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Researchers launch Antarctica mission to study effects of human activities

Over 50 researchers from 30 nations will complete the circumnavigation of Antarctica in a quest to measure pollution and climate change. The international team will board the Russian research vessel Akademik Treshnikov. The research vessel will leave Cape Town on December 20 and return on March 18, 2017. The team will have to face hostile weather conditions in its endeavour to get a deeper understanding of human activities in the Southern Ocean.

The global warming is affecting the climate patterns across the globe. There has been a lot of research about the Arctic region and the changes occurring in the Arctic and North Pole ice cap. However not much research has taken place the South Pole and Antarctica ice shelf has been least understood. The Antarctic Circumpolar Expedition will be the first such effort to understand the ecology of this icy continent.

Frederik Paulsen, the founding member of Swiss Polar Institute (SPI) and the driving force behind the ACE program said that the islands around Antarctica has been studied scantily, and it is for the first time a comprehensive research agenda has been  organized which will investigate the effects of human activities on the ice shelf of the icy continent.

The changes in the volume and quality of the ice on the mainland are a testimony to the ill effects of human activity and are a gauge to understand the level of human activities. The research will be covering some interrelated fields which include biology, climatology and ocean science. Scientific progress is interrelated with some diverse scientific fields. Study of Marine biology, ocean thermals and currents depend on upon the mathematical models being developed by oceanographers.

The study will include mapping penguins, whales and albatross in the Southern Oceans, studying the effects of plastic pollution on the food chain and measuring the extent of phytoplankton which has been the starting point of the food chain — and its role in regulating climate.