in 1959, during the first South African National Antarctic Expedition (SANAE), under the leadership of J.J. ‘Hannes’ la Grange (also Senior Meteorologist of the team).

1st SANAE Overwintering Team, 1960

1st SANAE Overwintering Team of 1960 (L-R: André van der Merwe, Dick Bonnema, Hannes la Grange, Marten du Preez, Blackie de Swardt).

Antarctic Treaty counties: Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Chile, France, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, South Africa, United Kingdom, United States and USSR.

In the same year, South Africa, along with eleven other countries signed the Antarctic Treaty, hence SA is one of the founding members of the Antarctic Treaty System (ATS), and however South Africa never made a territorial claim in Antarctica, is seen as a “consultative party” within the Antarctic Treaty, due to its legitimate interest in Antarctica (Viall 1991).

The Antarctic Treaty can be described as “agreements and arrangements which regulate international relations and activities in Antarctica” (Viall 1991). The aim of the Antarctic Treaty was to ensure that Antarctica (the area south of 60° S latitude) would be used for no other than peaceful purposes. The Antarctic Treaty also stipulates that military activities, nuclear explosions and the disposal of radioactive waste are prohibited in Antarctica (The Antarctic Treaty, 1959). Read more here.

South Africa has certain obligations to the ATS regarding conservation on Antarctica and on its sub-Antarctic islands and form part of the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels (ACAP) and Convention for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR).

The Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting (ATCM) kicked off in 1961 and was held biennially, however since 1994 it became evident that this meeting should be held annually. As stipulated by the Secretariat of the Antarctic Treaty, ‘the meeting is hosted by Consultative parties according to the alphabetical order of their English names’.

This year the meeting in held in Prague, France.  South Africa’s delegation consists of:

  1. Chief Director: Specialist Monitoring Systems (Mr L. Fikizolo) – HoD
  2. Director: Earth Systems Strategies (Mr M. Dopolo),
  3. Acting Director: Integrated Projects and International Coordination (Mr Y. Mngxe),
  4. State Law Advisor: Department of International Relations and Cooperation (Ms R. Brammer).

Furthermore South Africans, Richard Skinner (previously with the South African Department of Environmental Affairs and a long-time participant within the South African National Antarctic Programme) and Lize-Marié van der Watt (Doctor of Philosophy at KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden) are currently also at this meeting as part of the Antarctic Treaty Secretariat support staff.

References:

The Antarctic Treat (1959) http://blogs.sun.ac.za/antarcticlegacy/wp-content/blogs.dir/189/files/2015/10/The-Antarctic-Treaty1.pdf

Viall JD (1991) South Africa: The Road to the Antarctic Treaty. South African Journal of Antarctic Research, Volume 21:125-128.

 

Anché Louw, Antarctic Legacy of South Africa, 11 July 2019.

SEAmester IV – photos and more

SEAmester2019, SEAmester, SEAmester IV

On the 1st of July 2019, 41 students from various universities across South Africa have set sail from the Port of Cape Town, onboard the S.A. Aghulus II, as part of the annual SEAmester course run by Prof Isabelle Ansorge from the Department of Oceanography, University of Cape Town. Assisting her onboard is Tahlia Henry, programme coordinator; watch this interview with Tahlia just before departure.  Students who are in the marine field of study and who make it through the hundreds of applications get the fantastic opportunity to participate in this 11-day South African class afloat. The cruise travels up the coast to Port Elizabeth where the vessel turns into the deeper oceans in order to travel along the ASCA line. The line plots its course at certain intervals, where CTD (conductivity, temperature and depth) tests are done.

While students are onboard the days are filled with a selection of lectures and practicals, run by leaders in the field of marine science. The practicals give students some hands-on experience within their field of interest, for example students get to partake in CTD observations where the CTD is lowered to different depths at different points along the cruise to measure depth, salinity and temperature. These observations are done in order to gain a better understanding of the Aghulus current. The South African Weather Service also has a meteorological technician/forecaster onboard, demonstrating the release of a weather balloon, while informing students on the data gathered from the radiosonde (box attached to the balloon gather certain data) – view this video to  learn more about weather observations from the S.A. Agulhas II. Other practicals onboard include; dissections on marine mammals, parasitology studies, seafloor sediments studies, mammal observations and micro plastic sampling.

Surrounded by the blue ocean looking left, right, backwards and forwards reminds one of the vastness of the ocean.  Sunrises and sunsets are most definitely a highlight for students as they are able to watch the sun break through the horizon from the monkey deck.

The cruise has thus far experienced some great weather in the first few days, but we did end up face to face with a cold front. It was a slightly bumpy ride to say the least as the vessel had to navigate its way through 9m swells and 40 knot winds.

The vessel is expected to back in the Port of Cape Town by morning, 11 July 2019.

S.A. Ahulhas II moving through calm waters. Photo Credit: Alex Oelofse.

All photo supplied by the photographer onboard the vessel: Alex Oelofse.

Author: Alex Oelofse, Photographer onboard the vessel. Edited by: Anché Louw, 09 July 2019.

Departure: SA’s Class Afloat – SEAmester IV 2019

The 4th SEAmester cruise departed from the port of Cape Town on the 1st of July 2019.

This year’s class consists of 41 students in total, including postgraduate students from all over South Africa and a few international students.

During this 11 day cruise along the coast of South Africa, on the S.A. Agulhas II, students will learn all about marine science through theoretical classroom learning and applying this knowledge through ship-based and hands-on research. Find out more about SEAmester here.

We would like to wish all the students and lecturers onboard the vessel another successful programme.

VIDEO: Meet the programme coordinator, Tahlia Henry.

Note: SEAmester is a Department of Science and Technology/National Research Foundation funded SANAP (South African National Antarctic Programme) project.

 

Anché Louw, Antarctic Legacy of South Africa, 03 July 2019

Antarctica JOBS – APPLY NOW for SANAE 59

Apply now to be part of the 59th South African National Antarctic Expedition (SANAE) overwintering team!

Positions available:

Job TitleStation Period Closing DateDownload Job Advert
Senior Meteorological Technician
VIDEO
Antarctica - SANAE IVDecember
2019 to January 2021
22 July 2019 More info, click here!
Communications/Electronics Engineer
VIDEO
Antarctica - SANAE IVDecember
2019 to January 2021
22 July 2019 More info, click here!
Mechanical EngineerAntarctica - SANAE IVDecember
2019 to January 2021
22 July 2019 More info, click here!
Electrical Engineer/Technician
VIDEO
Antarctica - SANAE IVDecember
2019 to January 2021
22 July 2019 More info, click here!
Diesel Mechanic
VIDEO
Antarctica - SANAE IVDecember
2019 to January 2021
22 July 2019 More info, click here!
Medical Doctor
VIDEO
Antarctica - SANAE IVDecember
2019 to January 2021
22 July 2019 More info, click here!
RADAR Engineer - South African National Space AgencyAntarctica - SANAE IVDecember
2019 to January 2021
Position Filled
VLF Engineer - South African National Space AgencyAntarctica - SANAE IVDecember
2019 to January 2021
Position Filled

 

Mid-winter greetings from the three SANAP stations

Happy mid-winter from our Antarctic station (SANAE), sub-Antarctic station (Marion Island) and Gough Island.

Antarctica – where the 58th overwintering team will be celebrating mid-winter.

Antarctica, SANAE, SANAE58,midwinter

Marion Island – where the 76th overwintering team will be celebrating mid-winter.

Marion Island, Marion76, midwinter

Gough Island – where the 64th overwintering team will be celebrating mid-winter.

Gough Island, Gough64, midwinter

Mid-Winter greetings from DEA

Mid-Winter is celebrated right across Antarctica by all the nations & stations.  It is the 0ldest tradition in Antarctica and refers to the Winter Solstice (or hibernal solstice).  It occurs when one of the Earth’s poles has its maximum tilt away from the Sun. It happens twice yearly, once in each hemisphere (Northern and Southern). For that hemisphere, the winter solstice is the day with the shortest period of daylight and longest night of the year, when the Sun is at its lowest daily maximum elevation in the sky.

At the pole, there is continuous darkness or twilight around the winter solstice. Its opposite is the summer solstice.

The winter solstice occurs during the hemisphere’s winter. In the Southern Hemisphere, this is the June solstice (usually 20 or 21 June).   Although the winter solstice itself lasts only a moment, the term sometimes refers to the day on which it occurs. Other names are “midwinter”, the “extreme of winter” (Dongzhi), or the “shortest day”.

So, for Antarctic Expeditioners / Overwinterers the worst is over with regards to dark (lack of light and sunlight).

Happy Mid- Winter to all – share this email far and wide.

From all of us

Jasmine Arnold

Office Administrator to The Ship’s Operations Manager | Directorate: Southern Oceans & Antarctic Support | Office address: East Pier, Waterfront | Direct no: 021 405 9485 | Switchboard: 021 405 9400

Mid-winter Event Pretoria, South Africa – organised by Carol Jacobs :

SANAE58 team member birthday – Salomé Odendaal

Salomé is the 58th SANAE Overwintering team’s Medical Doctor.

On behalf of ALSA and all involved in the South African National Antarctic Programme, we would like to wish you a Happy Birthday.

Anché Louw, Antarctic Legacy of South Africa, 14 June 2019.

SANAE IV May 2019 Newsletter now available

SANAE58, Antarctica, Newsletters

In this Edition:

SANAE IV, Antarctica

Deputy Team Leader of SANAE 58, Mpati Boleme.

– Get to know the SANAE58 deputy team leader, Mpati Boleme.

– Learn more about the scientific work currently ongoing at SANAE IV

– See what was the weather like during the month of May 2019.

– Team gatherings

– Learn some facts about Antarctica

Click here to download/view the SANAE IV Newsletter, May 2019 Edition.

Click here to view all the SANAE newsletters available on the Antarctic Legacy of South Africa Archive.

 

 

Anché Louw, Antarctic Legacy of South Africa, 13 June 2019

 

 

 

Electrician needed – Gough Island 2019-2020

Call for all electricians, that consist of the minimum requirements for this position, to apply as soon as possible.

Please click on the link below for more information regarding this position:

Electrician – Gough (OC03.2019)

DEADLINE: 24 June 2019 

Please Contact Mr Willem Boshoff for more information – Telephone (021) 405 9418

 

Read more about Gough Island here.

Also view the inside of the base, where you will stay for 13 months.

Gough Photos

 

Anché Louw, Antarctic Legacy of South Africa, 12 June 2019

 

Meteorological Technician position on Antarctica (Video)

The December 2019 – February 2021 positions for Antarctica will soon be advertised here. If you are interested in overwintering at the South African National Antarctic Expedition Station, SANAE IV, make sure you know all about the different positions available.

Note that this position at SANAE IV is not permanent and is based on a 15 month contract.

More about the Senior Meteorological Technician position for the South African Weather Service (SAWS) at SANAE IV…

MINIMUM REQUIREMENTS

  • National Weather Certificate or BSc Degree (Honours) in Natural Sciences or Previous Island Experience.
  • Preference will be given to applicants who have been to the islands before.
  • Candidates must be willing to work shifts (both day and night shifts), and on public holidays in possible adverse weather conditions.
  • Candidates must be punctual, dedicated, precise and able to work in a team, as well as on their own.

DUTIES

  • Oversee and coordinate surface meteorological and atmospheric research project assigned by the Marine Section of SAWS.
  • Perform surface meteorological observations and maintain and verify all equipment at the remote station of SANAE IV.
  • Conduct quality control of data, report writing and asset control.
  • Assist other team members with logistical and administrative tasks associated with the general running of the base.
  • Conduct all duties in accordance with the rules, regulations and standards as set out by the South African Weather Service.

Watch this video and meet Meteorological Technicians previously (of the 57th SANAE Overwintering Team, Season: December 2017 – March 2019) and currently (of the 58th SANAE Overwintering Team (Season: December 2018 – February 2020) at SANAE IV.

Contact Mardené de Villiers or Tammy Morris (SAWS) for more information regarding this position – Tel: (021) 935 5700


 

Over the next few weeks we will share more information about the different positions and you can also watch videos of previous overwintering personnel at SANAE.

Subscribe to the ALSA YouTube Channel to make sure you do not miss any new videos on our channel.

 

Senior Meteorological Technician for SANAE IV minimum requirements and duties are taken from official job advert for this position (Department of Environmental Affairs and South African Weather Service).

Anché Louw, Antarctic Legacy of South Africa, 10 June 2019

SANAP researcher travels to NYC to communicate science during oceans week

Katherine Hutchinson (Postdoctoral Researcher, Oceanography at L’Ocean University of Cape Town) was one of the 48 expedition members, part of the Weddell Sea Expedition of 2019. During this expedition scientists did the first ever sampling on the A68 ice berg, that broke off of Larsen C ice shelf in July 2017. 

Meet all the South Africans that was part of the Weddell Sea Expedition 2019: click here.

Her research ‘explores the role of the ocean in possibly driving basal melting and thus destabilising the ice shelf making it more prone to loss via massive calving events’ like the event mentioned above.

She is currently in New York sharing her knowledge on ocean conservation (click here for more information on this event). She compares the size of ice berg A68 with Manhattan, which is 180 times the size of this part of the city and most probably the best way to create a sense of scale.

Weddell Sea Expedition

Top photo: Katherine Hutchinson, second from the left.

Tomorrow, 8 June, is World Oceans Day and is also a Commemorative event in South Africa. We need to protect and conserve our oceans. Read more about World Oceans Day here.

 

Anché Louw, Antarctic Legacy of South Africa, 07 June 2019.

Marion75 team photo and logo now uploaded

Marion75, M75, Marion Island, Overwintering Team

The 75th Marion Island Overwintering team departed on 06 April 2018 (click here to read more) and returned to Cape Town on the 15th of May 2019 (VIDEO).

Click on the link below and view their official team photo among the previous Marion Island overwintering teams.

Also visit the Antarctic Legacy of South Africa Archive to view the team photo or team logo.

Marion Island Team Photos

 

Anché Louw, Antarctic Legacy of South Africa, 06 June 2019.

Gough Island Restoration Programme – do you want to be part of the team?

Physically hard working individuals and communications engineer needed!!

The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) announced the availability of positions for the Gough Island Restoration Programme (GIRP). This programme is planned to commence in 2020 and aims to get rid of the bird-eating mice on Gough Island.

If you are interested in more information or if you would like to join the team, download this document – Gough Island Restoration Programme baiting team member application briefing.

Applicants need to fill out the application at the end of the document and email to pmcclelland@xtra.co.nz.

Note that the selection of the team is likely to be in September 2019, hence submit your application as soon as possible.

Feel free to contact Pete McClelland or Richard Switzer for further queries.

–          Pete McClelland (baiting team) – pmcclelland@xtra.co.nz

–          Richard Switzer (aviculture team) Richard.Switzer@rspb.org.uk

 

Anché Louw, Antarctic Legacy of South Africa, 31 May 2019

SANAE IV April 2019 Newsletter now available

SANAE58, Antarctica, Newsletters

In this Edition:

– Get to know the SANAE58 team leader, Jacques Robbertze

– Have you ever heard of the ‘smelly’ and wondered how this ice melting system works?

Click here to download The Edurance (SANAE IV Newsletter), March 2019 Edition.

SANAE58

Anché Louw, Antarctic Legacy of South Africa, 17 May 2019

 

Welcome home Marion75 and take-over personnel

The S.A. Agulhas II arrived in Cape Town yesterday, 15 May 2019, after being away for 34 days.

The vessel returned with the 75th Marion Island overwintering team, all take-over scientists (land-and ship based) and take-over personnel.

Marion75 departed last year on 06 April 2018 and they are now reunited with family and friends after approximately 13 months.

Click here to see who was on this team and more about the different scientific groups (land-and ship based).

Note that there are more institutions involved in take-over science on the island, not mentioned in this video such as the Biocomplexity Project (University of Johannesburg) and Observing Dawn in the Cosmos (University of KwaZulu Natal). These projects does not have personnel overwintering on the island.

Marion75 and take-over personnel, addressed by the Deputy Director-General Oceans and Coasts, Judy Beaumont:

 

Marion75, M75, Marion Island, Overwintering Team

L-R (front): Dakalo Gangashe (Base Engineer), Maliviwe Mnengisa (Medic/Team leader), Zinhle Shongwe (Assistant meteorologist), Stephan Keys (Birder), Dani Keys (Birder), Dineo Mogashoa (Winder/Botanist); (middle) Oyena Masiko (Birder), Vhulahani Manukha (Space Engineer), Mavis Lekhesa (Radio Technician), Michael Taunyane (Diesel Mechanic / Deputy Team Leader). Sechaba Nyaku (Senior Meteorologist). Michelle Thompson (Birder). Monica Leitner (Assistant ECO), Liezl Pretorius (Sealer/Deputy Science Team Leader), Elsa van Ginkel (Winder/Botanist), Bongekile Kuhlase (Botanist); (back) Abuyiselwe Nguna (Geomorphologist/Science Team Leader), Jabulani Thabede (Chef), James Burns (Assistant meteorologist), Charlotte Heijnis (Senior ECO), Sean Morar (Birder). Welly Qwabe (Sealer), Michael Voysey (Killer whaler/sealer), Marike Louw (Botanist).

 

Anché Louw, Antarctic Legacy of South Africa, 16 May 2019.

Attention all early career scientists

The information below was sent through by the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research.

SCAR Fellowship Scheme, partnerships and new opportunities in 2019

Fellowship logo

The Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR), the Council of Managers of National Antarctic Programs (COMNAP), and the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) have been working together for many years to support talented early-career researchers, scientists, engineers, environmental managers, and other professionals to strengthen international capacity and cooperation in fields such as science support and facilitation, environmental management implementation, and climate, biodiversity, conservation, humanities and astrophysics research by way of an annual funding opportunity.

For 2019, these Antarctic organisations are joined by the International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators (IAATO) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), who will each support additional Antarctic-related fellowships.

SCAR Launches Antarctic Fellowship Opportunities for 2019

SCAR today launches its 2019 Antarctic-related Fellowships for early-career researchers. SCAR will offer 5 to 6 fellowships of up to USD $15,000 each for 2019, with additional support for the scheme having been provided by India, Korea and France. A new SCAR/WMO Fellowship is also available in 2019 as detailed below. The Fellowships enable early-career researchers to join a project team from another country, opening up new opportunities and often creating partnerships that last for many years and over many Antarctic field seasons. The deadline for fellowship applications is 17 July 2019.

Additional opportunities in 2019 through the SCAR Fellowship scheme

For 2019 there are a number of extra opportunities through the SCAR scheme, with some restrictions on applicability but using the standard application process for SCAR Fellowships:

  • India is providing support to fund one full SCAR Fellowship, with France providing a contribution to the Fellowship funds.
  • The Republic of Korea will also contribute to one Fellowship to be allocated to an applicant from a country which has been under-represented within the SCAR Fellowship scheme to date.
  • For the new SCAR/WMO Fellowship, the WMO and SCAR will jointly fund one Fellowship for applicants from a WMO country who meet the Fellowship eligibility criteria of the WMO.

COMNAP and IAATO have already launched their Fellowship scheme for 2019 and CCAMLR launch their Scholarship scheme with two deadlines in 2019. Details are available at : https://www.scar.org/community-news/fellowship-opportunities-launched/

Background information:

The SCAR scheme is launched today, noting the complementary schemes of our partners – the COMNAP and IAATO Fellowship Scheme and the CCAMLR Scientific Scholarship Scheme. Full details of these schemes are available on their respective websites below.

For more information on SCAR Fellowships, visit the SCAR website at:
www.scar.org/awards/fellowships/information/

For information on the COMNAP and IAATO Fellowships, visit the COMNAP website at:
www.comnap.aq/SitePages/fellowships.aspx

For information on CCAMLR Scholarships, visit the CCAMLR website at:
www.ccamlr.org/en/science/ccamlr-scientific-scholarship-scheme

Marion Island take-over coming to an end

Time on the island is rapidly running out for all passengers returning to Cape Town, this includes everyone except the 76th Marion Island Overwintering Team. The take-over scientists are wrapping up field work and packing containers for back-loading  started at this research station.

The first containers were transported to the research and supply vessel, S.A. Agulhas II. Watch the video below to see how a container is transported by helicopter.

These last few days are bitter sweet on the island. The 75th overwintering team returning to Cape Town have to say goodbye to the place they called home for 13 months. A place that was at first maybe something to get used to, and now a very special memory that will last a lifetime. For many this might be the last time they get to visit this pristine island in the Southern Ocean, but for the 76th overwintering team the departure of the vessel is something to look forward to, as they will be able to unpack their personals in their own rooms and settling in, preparing for the year ahead.

The vessel is expected to depart from Marion Island on the 9th of May and the expected time of arrival at East Pier, Cape Town Harbour, is 16 May 2019. The longer return voyage will be used toward oceanographic research on transects between the Prince Edward Islands and Cape Town.

Bon Voyage, see you soon!

 

Photo Credit: Daniela Monsanto (PhD Candidate, University of Johannesburg)

Video Credit: Ultimate Aviation Group

Anché Louw, Antarctic Legacy of South Africa, 07 May 2019

SCAR Structural Review Survey

Communication via the South Africa National Committee for SCAR Chair – Professor Bettine van Vuuren.


Dear SANAP community,

Below an email from the SCAR Secretariat – It was decided that the SCAR structures be reviewed (at the meeting in Davos, 2018), and following from that, a survey was put together.

We have a real chance to contribute, and to drive change here; change that will work for us. I am the first one to sigh when asked to fill in (yet another) survey, but we really can make a meaningful contribution here. Please find the time in your busy schedules to complete this survey, and please pass this message on.

Remember, the entire SCAR Programme Structure will change in 2020, most meaningfully in terms of the big Science Programmes. Your input here can make a big difference, and if enough of us take the time to complete it, we can make sure that our work and our needs are more fully met by SCAR.

Please look at the email below from the SCAR Secretariat


Dear SCAR Group Leaders,

At the 2018 SCAR Delegates meeting, the Delegates asked the Executive Committee to review SCAR programmes, activities and committees to ensure they continue to be fit-for-purpose as the science need evolves.

To help with this task, the SCAR Executive Committee are conducting a survey of SCAR’s members, scientists, partners and groups that use SCAR data and findings. With the survey we are asking for input on how different stakeholders engage with SCAR programmes and activities and what they expect from SCAR.

You are invited to complete the survey. SCAR would like participation to be as wide as possible, so you are welcome to share the link with colleagues in their institutions, countries, and with international collaborators who benefit from SCAR.

The survey should take between 15 and 30 minutes depending on the level of feedback you provide.

The survey is available at the following link and will be open until Friday May 31st:

Thank you in advance. If you have any questions, please email info@scar.org

SCAR Secretariat


Haven’t met the South African National Committee (SANC) for SCAR yet (click here).

UPDATE: SCAR Open Science Conference 2020

The information below was sent through by the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research Secretariat. .

Preparations are well underway for the 2020 SCAR meetings and Open Science Conference to be held in Hobart, Australia in July-August 2020. The COMNAP Annual General Meeting will run concurrently with SCAR and the organisers are working to schedule events to encourage participation across the two groups.  The OSC theme ‘Antarctic Science: Global Connections’ highlights the scientific connections between Antarctica and the global system and collaboration in our Antarctic science community.

The Local Organising Committee are working closely with the SCAR and COMNAP Secretariats on meeting preparations including an excellent program of conference and side events. Planning for SCAR COMNAP 2020 includes efforts to minimise waste, encourage sustainable resource management and to foster participation inclusion and diversity.

The first pre-conference circular is now available and outlines some key pieces of information about SCAR COMNAP 2020. This includes the conference structure and indicative dates for abstract submission and registration.

The International Science Organising Committee has also developed a draft list of sessions based on input from the SCAR community – it is available for comment on the SCAR COMNAP 2020 website. Comments, suggested changes, proposals for additional sessions and suggestions for sessions to be merged together should be made to info@scar.org by 28 June 2019.

For more information, please check the SCAR COMNAP 2020 website or contact the SCAR COMNAP 2020 Project Manager, Rhonda Bartley at the Australian Antarctic Division – email: SCARCOMNAP2020@aad.gov.au

We look forward to seeing you all in Hobart next year!

Kind regards,

The SCAR Secretariat

SANAP students graduating

Congratulations to Daniela Monsanto and Mthoko Twala, two SANAP students completing their Masters degrees, both with cum laude, within the field of biology.

Daniela completed her degree at the University of Johannesburg, under the supervision of Prof Bettine van Vuuren. This Masters was part of the SANAP project: Biocomplexity: Understanding biological patterns in space and time. Daniela examined fine-scale spatial genetic patterns in one of the most dominant and ecologically significant soil organisms across the sub-Antarctic region, the Collembola Cryptopygus antarcticus. Her work highlighted a genetic discontinuity, which when overlaid onto a detailed geomorphological map of the area, coincided with a 3 meter ridge (for Collembola, this height is equivalent to a human scaled to 2.5 times the height of Table Mountain).

Mthoko completed his degree at the University of Pretoria, under the supervision of Dr Michelle Greve. This Masters was part of the SANAP project: Invasions in the changing sub-Antarctic. Mthoko assessed whether the invasive plant, Sagina procumbens, disproportionately benefits other invasive species on Marion Island. He found mixed results, with invasive plants necessarily benefitted from Sagina, but invasive collembolans benefitting more than native collembolans.

Congratulations to the students, as well as the supervisors.

See below these achievements announced on social media.

Anché Louw, Antarctic Legacy of South Africa, 30 April 2019

Marion Island March 2019 newsletter now available

Greetings from the M75 team to all our friends and families!

Where have the days gone?! March, our last full month alone on Marion, has flown by! For many of the field assistants, the work has slowed down substantially as the final tasks are being ticked off. For others, there is still quite a lot that needs to be squeezed into these final days. And, on the other hand, there are some (including the sealers) whose work has continued uninterrupted as is the case with base personnel who need to keep the ball rolling until we’ve boarded the ship home.

In between our duties however, the big clean-up has begun. All the huts have been tackled by the field assistants and back at base everyone is pitching in to make sure that everything is ready for take-over. Apart from the general base skivvy, we have all been busy packing up our own rooms too; as the total population of Marion explodes from 24 to over a hundred (with all the scientists and maintenance crew), we will soon be bunking with each other and the new M76 team while they find their feet.

Outside, island life goes on, oblivious to our bustling preparations. The wandering albatross which dot the landscape continue with their inredible life cycle and the fur-seal pups are venturing further and further from comfort as they grow at a rate. The winter leaves sap in the fading sunlight and the mountains are beginning to try on their winter coats.

We are sad to announce that this edition of The Wanderer (March 2019) will in all likelihood be our last. The next few weeks are undoubtedly going to be very chaotic and there will be little time to spare before we board the S.A. Agulhas II to go home. It has been a massive privilege to bring you these insights to our fantastic adventure in this paradise! We hope that you’ve enjoyed them as we have and that these newsletters can become part of M75’s legacy and serve to inspire future expeditions and explorers!

Authors: Elsa van Ginkel (Editor) and James Burns (Co-Editor), 75th Marion Island Overwintering Team, 16 April 2019 (received 13 April 2019)

Click here to view all the Marion Island newsletters available on the Antarctic Legacy of South Africa Archive.

Marion76 and take-over personnel about to depart from East Pier

Marion Island, M76, Marion76

Meet the Marion Island Overwintering team here.

See below some photos of the departure, more detail regarding the take-over to follow.

Videos

Meet the M76 Team Leader

Meet the M76 Deputy Team Leader

Meet the M76 Science Team Leader

 

All photos and videos taken by Ria Olivier, Antarctic Legacy of South Africa.

Anché Louw, Antarctic Legacy of South Africa, 12 April 2019

SANAE IV March 2019 Newsletters now available

SANAE58, Antarctica, Newsletters

Download the first newsletter of the 58th SANAE Overwintering team!

In this Edition:

– Meet the team

– They have a Motto!!

– See who sponsored the team with some extra (nice to have items) for their expedition.

Click here to download The Edurance (SANAE IV Newsletter), March 2019 Edition.

SANAE58, S58, Antarctica, Overwintering Team

 

Anché Louw, Antarctic Legacy of South Africa, 05 April 2019

Antarctic Earth Scientists take note…

SCAR Event Announcement
XIII International Symposium on Antarctic Earth Sciences

The abstract submission deadline for the XIII International Symposium on Antarctic Earth Sciences has been extended to 21 April 2019.

Please go to the event website (click here) for more information.

 

Meet Marion76 (2019/2020 overwintering team)

Marion Island, Overwintering, Team

The 76th Marion Island Overwintering team training started during the second week of March and will end Friday, 29 March.

The team training is intended to give the team a good background of the South African National Antarctic Programme and the history of South Africa’s involvement in the Southern Ocean. The team will also get an idea of what to expect of their year on Marion Island, learn what they can and can’t do and get a better idea of what to pack. During training the team can mingle with each other and learn how to work together during First Aid and Fire Fighting training, during the packing of containers and the cooking class. Each member’s dental health will also be assessed and attended to, as there is no way of returning home for an aching tooth. Each member on the team will also be kitted out with the necessary protective clothing for living and working in the sub-Antarctic.

The current expected time of departure for the vessel, S.A. Agulhas II is 11 April 2019. Click here to view the S.A Agulhas II Voyage Schedule.

Marion76 (M76)

Featured Image: M76 team during the first day of training, with Ria Olivier, Antarctic Legacy of South Africa (back, 4th from left) and  Adriaan Dreyer (far right), Assistant Director – Logistics and Support of Expeditions (Southern Ocean and Island Support Division, Department of Environmental Affairs).

Anché Louw, Antarctic Legacy of South Africa, 20 March 2019

 

Marion Island February 2019 newsletter now available

Marion Island, Newsletter

Greetings to the friends, families and followers of the M75 team!Marion Island, Newsletter

And so goes the second month of the not-so-new-anymore year. It has been another wonderful month on this incredible island! The Christmas trees (correction: one of the Christmas trees) have just been packed away and the base is visibly tensing for the onslaught of the upcoming take-over month. The new M76 team has started training in Cape Town and we are all getting ready to show them the ropes when they arrive. But despite the approaching conclusion to our adventure, we have still been having a fantastic time here in paradise!

Winter is coming, and fast! February saw a very noticable shift in weather as the winds pick up, temperatures drop and the interior recieves a regular dusting of white. Field workers have been busy as the last of many of the newest generation of island birds leave their nests and the fur seal pups grow at an alarming rate. The iconic wandering albatross have mostly settled down and the first few chicks have even hatched. There is still a lot of work to do, both outside and in the lab, before the ship arrives. We have been in high spirits back at base and still enjoy our weekly braais, a couple of birthdays and other fun events.

This edition of The Wanderer (February 2019) is packed with great photos and the amazing experiences that we have been enjoying here! We hope you enjoy them all too!

Kind regards,
the Wanderer Editing team

Authors: Elsa van Ginkel (Editor) and James Burns (Co-Editor), 75th Marion Island Overwintering Team, 19 March 2019 (received 14 March 2019)

 

Click here to view all the Marion Island newsletters available on the Antarctic Legacy of South Africa Archive.

Polar Week 2019

As a community doing Polar research we take part in the APECS* International Polar Week of March 2019 to promote international polar research.

*APECS: Association of Polar Early Career Scientists

 

This year the March Polar Week runs from the 17th until the 23rd of March 2019.

 

What is Polar Week?

APECS

Except from the Association of Polar Early Career Scientists Website

Part of this week-long celebration on social media, South Africa’s National Committee for APECS, APECS South Africa, is running a photo competition.  You are ALL encouraged to enter!

The categories is as follow: Data, Landscape, Wildlife and Fieldwork.

For more details, click on the photo below…

Anché Louw, Antarctic Legacy of South Africa, 18 March 2019

Happy Birthday to Marion75 Team member (Cook) – Jabulani Thabede

Marion Island, Sub-Antarctic, South African Islands

On behalf of ALSA and all involved in the South African National Antarctic Programme, we would like to wish Jabulani Thabede (Cook of  M75) a Happy Birthday today.

This is the first overwintering team with a full-time cook on the team.

Marion Island, Team, Overwintering Team, Birthdays

Anché Louw, Antarctic Legacy of South Africa, 18 March 2019

Welcome home S.A. Agulhas II

Welcome to Cape Town SANAE57 team, take-over personnel, Weddell Sea Expedition crew, Department of Public Works personnel and Nolitha Construction (responsible for the refurbishments of the SANAE IV base), the Ultimate Helicopter Crew and the S.A. Agulhas II’s Captain and Crew.

The 57th South African National Antarctic Expedition (SANAE) team has returned to Cape Town, after 15 months away from home (see photo below). This team had to stay a bit longer at SANAE IV than usual, due to the longer take-over in order to accommodate the Weddell Sea Expedition, that was incorporated in the 2018/2019 Antarctica Cruise.

L-R (Back): Stephanus Schoeman (RADAR Engineer), John Skelete (Diesel Mechanic), Bo Orton (Electrician), Will Jelbert (Doctor), Forster Mashele (VLF Engineer), Sabelo Biyela (Diesel Mechanic); (front) Hloni Rakoteli (Communications Engineer), Lux Tanyana (Base Engineer), Elias Seabi (Meteorological Technician) and Cobus van der Merwe (Neutron Engineer).

This Weddell Sea Expedition was funded by the The Flotilla Foundation and the S.A. Agulhas II chartered a team of scientists into the Weddell Sea, for extensive scientific exploration on and around the LarsenC ice shelf and the A68 Iceberg. Click here to meet the South Africans that was part of this expedition.

The Weddell Sea Expedition also involved the search for Sir Ernest Shackleton’s ship, the Endurance (click here for more information), but due to unfavourable weather conditions and the loss of the AUV (automated underwater vehicle) the search was ended where after the ship headed back to Penguin Bukta where overwintering members (S57) and take-over personnel of SANAE IV boarded the ship.

The welcoming ceremony was led by Mathibela Selepe (Department of Environmental Affairs, Chief Engineer: Telecommunications and Instrumentation) and welcoming speech delivered by Mbulelo Dopolo (Department of Environmental Affairs, Branch: Oceans and Coasts, Director: Earth Systems Strategies).

Anché Louw, Antarctic Legacy of South Africa, 15 March 2019

New South Africa National Committee for SCAR

Steven Chown

Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR) President, Prof Steven Chown from Monash University, with some representatives at the meeting of the South Africa National Committee for SCAR.

South Africa has been involved in Antarctic research since the geophysical year of 1957. The first 10 years of South Africa’s science and research in the Antarctic is highlighted in an article by  DG Kingwell, at that stage the secretary of the South African Scientific Committee for Antarctic Research (SASCAR).

The Antarctic Research of South Africa is  part of The International Science Council (ISC), South Africa.

South Africa is a national member of ISC through the National Research Foundation (NRF) and the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) supported by the Department of Science and Technology (DST). The South African ISC -Secretariat serves the scientific community and the ISC scientific unions and affiliates to which South Africa adheres. The SA ISC Secretariat provides support and organisational services for the ISC National Board of SA, and to the SA ISC National Committees to advance South Africa’s position in international platforms. The total membership of these committees is in excess of 200 scientists.  Approximately 100 South Africans serve on ICS-related commissions and working groups. The ISC activities in South Africa are focused on the following principals:

  • Science-for-policy: Stimulate and support national and international scientific research and scholarship, and to communicate science that is relevant to national and international policy issues;
  • Policy-for-science: Promote developments that enable science to contribute more effectively to major issues in the national and international public domain;
  • Science-for-society: Stimulate science engagement with society;
  • Scientific freedom and responsibility: Support the free and responsible practice of science;
  • Adherence: Support committees through payment of ISC membership dues.

South Africa Science and Research is also part of the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR) where the committee members will represent South Africa at SCAR meetings.

The new National Committee has been announced  in a letter by Tracy Klarenbeek – Professional Officer, Knowledge Advancement and Support (KAS) and their first meeting took place at Stellenbosch University on 6 March 2019.

Dear SANAP Community,

It gives me great pleasure in sharing the names of the individuals selected to represent us all at SCAR. Of course, these individuals will rely heavily on inputs from the entire community, so I sincerely hope that you will be available to support them in their endeavours. Members of the community that are not an the steering committee are still strongly encouraged to participate in SCAR and SCAR-related activities. The DST and the NRF are planning a follow-up meeting with the whole community, hopefully by the middle of the year (academic and other schedules permitting), so as to give feedback on a number of initiatives ongoing that will possibly impact on us all, including plans for current and future SA participation in SCAR. We look forward to seeing you there.

The final list is below, the details of which will be communicated to SCAR in due course.  Professor Bettine van Vuuren was nominated as the Committee Chair, Tracy Klarenbeek as Vice-Chair and Dr Gilbert Siko representing the Department of Science and technology.

Life Sciences Standing Committee of SCAR

  • Thulani Makhalanyane (South African Representative)
  • Bettine van Vuuren
  • Anne Treasure

Physical Sciences Standing Committee of SCAR

  • Sandy Thomalla
  • Sarah Fawcett (South African Representative)
  • Stefan Lotz

Geosciences Standing Committee of SCAR

  • Christel Hansen
  • Werner Nel
  • Geoff Grantham (South African Representative)

Social Sciences and Humanities Standing Committee of SCAR

  • Anché Louw
  • Ria Olivier (South African Representative)
  • Charne Lavery

Please give this committee your support in their efforts to take South African science to the world via SCAR.

 

 

ETA of the S.A. Agulhas II – 15 March 2019

SA Agulhas II, Antarctica, ETA Cape Town

The S.A. Agulhas II is currently on her way home, after being in the Antarctica waters for 3 months. Onboard is the returning 57th SANAE (South African National Antarctic Expedition) overwintering team, 2018/2019 SANAE take-over personnel, Weddell Sea Expedition members and ship based scientists of different South African universities.

Expected time of arrival (ETA): 15 March 2019, around 08:30

MORE DETAIL:
The S.A. Agulhas II will arrive in Cape Town at 2am, tomorrow morning.

The vessel will then proceed to Landing Wall 1 for inward clearance and shifting in to east pier around 08:30.

SA Agulhas II, Antarctica, ETA Cape Town

Anché Louw, Antarctic Legacy of South Africa, 14 March 2019

SANAE57 Team – meet the Comms Engineer (Video)

SANAE57, Overwintering Team, Antarctica, Team, Communications Engineer, SANAE IV

Following up on this article: SANAE57 Team -currently on their way home

Meet the Communications Engineer of the 57th South African National Antarctic Expedition Team – Hloni Rakoteli. This is not the first time Hloni heads home on the S.A Agulhas II from an overwintering expedition, his first expedition was on Gough Island as part of the 61st Gough Island Overwintering Team (Gough61 team photo). Get to know Hloni a bit better, before watching the video, by downloading the June Edition of the SANAE57 team newsletter.

Excerpt of SANAE57’s first team newsletter – December 2017 (Click here to view this newsletter)

VIDEO

 

This team is heading home on the S.A. Agulhas II, currently sailing through the roaring 40’s (now at 43°South). Track the S.A. Agulhas II by clicking on the icon below.

Track the S.A. Agulhas II here...

Track the S.A. Agulhas II

 

Anché Louw, Antarctic Legacy of South Africa, 12 March 2019

 

 

Current Cruise: Glider deployment, data collection and retrieval

SOCCO, Gliders, CSIR, UCT

The S.A. Agulhas II is now on its homeward journey having finished all logistical and scientific work at SANAE and in the Weddell Sea (track the ship here). The work is not yet over for all aboard, however. Scientists from the University of Cape Town (UCT), the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and the South African Weather Service (SAWS) continue to collect oceanographic and meteorological data. UCT and CSIR are both sampling seawater as the ship sails, measuring chlorophyll, nutrients, ammonium and phytoplankton community composition, to name a few.

Over and above this, CSIR—more particularly, CSIR SOCCO—and Martin Mohrmann of the University of Gothenburg and ROAM-MIZ deployed oceanographic instruments on the voyage south to Antarctica (see photos below). CSIR SOCCO, or the Southern Ocean Carbon & Climate Observatory, is a South African research programme focused on the Southern Ocean. ROAM-MIZ, according to their website, “is a multi-institutional initiative to observe the full seasonal cycle of the upper ocean in the marginal ice zone near the Greenwich Meridian”. CSIR SOCCO deployed two wave gliders, a Seaglider and a Slocum glider. ROAM-MIZ deployed two Seagliders and a Sailbuoy, christened SB Kringla. These instruments continuously record oceanographic data while they move through the water. The wave gliders and the Sailbuoy remain at the surface, harnessing wave and wind power, respectively, to propel them through the water. The Seagliders and Slocum glider alter their buoyancy to dive and sample sea water during their journeys to the deeps (deep parts of the ocean) and back to the surface. All these vehicles transmit their data to satellites at regular intervals or when they surface after a dive.

Deployment of Gliders

With the S.A. Agulhas II now making for home, the time has come to recover these instruments in order that they can be serviced and used again in future deployments. The wave gliders, in a true feat of engineering, are being piloted home to Cape Town. This is due to reducing sunlight available for the solar panels of the southernmost glider as the receding summer light wanes at these high latitudes. This will entail a journey of 1200 km and 2500 km for the respective wave gliders (click here for the update on the position of the gliders). Two Seagliders, the Slocum glider and the Sailbuoy will be recovered on the voyage home. The third Seaglider is to be recovered by another vessel, the Norwegian RV Kronprins Haakon, sailing from Punta Arenas in Chile.

On the 1st of March, the Sailbuoy and a ROAM-MIZ Seaglider were both safely recovered in fair weather at 60°S 0°E. The speed and success of the recovery were entirely down to the skill of the S.A. Agulhas II’s crew and the prevailing calm weather. Next, the Slocum glider will be recovered at 54°S 0°E and then CSIR SOCCO’s remaining buoyancy glider at 43°S 8°E. The S.A. Agulhas II is now making for 54°S 0°E after having sailed to South Thule and South Georgia for SAWS deployments and commitments.

Retrieval of Gliders

For more information on CSIR’s SOCCO programme, click here and for further information on ROAM-MIZ, click here.

Cover Photo: ROAM-MIZ’s two buoyancy gliders making satellite contact in preparation for deployment.

 

Written by: Hermann Luyt, Oceanography, University of Cape Town

Edited by: Anché Louw, Antarctic Legacy of South Africa, 07 March 2019

Photo Credit (all): Hermann Luyt

SANAP Project News: SOCCO (follow-up)

SOCCO, SANAP, Southern Ocean

SOSCEX-Storm II Experiment Wave Gliders heading to Cape Town from the Antarctic waters

Following up on the story of the our Liquid Robotics Wavegliders returning home to Cape Town from the Southern Ocean (click here) we have now completed the first half of the journey. Waveglider WG052 will arrive at its intermediate waypoint 43°S 9°E on Saturday 2nd March.  It has completed the first 1200km of its journey in 17 days at an average of 70km per day during which it sailed through 3 storms and crossed both the Polar and Sub-Antarctic fronts (see photo below).

SOCCO, Gliders, Wavegliders

On Sunday 3rd March WG052 will meet up with its twin WG027 that has been making its own CO2 and physics measurements at our long term observation station SAZ-1 since early December 2018. They will return together in the second 1200km stretch of sub-polar and sub-tropical waters but separated by about 50 – 100km to test some ideas about the correlations length scales for pCO2.  Both units continue to provide almost real time observations of ocean physics and CO2.  You will see from the attached pic (earth.nullschool.net), which is derived from almost real time satellite observations-based surface ocean circulation product OSCAR of the mesoscale features around the south of Africa, that we are aiming to use one of these “jets” to propel both gliders towards Cape Town across the turbulent cauldron west of the Agulhas current retroflection.  It shows very nicely how the ocean is not made up of large homogeneous currents but a series of high speed jets and eddies.  We are exploring how the interaction of storms with these features influence the seasonal variability and ultimately the climate sensitivity of the air – sea fluxes of CO2 in the Southern Ocean.

 

– Dr. Pedro M. Scheel Monteiro & SOCCO & SA-RobOTIC team, 01 March 2019 (posted 06 March 2019)

SANAE57 Team -currently on their way home (Video)

SANAE57, Overwintering, Antarctica

The SANAE57 (57th SANAE Overwintering) Team is currently onboard the S.A. Agulhas II, heading home after 14months on Antarctica. ALSA was privileged to catch up with the team during take-over (in January) at SANAE IV, the fourth South African National Antarctic Expedition Station.

SANAE57, Overwintering, Antarctica

Back (L-R): Elias Seabi, Lux Tanyana, Sabelo Biyela, Cobus van der Merwe, Hloni Rakoteli; (front) Stephanus Schoeman, Foster Mashele, Will Jelbert, John Skelete, Bo Orton. This photo is also now part of South Africa’s Antarctic Legacy – on the ALSA archive (click here).

Each member of SANAE57 was introduced in the team’s first newsletter. Read below Will Jelbert’s (team leader and doctor of the team) introduction at the start of the expedition and hear what he had to say after the expedition (in take-over). If you want to read more about this expedition member make sure you read the September Edition of this team’s newsletter.

Team Doctor, SANAE57, SANAEIV, Antarctica

Excerpt of SANAE57’s first team newsletter – December 2017 (Click here to view this newsletter)

 

Anché Louw, Antarctic Legacy of South Africa, 05 March 2019

Currently on the S.A. Agulhas II – Sea Ice Observations

Weddell Sea Expedition, Southern Ocean, Sea Ice, Sea Ice Observations

Sea Ice Observations currently conducted onboard the S.A. Agulhas II by Stellenbosch University and University of Cape Town.

As the S.A. Agulhas II is currently returning from the Weddell Sea Expedition and the SANAE IV take-over voyage (current position about S 61°12′ E 000°00′), scientist onboard the vessel are still hard at work…

Check out this video and learn more…

 

Click here to see who is onboard, returning form the Weddell Sea Expedition 2019.

Want to see more video’s? Go to Facebook (click here).

 

Anché Louw, Antarctic Legacy of South Africa, 01 March 2019

Antarctica 2018/2019 take-over video series – Meet the ECO

Environmental Conrol Officer, SANAP, South African Antarctic Programme, ECO, Antarctica, Marion Island

It was lovely meeting up with Mpho at SANAE. We’ve spent a take-over together on Marion Island in 2016, after her year on the island as the Environmental Control Officer (ECO) for M72 (2015-2016).

72nd Marion Overwintering Team. Mpho standing in the top row, 2nd from right. Click on the photo to view more detail of the team.

Upon return from her year on Marion Island, there was an opening for an ECO on the 2017/2018 Antarctica take-over. Mpho grabbed this opportunity on with both hands. She’s also been back to Marion Island in 2018, as the take-over ECO and since been employed by the Department of Environmental Affairs, based at the Pretoria office.

VIDEO#2: Meet this take-over’s ECO (Environmental Control Officer) – Mpho Mashau

See playlist on Facebook here: SEASON 1: Antarctica Take-Over 2018/2019 to introduce you to the overwintering team and the support staff of this take-over.

Anché Louw, Antarctic Legacy of South Africa, 27 February 2019

Marion Island January 2019 newsletter now available

Marion Island, Newsletter, The Wanderer, Overwintering Team

Greetings to the friends, families and followers of the M75 team!

Marion Island, Newsletter, The Wanderer, Overwintering Team

Greetings from our sub-antarctic paradise!

The first month of this new year has come and gone much too quickly. The decorations stayed up long after the festive season ended and the M75 team took as long as possible to wind down after all the fun. We had some pretty memorable parties and amazing feasts!

January was a proper summer month on Marion. We had a record number of pleasantly warm and windstill days which have been great for working in the field. The field assistants have been out and about, making the most of the sunny and not-so-windy days. The island is alive with courting albatross, hundreds of penguin chicks, young birds starting to take off, brand new fur seal pups, etc. Back at base, we have been kept entertained with movie nights, some birthdays and many braai’s.

We hope you enjoy The Wanderer (January 2019) and that all the stories and photos give you a better idea of the fantastic things we’ve been experiencing!

Kind regards,
the Wanderer Editing team

 

Click here to view all the Marion Island newsletters available on the Antarctic Legacy of South Africa Archive.

 

Authors: Elsa van Ginkel (Editor) and James Burns (Co-Editor), 75th Marion Island Overwintering Team, 27 February 2019 (received 21 February 2019)

Marion Islander taking 2nd place in Young Science Communicators Competition

Marike Louw, Marion Island, Science Communication, Young Science Communicators Competition

This competition, initiative of SAASTA (the South African Agency for Science and Technology Advancement), is a great way of encouraging young scientists in developing skills to communicate science to the broader public. Doing this in your mother tongue can be a difficult task as not all scientific words can be translated and this skill was also tested in this competition, as 2019 is the International Year of Indigenous Languages.

Marike Louw, Marion Island, Science Communication, Young Science Communicators Competition

Marike Louw (MSc, CIB DST-NRF Centre of Excellence for Invasion Biology, Stellenbosch University) is currently one of the botanical field assistants on the 75th Marion Island Overwintering team.

One of the SANAP overwintering personnel on Marion Island, Marike Louw, sees the need to communicate science and the setup of the scientific environment on Marion Island. Marike is one of the four female botanical field assistants on the island and her job (since April 2018 until May 2019) is to estimate percentage vegetation in 3x3m plots, which is scattered all over the island. This data is gathered for a SANAP project, i.e “Invasions in the changing sub-Antarctic“, run by Dr Michelle Greve of the University of Pretoria. This job entails a lot of hiking and hard work in challenging weather conditions, which she is totally up for. Read more about Marike and the other three botanists in the November issue The Wanderer, the Marion Island Newsletter (Click here).

The competition was divided into five categories; article, open, indigenous language, video and audio. Marike entered for three categories i.e. article, video and audio. She was awarded with 2nd place in two of the three categories (video and audio). Check out the video and you will truly be inspired by the enthusiasm and love for science that the Marion Island field assistants have. Marike is also very proud to be among a team of 24 overwinterers on Marion Island, where all 11 official South African languages are spoken (listen to the audio).

Video Category (English):

Title: Denizens of Marion Island | Theme: Science transforming Society

Intended platform: Online education platform

Audio Category:

Title: Rainbow Nation on a Sub-Antarctic Island  | Theme: Science transforming Society

Intended platform: Education South African podcast or a radio platform
for a broad science-interested audience

 

Read more about this competition here.

Anché Louw, Antarctic Legacy of South Africa, 26 February 2019

 

Meet the Meteorological observer on the S.A. Agulhas II

SAWS, South African Weather Service, SA Agulhas II, Souther Ocean, Weather

Click on the video video to meet Thapi. She is the meteorological observer of the South African Weather Service (SAWS), currently in the Southern Ocean on-board the S.A. Agulhas II.

Check out how she releases a weather balloon and what data is gained from this operation.

 

Anché Louw, Antarctic Legacy of South Africa, 20 February 2019

SANAP Project News: SOCCO

SOCCO, SANAP, Southern Ocean

SOCCO: Southern Ocean Carbon & Climate Observatory

SOCCO, SANAP, Southern OceanSOCCO. Glider, Southern Ocean

SANAP Project name: How storm characteristics in the Southern Ocean influence inter annual variability of CO2 fluxes

This summer SOCCO conducted the second SOSCEX-Storm glider-based experiment in the Southern Ocean as part of its 3 year science plan. We deployed two carbon wave gliders equipped with our SA-RobOTIC designed and built and pCO2 sensors, which have behaved flawlessly under the most dire conditions that the Southern Ocean could throw at them, which included weekly storms of 80-140km/h winds, waves of 10+m, snow storms and sea temperatures of -1 to 2°C.  During this 2 month period they have taken over 3000 pCO2, pH, temperature and salinity observations. It was a rigorous test for the pCO2 sensors, which have a design feature that is specifically made to cope with Southern Ocean storms. It can be submerged by a wave which will mean that it taken a bit of water through the air intake but when the detectors pick this up it uses it pressurized gas to expel the moisture and continues to provide high quality data.  This deployment was a significant achievement for our SA-RobOTIC engineering and an indication of how our expertise to operate in these conditions has matured and become globally recognized.  This deployment was important for two reasons, it allowed us to start to examine the role of storms in driving the carbon – climate feedback in the Southern Ocean and it is a preparation phase for the SCALE experiment that starts in July 2019.  The hypothesis, which is core to our NRF-SANAP and DST funding, that we are exploring is that climate-linked changes in storm characteristics will play an important role in the century scale carbon – climate feedbacks. Ocean robots and high precision sensors make this science possible.

We have however encountered a problem with the glider deployed at 54°S which is, that while it generated enough power during the peak of summer with nearly 24 hours of daylight, this is no longer the case in February with the sun setting for increasingly long periods – night is arriving in Antarctica.  Wave gliders use solar panels to power the sensors.  The second glider was deployed at 43°S where there is still plenty of sunlight.  In a normal year the gliders would have been picked up by the S.A. Agulhas II coming back from SANAE at about this time but this year the ship is coming back nearly 5 weeks later because it is chartered by a British team to find the Endurance, Shackleton’s ship.  As a matter of interest we are collaborating with some of our aeronautical engineering colleagues at CHPC (Centre for High Performance Computing) to develop an underwater power generator to enable us to make winter (no sunlight) deployments in July 2019.

For this reason we have made the decision to pilot both wave gliders home to Cape Town without the ship.  This will be a journey of 2500km for WG-052 and 1200km for WG-027.  We think this has the added advantage of reducing the risk of damage during retrieval by the ship, which has happened a few times due to the normally difficult conditions on retrieval.  So, wave glider 052 has now left its long term observation position at 54°S on the prime meridian and is heading home towards wave glider 027 which is at 43°S.  It is travelling at a speed of about 100km per day.  The sensors are all working and we will take advantage of this opportunity to conduct an experiment that needs 2 gliders while they are on the way home.  We expect them home in a month, mid-March and we will pick them up in Granger Bay in front of our SA-RobOTIC centre.

SOCCO, Southern Ocean, Gliders

Route of the WG052 and 027 gliders (2019)

The wave gliders were paired with a buoyancy glider each that are making observations down the water column to 1000m 4 – 5 times a day.  This pairing of wave gliders and buoyancy gliders is a SOCCO innovation under the SOSCEX series of experiments since 2013/14.  The two buoyancy gliders will remain on station waiting for ship retrieval in mid-March.

 

– Dr. Pedro M. Scheel Monteiro & SOCCO & SA-RobOTIC team, 18 February 2019

 

SOCCO on Social Media

http://socco.org.za/news/riding-the-waves-home/

Passing of Prof David Walton

This was indeed sad news for me to hear of the passing of Prof David Walton. He was an extremely productive scientist and very active in a number of Antarctic related matters. SCAR (Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research) acknowledged his contribution by awarding him the SCAR Medal. I’ve met David about 20 years ago and we would meet annually at Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meetings (ATCM) where he was initially the SCAR representative and later the Editor of the ATCM Annual report, working with a bunch of young rapporteurs.

When our government requested a review of SANAP in 2007, David led an international panel of experts to conduct the review. Click here for this full report. He and his team spent a few weeks in South Africa. A number of South Africans involved in SANAP, both scientists and administrators, have met him.

He was a very likeable person and despite all his achievements a humble person with a sharp sense of humour. The Antarctic and international science communities have lost a giant.

Henry Valentine, Technical Consultant, Department of Environmental Affairs, 15 February 2019

 

Photo Credit: www.internationalspaces.org

Current Search for Endurance Called Off

Antarctica, Weddell Sea Expedition, Weddell Sea, Larcen C, A68

Official Communication from the Weddell Sea Expedition 2019 on 14 February 2019

 

Following pioneering Antarctic scientific research, Expedition reaches wreck site, but deteriorating weather and ice conditions force searchers to abandon quest for now.

 

The Weddell Sea Expedition, which conducted a highly successful multi-disciplinary scientific research programme in Antarctica, has been forced to conclude its current search for Sir Ernest Shackleton’s iconic ship, Endurance, which was crushed by ice and sank in 1915. The Expedition’s remarkable journey has shed new light on the challenges Shackleton, his men and their wooden sailing ship faced over a century ago.

Earlier this week, the Expedition successfully reached the wreck site, as plotted 104 years ago by Frank Worsley, the Captain of Endurance. However, the historic expedition, the first to attempt to locate the Endurance, was hampered by the extreme weather conditions. The weather closed in and the sea ice conditions deteriorated, leading to the loss of AUV7, one of the state-of-the-art specialist submersible Autonomous Underwater Vehicles, which was being deployed to locate the wreck. Despite round the clock efforts to recover AUV7, and with the risk of the Expedition vessel, the South African polar research vessel, S.A Agulhas II, becoming trapped in the ice, the Expedition leaders decided to abandon the current search for Endurance.

AUV7 was on the final leg of its mission scope, nearing the end of its extensive under-ice operation, when it entered a section of sea under a vast ice floe and contact was lost with the S.A Agulhas II. AUV7 had conducted what is believed to be the longest and deepest dedicated under ice survey ever, lasting over 30 hours. It is not known whether AUV7 captured images of Endurance on the seabed before contact was lost.

The search for Endurance was part of a ground-breaking scientific research programme in the waters around the Larsen C Ice Shelf and the A-68 Iceberg. The international team of glaciologists, marine biologists and oceanographers involved in the Expedition have surveyed the seafloor and the rich and little-studied biological systems that lie beneath the ice infested sea. In addition, the Expedition has measured sea ice freeboard and snow depth in the Weddell Sea, which will help better understand Antarctic sea ice thickness and its implications for climate change and global ocean circulation.

The Expedition is funded by the Netherlands-based marine charity, The Flotilla Foundation.

Mensun Bound, Director of Exploration on the expedition, said:

“As a team we are clearly disappointed not to have been successful in our mission to find Endurance. Like Shackleton before us, who described the graveyard of Endurance as ‘the worst portion of the worst sea in the world’, our well laid plans were overcome by the rapidly moving ice, and what Shackleton called ‘the evil conditions of The Weddell Sea’.

“We are pleased to have brought the story of Shackleton and Endurance to new audiences, and to the next generation, who will be entrusted with the essential safeguarding of our polar regions, and our planet more broadly. We hope our adventure will have engaged young people about the pioneering spirit, courage and fortitude of those who sailed with Endurance to Antarctica. We pay tribute to the navigational skills of Frank Worsley, the Captain of the Endurance, whose detailed records were invaluable in our reaching the area where she was lost. I would like to thank The Flotilla Foundation for enabling this extraordinary expedition to take place, as well as Ocean Infinity for their technology and technicians, and the whole team of dedicated experts who have been involved in this important scientific and exploratory expedition.”

Oliver Plunkett, CEO of Ocean Infinity, said:

“Everyone at Ocean Infinity is deeply disappointed that at the eleventh hour, we were not able to produce the images of what is without doubt the most challenging shipwreck in the world to locate. We understood the risks of pushing the boundaries of what’s been done before with technology operating in the harshest environment on the planet. Our team worked tirelessly throughout and are rightly entitled to celebrate what they achieved in advancing knowledge and understanding. Not only were Ocean Infinity’s AUVs deployed in the search for Endurance, but also over the previous weeks, we have played a central role in gathering the critical data which will be used by scientists as part of their important work understanding the polar regions and the impact of climate change.

“These varied uses of our technological tools within a single project demonstrates the power of Ocean Infinity’s approach. Having participated in the world’s largest subsea searches in 2018, we have now spent more time operating under the ice than any other organisation. This pioneering spirit is at the heart of Ocean Infinity’s desire to be the world’s leading underwater autonomous robotic company.”

Professor Julian Dowdeswell, the Expedition Chief Scientist and Director of the Scott Polar Research Institute in Cambridge University, said:

“Through the scientific data gathered during the Expedition, we have deepened our knowledge and understanding of Antarctic oceanography and ecosystems, and our observations on the glaciology and geology will play a critical role in our understanding of Antarctic ice shelves and sea ice and, importantly, the changes that are occurring here today.

“The world-wide interest in Shackleton’s Endurance will also serve to convey the importance of the Expedition’s scientific and educational work. This is something we will be taking forward in our Museum at the Scott Polar Research Institute in Cambridge, where we already display the sextant used by Worsley to fix the final position of Endurance in 1915.”

Dr John Shears, polar geographer and Expedition Leader, said:

“The Weddell Sea Expedition team are truly disappointed that after such a huge effort, and overcoming several major setbacks, we have not been able to find Endurance. We are, however, very proud of our other achievements over the past weeks in Antarctica. We have greatly surpassed our primary Expedition objective of undertaking pioneering scientific research at the Larsen C Ice Shelf. We have also conducted an unprecedented educational outreach programme, allowing children from around the world to engage in real time with the Expedition and our adventures from the outset.

“We will shortly begin our return leg to Cape Town, after an expedition which has been my great privilege and honour to lead. The Expedition team, and the officers and crew of the S.A. Agulhas II, have been simply outstanding. I would also like to thank The Flotilla Foundation, and all of our partners who have all played a key role in supporting this incredible expedition.”

For further information / resources:

Photographs from the expedition are available for download at www.weddellseaexpedition.org

A video clip of Director of Exploration, Mensun Bound, speaking from S.A Agulhas II can be viewed at https://vimeo.com/317146403/dd8de74aa7

Background footage of the Expedition can be viewed at https://vimeo.com/317151349/b77f1f919a

The Expedition daily blog can be viewed at https://weddellseaexpedition.org/expedition-blog/

 

Celicourt Communications

Mark Antelme / Joanna Boon / Ollie Mills Tel: +44 (0) 207 520 9264

info@weddellseaexpedition.org

 

List of partners involved in The Weddell Sea Expedition 2019:

African Marine Solutions (AMSOL)

Atlantic Productions

Celicourt Communications

Constantia Consulting

Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA)

Deep Ocean Search Ltd

DP & Marine Assurance Norway AS

Eclipse Group Inc

Flotilla Foundation

KEA Projects Group (Pty)

Kongsberg Maritime

Nekton Foundation / University of Oxford

Nelson Mandela University

Netherlands Institute of Marine Research (NIOZ)

Ocean Infinity

Reach the World

Royal Geographical Society (RGS)

Scott Polar Research Institute, University of Cambridge

Shears Polar Ltd

The Explorers Club

The South African Environmental Observation Network (SAEON)

University of Canterbury, NZ

University of Cape Town

University of Stellenbosch

White Desert

 

Official Communication, Weddell Sea Expedition 2019, 14 February 2019

The S.A. Agulhas II visits King George Island

During the first week of February 2019 the S.A. Agulhas II, which is currently chartered for the Weddell Sea Expedition, made a stop at King George Island. This island is the largest of the South Shetland Islands. This stopover was necessitated by the need for extra mechanical and electronic parts for the ROV (remotely operated underwater vehicle) team involved in the search for the Endurance wreck after an implosion of the electronics housing during a test dive. The parts were to be flown in from Punta Arenas, Chile, to the airstrip on King George Island.

One of the views while entering Ardley Cove, King George Island.

The stopover provided an opportunity for the expedition members to stretch their legs on land—a unique opportunity for the South African contingent who never get to visit these parts on the usual SANAE relief voyages. The island hosts a large number of research bases operated by Chile, Peru, Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay, as well as China, Russia, South Korea and Poland. A tour of Base Prof. Julio Escudero was arranged with the Chileans where all the scientific and recreational station facilities were displayed. The team was also invited in for tea at the Russian Bellingshausen station while waiting for the zodiacs to return the expedition team to the S.A. Agulhas II. The favours were then returned to the Chilean and Russian teams and they were invited aboard the S.A. Agulhas II and toured through the vessel. A joint Chilean-Argentinian naval patrol’s officers were also invited aboard and treated to some finger snacks with the S.A. Agulhas II’s officers in one of the vessel’s lounges.

King George Island also holds the Antarctic Treaty Monument which commemorates the signatories of the Antarctic Treaty and displays a plaque commemorating South Africa’s involvement as one of the original signatories. The monument is listed and protected as an Antarctic Historic Site or Monument.

Unfortunately, weather conditions prevented the designated plane with supplies from landing while the expedition was waiting at King George Island. The aircraft took off three separate times and had to turn around each time. The expedition couldn’t afford to lose more time and had to leave for the Endurance wreck site without the spares.

The team S.A. Agulhas II reached the wreck site on 10 February 2019 (read more here). The fact that the ROV will not be used for any further exploration did not stop the team, as they built a new frame fixed with lights and a camera which can be ‘trawled’ above the seafloor.

More Photos

South Shetland Islands. Photo Credit: www.travelwild.com

Written by: Hermann Luyt, Oceanography, University of Cape Town, 14 February 2019

Photo Credit (all): Hermann Luyt

South African scientists on the Weddell Sea Expedition 2019

Antarctica, Weddell Sea, Weddell Sea Expedition, Science, Oceanography, University of Cape Town, Fawcett Lab

Meet Dr Sarah Fawcett

Antarctica, Antarcticlegacy, Weddell Sea

Dr Sarah Fawcett on the S.A. Agulhas II (CTD in the background). Photo Credit: Hermann Luyt

Dr Fawcett is a lecturer and researcher at the Department of Oceanography, University of Cape Town. She is a P-rated scientist (National Research Foundation Rating), who is the Principal Investigator of a South African National Antarctic Programme (SANAP) project titled “A nitrogen cycle view of atmospheric CO2 sequestration in the Antarctic Ocean“. She was also elected to the South African Young Academy of Science (SAYAS) towards the end of last year (Read more here).

We are very proud that Dr Fawcett is part of the scientific team on the Weddell Sea Expedition that is currently underway. She represents South Africa as part of the UCT/SAEON/NMU team. Other institutions involved in this expedition includes the Scott Polar Institute (Cambridge, UK), the Nekton Foundation (UK) and the University of Canterbury (New Zealand). Read more about the Weddell Sea Expedition here.

Watch this video (low quality as it came directly from the Weddell Sea) where Dr Fawcett tells us more about the physical oceanography sampling conducted during the scientific leg of the exhibition and the use of this specific type of sampling.

Also listen to Dr Fawcett on Cape Talk radio and read this for more information regarding the physical oceanography leg of this scientific exploration in the Weddell Sea.

Cover photo and video credit: Hermann Luyt

Anche Louw, Antarctic Legacy of South Africa, 07 February 2019

 

ALSA visits SANAE IV

ALSA had the opportunity to visit the SANAE IV (South African National Antarctic Expedition) Station in the first two weeks of January.

We are very excited to get the new material on the SANAP website!

Do you want to know more about this? Visit the Antarctic Legacy of South Africa website (click here).

We have such a long list of people to introduce and thank – we will start doing this very soon.

 

Ria Olivier and Anche Louw, Antarctic Legacy of South Africa, 05 February 2019

Marion Island December newsletter now available

Marion Island, Newsletters, sub-Antarctic, Overwintering Team

Greetings to the friends, families and followers of the M75 team!

Marion Island, Newsletters, sub-Antarctic, Overwintering Team

The last month of 2018 was a memorable one! Starting the festivities early in the month with decorations, the excitement built up steadily to Christmas day and we had an amazing time! Movie marathons, fun teamwork in the kitchen, potjies, presents, a secret santa and more made for a jolly season indeed. Unfortunately no snow on Christmas but we enjoyed some great sunny and calm days instead, summer finally arrived!

The team hasn’t stopped working and, between all the celebrations, fieldworkers have been out and about with lots to be done as the breeding season continues. Everything is still running smoothly at base although there is a definite mindset shift in the team as takeover approaches.

We apologise for the delayed distribution but we hope you all enjoy our latest edition of the Wanderer (December 2018)! We wish everyone the best for the upcoming year and thank you once again for supporting us from afar!

Kind regards,
the Wanderer Editing team

Click here to view all the Marion Island newsletters available on the Antarctic Legacy of South Africa Archive.

Author: James Burns, 75th Marion Island Overwintering Team (Meteorological Observer), 05 February 2019 (received 12 January 2019)

Meet the South Africans on the Weddell Sea Expedition, Antarctica

Antarctica, Weddell Sea Expedition, Weddell Sea, Larcen C, A68

The international Weddell Sea Expedition to one of the most remote regions of Antarctica has entered its fifth week. The expedition reached the Larsen C Ice Shelf on 10 January 2019 and commenced sampling of the ocean (video coming soon), surrounding ice floes, bathymetry and seafloor sediment to better understand one of the least explored ocean regions of the world.

The expedition chartered the S.A. Agulhas II and over and above the all South African crew, a large contingent of South African scientists is also onboard. The scientists include Dr Sarah Fawcett (Chemical Oceanography – University of Cape Town) and UCT students Raquel Flynn, Jessica Burger, Riesna Audh, Shantelle Smith, Kurt Spence and Hermann Luyt; Dr Katherine Hutchinson (Physical Oceanography – University of Cape Town); Prof Tommy Bornman (Biological Oceanography – South African Environmental Observation Network and Nelson Mandela University); Prof Annie Bekker (Mechanical and Mechatronic Engineering – University of Stellenbosch) and her students James-John Matthee and Christof van Zijl; Tahlia Henry (Scientific operations – Nelson Mandela University/University of Cape Town); Thapi Makgabutlane (South African Weather Services) and Dr Colin de La Harpe (on behalf of the CSIR).

South Africans on the Weddell Sea Expedition posing on the helideck of the S.A. Agulhas II with the trillion tonne Iceberg A68 in the background (photo by Holly Ewart)

Stay in touch for more on this expedition team – who will only return to Cape Town middle of March 2019.

Written by: Prof Tommy Bornman, Biological Oceanography – South African Environmental Observation Network and Nelson Mandela University, 30 January 2019

Thanks to Tahlia Henry, Prof Tommy Bornman, Hermann Luyt and Dr Sarah Fawcett for coming in contact with Antarctic Legacy of South Africa.

Also visit – www.weddellseaexpedition.org | For more information also read this article.

VIDEO: SANAE58/Weddell Sea Expedition currently underway

S.A. Agulhas II, Captain Bengu

Earlier this year Prof Annie Bekker of the Department of Mechanical and Mechatronic Engineering, also director of the Sound and Vibration Research Group, organised and hosted the S.A. Agulhas II mini-seminar. This seminar covered the full scale measurement capabilities of the S.A Agulhas II and the measurements to be taken this Antarctic season.

Captain Knowledge Bengu, who will be the Captain of the S.A. Agulhas II for the 2018/2019 Antarctic Expedition, attended this seminar. This gave him some insight of what is planned by the scientists for the season and how to prepare for the SANAE58/Weddell Sea Expedition and all the operations involved.

South Africa’s ice breaking vessel, the S.A. Agulhas II, is currently on her way to Antarctica on a 96 day cruise (almost a month longer than usually) – what does the captain say about this? Anche Louw of the Antarctic Legacy of South Africa interviewed Captain Knowledge Bengu – see interview below.

The first stop for the S.A. Agulhas II is Penguin Bukta. Here the SANAE58 team, cargo and other research personnel will be offloaded and then transported to SANAE IV.
The ship will then depart to the Weddell Sea (after fuel pumping) for the 45 day Weddell Sea Expedition 2019, on search for The Endurance and also if possible scientific exploration.

For more information about the Weddell Sea Expedition – click here.

Anche Louw, Antarctic Legacy of South Africa, 18 December 2018

DEA Employee Graduates with another BTech

Every year students within the South African National Antarctic Programme graduates (click here), but this year it is not only students within the programme who graduated with a new degree.

Errol Julies, Engineering Technician at the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) with a BTech (baccalaureus technologiae) Electrical Engineering background, graduated last week with a BTech in Project Management. Congratulations Errol!

Errol Julies graduated with another B.Tech degree at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology.

 

Errol’s main duty within the South African National Antarctic Programme is ensuring a stable communication network to the various South African Antarctic and sub-Antarctic research stations (Marion Island, Gough Island and SANAE IV). This is a great responsibility.

 

Errol wants to further his education as he feels that: “the fact that SANAP produces world-class researchers and scientific articles, we need to path the way and create a solid foundation for future scientists”. He also mentions that: “the only way to ensure rock solid foundations is, for those involved in the management of the programme, to always be knowledgeable of new development”.

ALSA also received a special message from Gough Island to Errol:

G64 just want to say congratulations to Errol and a special thank you for coordinating that our parcels from home made it onto the ship that visits Gough Island – message came via Michelle Risi (RSPB Birder, G64).

 

Anche Louw, Antarctic Legacy of South Africa, 17 December 2018

Marion Island November newsletter now available

M75, Marion Island, Newsletters

Greetings to the friends, families and followers of the M75 team!

M75, Marion Island, Newsletters

November has swept by in a whirlwind of activity! The elephant seal breeding season has come to an end with a record number of new born pups but there has been no time to rest for the sealers as the fur seal population begins to boom. The birders have been busy non-stop with penguins, albatross and petrels all incubating eggs or raising chicks. The botanists have been traversing the landscape in search of the often elusive vegetation and there are even a few flowers brightening up the landscape as you’ll soon read.

Back at base, things are running smoothly and we are all getting into the festive spirit as Christmas approaches. Colourful decorations and even a couple of Christmas trees have considerably livened up some of our more frequented living areas. The weather, although windy as ever, has definitely been warmer on average and more sunny which has provided great opportunities to be out in the field for work or play.

We have tried to capture some of the highlights in this month’s edition of the Wanderer (November 2018) and hope you all enjoy reading the stories and checking out the photos of this amazing place and it’s amazing inhabitants!

Kind regards,
the Wanderer Editing team

Click here to view all the Marion Island newsletters available on the Antarctic Legacy of South Africa Archive.

Author: James Burns, 75th Marion Island Overwintering Team (Meteorological Observer), 10 December 2018

Antarctica Season Launch 2018

The first three days of the South African Antarctica Season Launch consisted of Exhibitions by the Department of Environmental Affairs, Antarctic Legacy of South Africa (ALSA), The South African Environmental Observation Network (SAEON), The Port of Cape Town (Transnet Port Terminals), African Marine Solutions (AMSOL), the South African National Space Agency (SANSA), Meihuizen International Logistics and the Two Oceans Aquarium.

Invited schools had the opportunity to visit this exhibition. This gave students the opportunity to understand more about South Africa’s involvement in Antarctic Research, how we get to the Antarctic (onboard the RV S.A. Agulhas II) and the large number of careers involved in the South African National Antarctic Programme.

As from today the SA-Norwegian Polar Seminar 2018 will be held at the TNPA Building, Port of Cape Town – see the program below.

Day 4, Thursday 06 December 2018

Theme - Heritage Presentations : Chair J. Beaumont 09:00 – 13:00
1. SA Antarctic Legacy left by Humans Presentation - R Olivier( 10min)
2. Human Spirit Achmat Hassiem - H Valentine (10min)
3. Amundsen’s expeditions, about everything but the South Pole - Susan Barr (45min)
4. Exploits of Sibusiso Vilana - M Matutu (10min)
5. Ocean and Antarctica conservation Lewis Pugh -M. Mayekiso (10min)
6. The Norwegian cultural heritage in Antarctica - Susan Barr (45min)
7. History of Dronning Maud Land History - Olav Orheim (45min)
LUNCH
Theme – Research Exchange : Chair Aaidoo – Floor 2 (Seminar)
1. Presentation - A. Makhado
Top predator at the Prince Edward Islands and southern ocean- implication to their trophic position (30min)
2. Presentation – S. Somhlaba (30min)
3. Progress in the fisheries research in Subarea 48.6 (30min)
4. Presentation – T Makhalanyane (30min)
5. Presentation – T Mtshali (CSIR) (30min)
6. Nansen-Tutu (Local Director)
S.A. AGULHAS II Departure at East Pier, Port of Cape Town 16:00 – 17:00

Day 5, Friday 07 December 2018

Theme – Polar Gateways - Chair A. Miya/ C. Birkenstock (TNPA)10:00 – 13:00
Gateway Centers
1. Cape Town Antarctic Gateway Center - M Matutu (30min)
2. Polaris Climate Change Observatory-M’ de Wooters (20min)
3. Arctic Gateway Aspects - Olav Orheim (45min)
4. SA Antarctic Heritage as a gateway to Antarctica - ALSA (10min)
5. MRCC – Jared Blows (10min)
6. ARCC – S. White (10min)
7. Antarctica and Flying - White Desert (10min)
8. Antarctica and shipping – P. Meihuizen (10min)
LUNCH13:00 - 14:00

SANAE58 Team member Birthday – Mpati Boleme

Mpati is currently employed within the South African National Antarctic Programme and today she can celebrate her birthday with friends and family at home. Her next birthday will be on the Antarctic Continent, as she is part of the 58th SANAE Overwintering team departing on 06 December 2018 and returning mid-February 2020.

On behalf of ALSA and all involved in SANAP – Happy Birthday Mpati.

Click here.

Anche Louw, Antarctic Legacy of South Africa, Stellenbosch University, 01 December 2018.

Environmental Affairs to launch first South African Antarctica Season Week

29 November 2018

The Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) in partnership with the Transnet National Port Authority (TNPA), will be launching the first ever South African Antarctica Season Week on 03 December 2018 at the Cruise Terminal in the Port of Cape Town.

Antarctica Week will take place from 03 to 07 December 2018, and the activities will include exhibitions to the guests, schools and the public; science discussions; heritage presentations; stakeholder engagements; etc.

The DEA has identified TNPA, Port of Cape Town as the location of a new Antarctic Centre, which will be built to enhance the country’s role as an Antarctic Gateway. The centre will support the promotion of the Antarctic continent and its various economic opportunities for South Africa.

The centre, which fits within the department’s Antarctic Strategy, will be announced at the launch which will also mark the departure of the SA Agulhas II for its annual Antarctic relief voyage and the start of the annual Norwegian-South Africa seminar and exhibition, ending 7 December 2018.

Members of the media are invited to attend as follows:

Date: Monday, 3 December 2018
Venue: Cruise Terminal, Port of Cape Town
Time: 10:00-12:00

  • To facilitate ease of passage at the Port, kindly RSVP with your ID number to Gaopalelwe Moroane (gmoroane@environment.gov.za) by end of business, 30 November 2018.
  • For RSVPs and scheduling of interviews please contact Gaopalelwe Moroane on 0825121094 / GMoroane@environment.gov.za / 063 6979001

For media queries please contact:

Zolile Nqayi
Cell: 082 898 6483
E-mail: znqayi@environment.gov.za

58th SANAE team departing next week

SA Agulhas II, SANAE58

The 58th South African National Antarctic Expedition (SANAE) team is almost done with 3 weeks of training. As from tomorrow this team will be prepared for their 14 month expedition to South Africa’s Antarctic base, SANAE IV.

They will depart today in a week’s time, 06 December 2018, and return around middle February 2020.

Watch this video to learn more about Antarctica, South Africa’s involvement in the Antarctic Continent and South Africa’s research vessel (S.A. Agulhas II) built by STX Finland.

 

Anche Louw, Antarctic Legacy of South Africa, 29 November 2018.

Happy birthday to SANAE58 team member – Sanele Mkhize

Sanele Mkhize is one of the Diesel Mechanics on the 58th SANAE Overwintering team. Today he can spend his birthday in Cape Town, while still bust with team training. His next birthday will be celebrated with his small team on the Antarctic continent.

On behalf of ALSA and all involved in the South African National Antarctic Programme, we would like to wish you a Happy Birthday.

Click here…

Anche Louw, Antarctic Legacy of South Africa, 26 November 2018.

Blog post initiative by Gough64

The Gough64 team members decided to take turns in writing blog posts, to update family and friends back home.

The first post was written by Cathy Mbazwana, Medic of Gough64.

This blog entry is about team member, Christopher Jones’s birthday party (Click here to read the blog). She also added the sea temperature and climate data for September and October 2018 to this blog post. It is great to hear that your team takes pride in planning and attending each other’s birthday parties. Your team dynamics definitely show positive signs for the year ahead.

Thanks for this great initiative Gough64.

Gough Island 64

We do still hope that the team decides to compile a newsletter in the coming months, but we are excited about this blog initiative and the stories your team will deliver.

Author: Anche Louw, Antarctic Legacy of South Africa, 20 November 2018

Marion Island October newsletter now available

Greetings to all from our little island down south

We have had a great month here on Marion! October has been very productive for the field assistants and the huts have been experiencing a steady stream of visitors and some have been housing long term residents where there is lots to do nearby. Back at base all is running smoothly and we are all kept warm and well fed!

We hope you enjoy this edition of the Wanderer (October 2018) and that it gives you all a taste of our fantastic experience here!

Please click here to view all M75’s newsletters written so far.

 

Author: James Burns, 75th Marion Island Overwintering Team (Meteorological Observer), 19 November 2018

Meet the SANAE58 team

SANAE58, Overwinter Team, Overwintering Team, Antarctica

The 58th South African National Antarctic Expedition (SANAE) team training has kicked off yesterday, 12 November, onboard the S.A. Agulhas II.

Meet S58, our SANAP ambassadors who will spend just more than a year on the ice:

SANAE58

The first day of team training included a number of informational sessions. In between these sessions Antarctic Legacy of South Africa (ALSA) also had the opportunity to share the history of South Africa’s involvement in the Antarctic region with the new SANAE overwintering team (S58). This puts emphasis on the team’s responsibilities as South African Antarctic Ambassadors for the coming year. The team was also briefed about the importance of their photos, videos, narratives etc. which needs to be archived by the Antarctic Legacy of South Africa for future generations.

 

Anche Louw (ALSA) talking about the team’s responsibility towards the ALSA archive and the SANAP website.

Ria Olivier (ALSA) introducing the team to South Africa’s Antarctic Legacy.

Floid Chauke, DEA Deputy Director (Health and Safety), addressing the new SANAE team. Topics: SANAP Adventure Policy, fire emergency plan, search and rescue type of operations and cold weather training.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Further team training will include:

  • Cold Weather Training
  • Rope Work and Rescue Techniques
  • Fire Fighting
  • First Aid
  • Cooking
  • Team Development activities
  • Dental Examination
  • Clothing Fitment and issuing
  • Occupational Health and Safety Talks
  • Environmental Talks
  • Pre-departure arrangements
  • Protective Clothing
  • Warehouse Procedures & packing of containers
  • Asset Management
  • Tasks & Projects
  • Responsibilities
  • A. Agulhas II – voyage to Antarctica
  • Logistics and voyage information
  • Stock take and Orders, Food Management
  • Monthly and annual reports, Newsletter
  • Team Leader & Management
  • Employee Health and Wellness & Labour Relations Talk

Team training will be until the 30th of November, which will give the team a few days with family and friend before they depart to Antarctica on 6 December.

Click here to view the S.A Agulhas II Voyage Schedule.

Featured Image: L-R (Back): Anche Louw (ALSA), Mpati Boleme (SANSA VLF Engineer), Jufter Munyai (DEA Electrical Engineer), Marvin Rankuda (Senior Meteorological Technician), Bongisipho Kuali (DEA Mechanical Engineer), Ria Olivier (ALSA), Sanele Mkhize (DEA Diesel Mechanic); (Front) Travis Duck (SANSA Radar Engineer), Ewald Ferreira (Communications Engineer), Jacques Robbertze (DEA Diesel Mechanic).

 

Anché Louw, Antarctic Legacy of South Africa, 13 November 2018

Welcome home Gough 63

L-R (back): Zach Mogale (Meteorology Technician), Malesedi Ramotando (Meteorology Technician), Jaimie Cleeland (RSPB field assistant), Thabo Maroga (Electrician), Fabrice Le Bouard (Senior RSPB field assistant), Vukile Madlebetsha (Diesel Mechanic), Kate Lawrence (RSPB field assistant); (front) Tom Mc Sherry (Medic), Santjie Du Toit (Senior Meteorology Technician, Team Leader) and Peter Chuku (Communications Engineer, Deputy Team Leader).

The team that departed last year September has arrived in Cape Town on the 13th of October 2018.

This team had a successful year on Gough Island with no serious issues and injuries. They disembarked the ship with high spirits and some even talking about returning to the island in the near future.

With the initiative of mainly two team members, Kate Lawrence and Jaimie Cleeland, the team compiled a book with all their favourite recipes used to fill their tummies during their time on the island (Click here to read more about this initiative).

We welcome the team back and we wish them well. We do hope to see you back in the near future.

Follow ALSA on social media to stay up to date with current happenings within SANAP:

Anché Louw, Antarctic Legacy of South Africa, Department of Botany and Zoology, Stellenbosch University, 15 October 2018

Marion Island September Newsletter now available

The current Marion Island overwintering team (M75) wrote monthly newsletters since May 2018, when they were left behind on the island after the departure of the take-over crew and previous overwintering team.

These newsletters are not just a great way for family and friends to stay connected with team members, but also a way for people that have never been to the island to learn more about the ins and outs thereof.

Also, for those that have been to the island, especially previous overwintering team members like myself, one can browse through these newsletters and have a chance to reminisce about the past.

In the July issue the team started a ‘Round Island for the readers’ series, where different huts will be visited in every Wanderer issue. In this month’s issue the hut visited is on the western side of the island, which is an ultimate favourite for myself and many other islanders – Mixed Pickle. Read all about the Mixed Pickle hut in the September issue (click here).

Map of Marion Island indicating one of many round island routes and also 8 of the 9 (current) field huts and one of the old huts (Long Ridge hut). The ‘Round island for the readers’ will be conducted anti-clockwise. Please note that names of some peaks have changed over the past few years. (Click here to view the map on the ALSA Archive)

Click here to view all the newsletters published by M75 so far.

 

Author: Anche Louw (Antarctic Legacy of South Africa), 11 October 2018

Weddell Sea Expedition planning meeting

The Weddell Sea Expedition planning meeting is currently underway (9 & 10 October) at the Scott Polar Institute, Cambridge, UK.
South Africa should be extremely proud that our polar vessel, the S.A. Agulhas II, will be used for this voyage. A major part of this expedition will involve the search for Shackleton’s lost ship, the Endurance, which sank in the Weddell Sea in 1915. For more information on the Weddell Sea Expedition, click here.

L-R: Tommy Bornman, Sarah Fawcett, Terence Padayachee, Freddie Lighthelm and Annie Bekker (front). Photo credit: Annie Bekker

Author: Anche Louw (Antarctic Legacy of South Africa), 10 October 2018

Need to plan ahead? Here is the S.A. Agulhas II Schedule

SA Agulhas II

Click here to view the preliminary schedules for the S.A. Agulhas II, now until 2021.

Please note that all departure times from Cape Town will be 14:00 (logistics Voyages only).

All schedules are subject to change.

Enquiries to be directed to N. Devanunthan –  021 4059482

 

Author: Anche Louw (Antarctic Legacy of South Africa), 08 October 2018

The 63rd Gough Island team on their way home

63rd Gough Island Overwintering team ready to leave the island. Photo received from: Michelle Risi

The S.A. Agulhas II has departed from Gough Island, yesterday afternoon.

The 64th Gough Island overwintering team will now do the honours of taking care of the South African weather station and the collection of various field and meteorological data.

We would like to wish the team a successful year on the island. May you prosper and achieve all the goals set for you during this take-over.

The S.A. Agulhas II is currently on her way to Tristan da Cunha, where a 48 hour stop-over will made to back-load cargo and passengers. The expected time of departure (ETD) at Tristan da Cunha is 06 October 2018 and the expected time of arrival (ETA) in Cape Town is 11 October 2018.

The 64th Gough Island Overwintering team excited to take over the responsibilities of managing and maintaining the Gough Base for the next 13 months. Photo credit: Michelle Risi

Author: Anche Louw (Antarctic Legacy of South Africa), 02 October 2018

Have you read the latest SANAE Newsletters?

All available team newsletters now linked on the SANAP Website!

The 57th SANAE Overwintering team has already produced eight newsletters since their arrival at South Africa’s Antarctic research station (SANAE IV), last year December.

What you can expect from this team’s newsletters:

  • The team’s preparation before their year on the ice? (December 2017 Issue).
  • Meet the whole team and get to know the different team members in each newsletter.
  • Learn more about the research conducted at SANAE IV.
    • What exactly does North West University’s (NWU) Centre for Space Research (CSR) look at in Antarctica? (July 2018 Issue).
  • Weather measurements for some months.
  • Team sponsors are also mentioned at the back of each newsletter – on behalf of the team, thank you to all the sponsors. We truly hope that you will build a relationship with our overwinterers and support them annually.

For loads more interesting topics discussed by SANAE57 (Click here).

To see newsletters from previous SANAE teams as well as current and previous Marion Island and Gough Island Overwintering teams (Click here).

Author: Anche Louw (Antarctic Legacy of South Africa), 10 September 2018

 

 

 

 

Gough 64 departing tomorrow, 6 September 2018

Gough Island 64
Gough64 Team, Team Buff and Team Logo

64th Gough Island Overwintering Team

NamePosition
Xolani NyawoCommunications Engineer - Team Leader
Michelle Risi Birder - Deputy Team Leader
Alexis Osborne Birder
Catherine Mokotji MbazwanaMedic
Christopher JonesBirder
Kabelo MoabiMeteorologist
Karabo Mokwena Meteorologist
Michael NgengangimbiMeteorologist
Innocent MthetwaDiesel Mechanic
Patrick Hlongwane Electrician
Click here to meet the team.
Gough64 Team Training

Photo Credit: Michelle Risi (Gough64 Birder).

Author: Anche Louw (Antarctic Legacy of South Africa), 05 September 2018

Happy Women’s Month

May you be inspired by the women within South Africa’s Antarctic Programme.

All the women that attended the 5th South African National Antarctic Programme (SANAP) Symposium, earlier this month in Hermanus.

Women sitting here have been dreaming about a career in science and science related positions within the South African National Antarctic Programme.  These are all ordinary women, but due to ambition and extremely hard work they are, or are becoming the best in their fields of research.

There is an increasing trend with regards to female Principal Investigators (PI’s) within South Africa’s Antarctic Programme (See Figure below). Of the 29 DST-NRF funded research projects within SANAP (for the period of 2018 to 2020), the Principal Investigator for 13 of these are women.

Women are represented in all four research themes within SANAP (Themes: Earth Systems, Living Systems, Human Enterprise and Innovation: Southern Ocean and Antarctic technology and engineering). Read more about these themes in South Africa’s Antarctic and Southern Ocean Research Plan for 2014 to 2024 (Click here).

Who is the Principal Investigator (PI)

“A Principal Investigator is the primary individual responsible for the preparation, conduct, and administration of a research grant in compliance with applicable laws and regulations and institutional policy governing the conduct of sponsored research.” (www.umass.edu)

Women are represented in all four research themes within SANAP (Themes: Earth Systems, Living Systems, Human Enterprise and Innovation: Southern Ocean and Antarctic technology and engineering). Read more about these themes in South Africa’s Antarctic and Southern Ocean Research Plan for 2014 to 2024 (Click here).

To all the women who:

  • are or have been principal investigators of research projects within SANAP;
  • obtained an Honours, Master’s, PhD or Post-Doc through South Africa’s Antarctic programme (SANAP);
  • still study to become a scientist through SANAP;
  • worked on research vessels, studying towards a scientific degree;
  • overwintered on Marion Island, Gough Island or SANAE (Antarctica);
  • spent a take-over on Marion Island, Gough Island or SANAE (Antarctica);
  • started their careers within South Africa’s Antarctic programme;
  • work behind the scenes of the Antarctic Programme (DST, NRF and DEA);
  • feel SANAP meant the world to them by being the stepping stone for their futures,

…may you keep inspiring women to become what they want to be!

Only a few of the ladies who are or were involved in SANAP.

Inspiring female SANAP Scientist: Prof Isabelle Ansorge (UCT, Department of Oceanography) – read her inspiring story here!

Prof Isabelle Ansorge, as a young researchers, on the Marion cruise onboard the S.A. Agulhas I in 2003.

 

Author: Anché Louw (Antarctic Legacy of South Africa), 28 August 2018

Southern Ocean Region Panel (SORP) seeks AFRICAN members

SCAR NEWS

SCAR NEWSThe CLIVAR/CliC/SCAR Southern Ocean Region Panel (SORP) seeks nominations for four new members (self-nominations are welcome).

The panel is in particular need of nominees possessing expertise in:

  • global climate/Earth-system modelling;
  • open ocean measurements;
  • sea ice remote sensing;
  • sea-going chemical oceanography;

The inclusion of representation from across the nations and regions that participate in Southern Ocean climate science is a priority. At least one new member from Africa and from Asia are needed for this round of nominations.

SORP’s terms of reference are given here: http://www.clivar.org/clivar-panels/southern

Nominations (including self-nominations) are through this link: http://www.clivar.org/news/open-call-new-clivar-members-1

The panel has in-person meetings every 18 months or so, the next one is due in 2020. SORP has video conferences about every 3-4 months, and members do a lot of their work by email.

Current activities include contributing to OceanObs19 papers, as well as regular reporting to CLIVAR, CliC and SCAR on ocean and climate research for the Southern Ocean.

The process of nominations is that they are collated by CLIVAR and then passed to the co-chairs to short-list. CLIVAR, CliC, and SCAR then make the final decisions on the members, taking into account balance issues such as geographic location, gender, and range of disciplinary expertise.

For more information about panel activities and the expectations for panel members, please contact one of the panel co-chairs, Inga Smith (inga.smith@otago.ac.nz) and Riccardo Farneti (rfarneti@ictp.it).

For more information, please visit the SORP website.

 

Source: [scar-news] Call for nominations to Southern Ocean Region Panel, 23 August 2018.

64th Gough Overwintering Team – Training

Team training for the 64th Gough Island Overwintering Team commenced on the 13th of August and today the Antarctic Legacy of South Africa (ALSA) joined the training.

During this session the team received historical background (in the form of a timeline) on South Africa’s involvement in the Antarctic (SANAE base), sub-Antarctic (Marion base), but most importantly Gough Island – where this team will depart to in 3 weeks’ time.

This team will now become part of South Africa’s Antarctic Legacy and we wish them all the best for their journey on the island.

Click here to download the Gough64 team training schedule.

Meet the 64th Gough Island Overwintering team:

Author: Anché Louw (Antarctic Legacy of South Africa), 20 August 2018

First Day of the 5th SANAP Symposium

The 5th biennial SANAP Symposium is organised by the Cape Penisula University (Kenneth Findlay) and South African National Space Agency (Michael Kosch). The symposium is held in Hermanus this year from tomorrow, 13 Augustus, until Thursday.

During this week, 134 delegates will be attending the symposium. The symposium will provide delegates the opportunity to present their research within the Southern Ocean, Antarctic and sub-Antarctic regions.

A public lecture on ‘South Africa’s legacy within the Antarctic region’ will be presented tomorrow at 19:00, in the Hermanus Municipal Auditorium (click here for more information on this event).

First day’s Programme:

For the full programme and abstracts – click here.

For a shortened version of the programme – click here.

 

Author: Anché Louw (Antarctic Legacy of South Africa), 12 August 2018.

SANAP Scientists creates visibility

Sub-Antarctic Landscape Climate Interactions

Sub-Antarctic Landscape-Climate Interactions group

SANAPLCI in Altai Mountains

Professor Werner Nel, Professor David W. Hedding, Liezl Rudolph and Sibusiso Sinuka are currently in Siberia’s Altai Mountains.

They are learning more about the “Natural and human environment of Arctic and Alpine areas: relief, soils, permafrost, glaciers, biota and life style of native ethnic groups in a rapidly changing climate” at the Aktru Summer School and all four of them also had the chance to present their research and do some fieldwork.

The representatives of countries that are attending the summer school had the opportunity to plant a distance board in the mountains and we are proud to see South Africa’s name held high (see photos).

For more information about this summer school – click here.

Article Cover photo: Sibusiso Sinuka, Professor Werner Nel, Professor David W. Hedding, Liezl Rudolph (Marion Island 2017 take-over).

Author: Anché Louw (Antarctic Legacy of South Africa), 20 July 2018.

Do you have a poster at the SANAP Symposium?

The 5th Biannual South African National Antarctic Programme (SANAP) Symposium will be held from 13 – 16 August 2018, in Hermanus (read more here).

This year there will be a large number of 20 minute oral and digital poster presentations (in a 4 minute speed talk oral format). If you are wondering how to structure your scientific poster for this symposium, make sure to take some tips from the two South African early career scientists awarded with the 1st and 2nd prize for the Association of Polar Early Career Scientists (APECS) Poster Awards (Sector: Africa and Middle) at POLAR2018 (SCAR/IASC Open Science Conference 2018).

Winner: Luca Stirnimann, University of Cape Town, Poster Title: “The Island Mass Effect (IME) on carbon cycling in the plankton ecosystem around the Prince Edward Islands archipelago”.

Runner-up: Daniela Monsanto, University of Johannesburg, Poster Title: “Genetic patterns at fine spatial scales: complex findings in a complex landscape”.

More about Luca:

Luca is a PhD student at the University of Cape Town who will use the samples collected on the Antarctic Circumnavigation Expedition (ACE) cruise to investigate zooplankton and phytoplankton dynamics in the Southern Ocean in the context of nutrient cycling and primary production. He will compare ecosystem dynamics in the vicinity of Subantarctic island systems with the open Southern Ocean. Luca graduated summa cum laude in Marine Sciences from the University of Genova – Italy and then spent one year at the Plymouth University – UK pursuing an internship and participating in scientific cruises and volunteer schemes. He is passionate about marine life and thinks plankton are important for healthy marine ecosystems and as an indicator of global environmental change.

The goal of Luca’s PhD is to investigate zooplankton and phytoplankton dynamics in the Southern Ocean, in the context of nutrient cycling and primary production, in the vicinity of Subantarctic island systems and in the open Southern Ocean (including within ocean mesoscale features such as eddies). Expected outcomes of this work include a fundamental understanding of the role of zooplankton in the Southern Ocean nitrogen and carbon cycles, as well as information on the functioning of food webs in response to environmental drivers such as changing nutrients concentrations. The major motivation for this work is a better understanding of Antarctic fertility and planktonic system dynamics and their response to the environmental drivers such as changes in nutrient dynamics. Luca’s results will be of value for developing and improving models of plankton and nutrients dynamics, which will ultimately be important for marine policy development, environmental management, particularly for the Prince Edward Islands, a South African Marine Protected Area (MPA), and for a well-developed ocean economy in the context of the Antarctic fisheries.

Luca’s project falls under the current SANAP Project: “A nitrogen cycle view of atmospheric CO2 sequestration in the Antarctic Ocean” (Principal Investigator: Dr SE Fawcett, University of Cape Town).

More about Daniela:

Daniela Monsanto is a young, vibrant researcher working in the Centre for Ecological Genomics and Wildlife Conservation at the University of Johannesburg. She completed her undergraduate and BSc (Hons) studies at UJ, majoring in Zoology and Biochemistry, and when not working on her MSc, is a passionate soccer player (provincial level).

Daniela has been involved in research on sub-Antarctic Marion Island for the past 3 years (her Honours project introduced her to the Southern Ocean jewels). She has a strong passion for her study area, and understanding how the changing climate impacts sub-Antarctic islands and the species inhabiting them. To this end, her Masters project aims to understand how individuals perceive their specific habitat matrix and how this matrix, and changes within it, might affect local movement (in essence, a landscape ecology/genetic approach). Her study organism is Cryptopygus antarcticus travei, a springtail endemic to the Prince Edward Islands. Her results uncovered complex genetic patterns at the scale of tens to hundreds of meters, with genetic discontinuities between sites separated by less than 20 meters. These complex spatial patterns are potentially driven by microhabitat preferences and/or local adaptations to a heterogeneous landscape across Marion Island. Daniela is taking her research a step further and is in the process of annotating the full genome of C. a. travei; once done, she will be able to identify regions that may be linked to adaptive genes/traits, and use this information to better understand genomic adaptations across different environmental gradients.

Daniela’s project falls under the current SANAP Project: “Biocomplexity: Understanding biological patterns in space and time” (Principal Investigator: Prof B van Vuuren, University of Johannesburg).

 

Authors: Anché Louw (Antarctic Legacy of South Africa), Luca Stirnimann (University of Cape Town) and Daniela Monsanto (University of Johannesburg), 10 July 2018.

Are you the next South African SCAR Fellow?

Application deadline for the 2018 SCAR Fellowships extended until 25 July 2018.

Are you an emerging researcher? Then this is for you.

“The SCAR Fellowship Programme is for PhD students, or those within five years of having completed a PhD, to undertake research at major international laboratories, field facilities, and/or institutes in or operated by SCAR member countries with the goal to expose them to recent advances in research and to develop long-term scientific links and partnerships. The work must be carried out in a research group of a SCAR member country different from that of the applicant’s origin and current residence. Fellowships are awarded purely on the selection criteria for competitive selection, which are clearly stated in the Evaluation section on the Detailed Information page. Advice on applying to the SCAR and COMNAP Fellowship schemes is available from the Mentoring page.” (SCAR)

SCAR has worked with the Association of Polar Early Career Scientists to provide an online form which can be used to ask questions about the application process, required documentation and eligibility etc. and which can also be used anonymously. The replies will be added to the FAQ section of the Fellowships webpages. (SCAR.org)

DEADLINE: 25 July 2018

Interesting fact: The South African, Ryan Reisinger received a SCAR Fellowship in 2016. (Read more here).

Are you the next South African being awarded a SCAR Fellowship? Apply today!

South Africa’s class afloat – SEAmester

SEAmester, class afloat, floating university, SA Agulhas II

“It seems almost yesterday that I approached the Department of Science and Technology (DST) and the National Research Foundation (NRF) to consider funding a Floating University that would be open to all University and Technikon postgraduate students” says Associate Professor and Head of Oceanography Isabelle Ansorge “and here we are planning our third year”!

SEAmester aims to introduce marine science as an applied and cross-disciplinary field to students who have shown an affinity for these core science disciplines. It combines traditional class-room lectures with hands-on ship-based deck activities for the students, while providing them with opportunities to network with and support specialist scientists in recognised marine research activities. The programme strives to gain greater awareness of the oceans’ physical and ecological response to climate change. To date, since the first cruise in 2016 over 120 students from 23 universities and technikons around South Africa as well as over 54 lecturers have participated in SEAmester. As an example – the lectures range from space weather to ocean plastics to marine microbiology to ocean instrumentation. Going hand-in-hand with the lectures are specially designed experiments which are linked to the mornings classroom lecture – so for plastics the students then spend a few hours towing a net over the side, after a lecture on the seafloor we tow a dredge to see what comes up from over 400 m deep, students learn to count seabirds, study and forecast weather patterns and get to grips with calibrating oceanographic data.

What makes SEAmester so unique is that its open to any national postgraduate student. In the past access to the SA Agulhas II was only possible if your supervisor had a grant through the South African National Antarctic Programme – Naturally this was limited to only a few Universities who undertook polar research – so this meant that students studying mangrove swamps at the University of Zululand for instance would never have a chance to go onboard the SA Agulhas II – SEAmester removes those restrictions! The participating students come from a range of backgrounds and for majority of these students it is their first time out at sea – a truly life changing event! SEAmester is funded until 2020 but its hoped to become a flagship DST project in marine education.

The next cruise: 16 July – 27 July 2018 (click here for more information).

 

Professor Isabelle Ansorge and Tahlia Henry, Oceanography Department University of Cape Town, 02 July 2018

SCAR and IASC Conference, Davos – Switzerland

It is the second day of the joint Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR) and International Arctic Science Committee (IASC) Conference in Davos, Switzerland.

Out of the 18 South African attendees, 9 oral presentations and 12 poster presentations  will be delivered. Four more South Africans who started their scientific careers in the South African National Antarctic Programme (SANAP), currently residing and representing different countries, are also attending this conference.

Please see below titles of these presentations.

South African representation at POLAR2018 (SCAR & IASC Conference) Davos, Switzerland 15-26 June 2018
Oral Presentations
Date Session Time Title Presenter Venue
19-Jun OC-1_OC-2b Innovation, partnership and impact in polar science communication & Polar Research and Citizen Science: Exploring New Platforms and Opportunities 11:15-11:30 A new South African National Antarctic Programme Portal Designed by ALSA Louw, Anché B Pischa
19-Jun BE-3b Polar perspectives on microbial evolution, adaptation, and ecological function 12:15-12:30 Metagenomics and Viromics of the Mackay Glacier Ecotone Van Goethem, Marc A Seehorn
21-Jun BE-2b Phytoplankton, productivity and carbon export dynamics 11:00-11:15 Southern-Atlantic Phytoplankton Community Composition Response to Light and Iron Viljoen, Johannes Jacobus A Seehorn
21-Jun BE-2b Phytoplankton, productivity and carbon export dynamics 11:15-11:30 Southern Ocean Phytoplankton Silica Uptake Relating to Leakage and Carbon Export Weir, Ian A Seehorn
21-Jun BE-2b Phytoplankton, productivity and carbon export dynamics 11:45-12:00 Phytoplankton Group-specific Contributions to the Subantarctic Biological Pump Forrer, Heather J A Seehorn
21-Jun OS-7c Atmosphere-Ice-Ocean interactions in the Polar Regions 14:30-14:45 Impact of Severe Storm Conditions on the Marginal Ice Zone in the Southern Ocean Vichi, Marcello S Sanada II
22-Jun BE-9d Life distribution and responses to environmental changes in Polar ecosystems 12:00-12:15 Predicting Plant Invasion Risks to the Subantarctic Islands Greve, Michelle C Aspen
22-Jun OC-3 The role of museums in promoting polar heritage and advancing polar science 16:30-16:45 Antarctic Legacy of SA Collaborates to Celebrate South Africa’s Polar Heritage Louw, Anché S Sanada I
23-Jun SH-8 Data science for polar environments – discovery, rescue, and mining 09:30-09:45 Antarctic Legacy of South Africa (ALSA) Preserve Human Data, what is the Value? Olivier, Ria A Wisshorn
POSTERS
Date Session Time Title Presenter Venue
19-Jun Poster 17:30-18:30 A Comparison of the Frost Environment of Three Disparate Climatic Locations Hansen, Christel Foyer
19-Jun Poster 17:30-18:30 Genetic Patterns at Fine Spatial Scales: Complex Findings in a Complex Landscape Monsanto, Daniela Foyer
19-Jun Poster 17:30-18:30 Geomorphology and Antarctic Ecosystems in Dronning Maud Land Meiklejohn, Ian Foyer
19-Jun Poster 17:30-18:30 The Active Layer and Permafrost Environment of Flårjuven (Antarctica): 2008 – 2017 Hansen, Christel Foyer
20-Jun Poster 17:30-18:30 Comparing Data Derived from Animal-borne and Argo Observations Treasure, Anne M. Foyer
20-Jun Poster 17:30-18:30 Marine Mammals Exploring the Oceans Pole to Pole: Review of the MEOP Consortium Treasure, Anne M. Foyer
20-Jun Poster 17:30-18:30 Southern Ocean Stratification Delayed by Submesoscale Wind-front Interactions du Plessis, Marcel Foyer
21-Jun Poster 17:30-18:30 Analysis of Synoptic Variability of the Antarctic MIZ with in Situ Observations de Jong, Ehlke Foyer
21-Jun Poster 17:30-18:30 Physical Forcing of Marine Ecosystems in the Prince Edward Islands Region Treasure, Anne M. Foyer
21-Jun Poster 17:30-18:30 Plankton Production in Open Southern Ocean and Surrounding subantarctic Islands Stirnimann, Luca Foyer
22-Jun Poster 17:30-18:30 Antarctic Legacy of South Africa (ALSA): Past Decade, Approaches and Challenges Olivier, Ria Foyer
22-Jun Poster 17:30-18:30 Promoting the Antarctic Heritage of South Africa with a Digital Museum Olivier, Ria Foyer

 

This website has been live for the past month!

Today, one month ago, the new SANAP website went live after almost a year of planning and designing.

Where it all started:

In the Antarctic and Southern Ocean Research Plan of 2014-2024 (Skelton 2014) under section five: Constraints, the following was identified:

1.5.4. Communications:

“The SANAP website, as the first point of entry for web-based searches should also be managed by a dedicated staff member, and should be kept topical and up to date. This should form part of an overall infrastructure strategy”.

The Antarctic and Southern Ocean Research Plan of 2014-2024 underpins and informed the Marine and Antarctic Research Plan along with a Marine Research Plan for the same period. These are guiding documents that direct our research agenda in the Antarctic and Southern Ocean.  

The South African National Antarctic Programme (South Africa’s National Antarctic Scientific Programme) is funded by the Department of Science and Technology (DST), and implemented by the National Research Foundation (NRF) (Fig. 1). The SANAP programme’s logistic and environmental aspects are managed by the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA), situated at the East Pier of the Cape Town Harbour – where the S.A. Agulhas II docks when home.

The Department of Science and Technology (DST) addressed the recommendation in section 1.5.4 by appointing the Antarctic Legacy of South Africa to manage the SANAP website and ensure that the information therein is kept up to date.

The SANAP website now has a brand new look and will be the the first point of entry for web-based searches, nationally and internationally.

Figure 1: SANAP within the governmental structure of South Africa.

S.A. Agulhas II Open Day

The Department of Environmental Affairs invites you to bring your entire family to come and experience a fun-filled day at the SA Agulhas II Open Day:

Date: 09 June 2018
Venue: Port of Durban
Open 09h00 – Close 15h00

You and your family will have the unique opportunity of taking a tour of the SA Agulhas II research vessel. We also have our partners from the marine and maritime industry who will showcase their environmental work and scientific work.

The event is suitable for all ages, and our venue is wheelchair friendly.

Download your  FREE ticket from:

https://www.quicket.co.za/events/47107-sa-agulhas-ii-open-day/#/