Premio NEMO PROPHETA IN PATRIA? 2016

XXIII EDIZIONE

Scarica la brochure per maggiori informazioni

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On 18th of october 2015 at the Arctic Circle Conference in Reykjavik a new Association has been released:

WOMEN FOR THE ARCTIC


aimed to enhance the role of the women of all the Arctic Countries in science, policies and governance.
Details:
Born from: Manifesto for the Poles
Members: individuals (women) and associations (lead by women)
Head Office: Akureyri/Iceland
Contact: dr. Ada Grilli, simi 62620410 e.mail: leadingedizioni@gmail.com and/or: manifestoperipoli@gmail.com
To sign up:

WOMEN FOR THE ARCTIC



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PIANETA A LUCI SPENTE

L’Espresso – 27 marzo 2015

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Quel paesino in Alaska sta per sparire

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Sette – 27 marzo 2015

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L’Espresso – 30 dicembre 2014

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Groenlandia: MAPPATI I SITI NATURALISTICI
Google Street arriva tra i ghiacci

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Corriere della Sera – 06 febbraio 2015

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Bentornata Grazia!

Sono partita il 17 Novembre 2014 e sono tornata il 06 febbraio 2015. La temperatura minima che ho sperimentato è di -55 dentro alla grotta sismica a 15 metri di profondità. La temperatura massima è stata di circa -25 gradi. Le temperature della stagione estiva vanno dai -25 ai meno -50 a seconda della stagione e dell’ora del giorno, anche se il sole non tramonta mai. Non amo tanto volare, quindi considerate le 30 ore di volo per raggiungere la Nuova Zelanda, oltre alle 6-7 per raggiungere il continente Antartico e le altre 5 per raggiungere Concordia devo dire che non sono state per me le ore più rilassate e serene. In particolare, il volo fino a Concordia che deve fermarsi a metà strada, in un luogo chiamato “Mid Point”, in mezzo al nulla per fare rifornimento mi metteva particolare agitazione, tanto che quando finalmente siamo arrivati “safe on snow” come dicono i piloti alla sala radio per informare che sono atterrati, la tensione si è dissolta in un rivolo di lacrime.
Così come non amo per nulla l’elicottero che invece è un mezzo utilizzatissimo in Antartide, e con il quale mi hanno portato a vedere i pinguini imperatore. Ma poi ho scoperto che tutto sommato volare in Antartide è estremamente sicuro, i piloti sono tutti molto esperti ed hanno regole di sicurezza da rispettare molto stringenti.
L’esperienza è stata veramente unica. Prova ad immaginare l’infinito che si manifesta in 360 gradi di bianco in torno a te, di una bellezza brutale. Ti senti allo stesso tempo nulla e tutto, estremamente fragile difronte alla natura, ma allo stesso tempo orgogliosa di avere il privilegio di essere li. Avrei potuto, ed in alcuni attimi ho quasi desiderato, poter restare a guardare quel bianco infinito per sempre, perché hai la sensazione che non ti basti mai.

Grazia Ginoulhiach, 1 marzo 2015

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JULIETTE E LE DONNE DEL FESTIVAL

Quanta ignoranza sulle parti del Pianeta alle latitudini più alte!
La Binoche non ha niente a che fare con l’Antartide se è vero che la storia del film Nadie quiere la noche ha per protagonista R. Peary! E gli inuit hanno acquistato un H! Una grande gaffe dell’autore, non certo un refuso del tipografo. E questo è il Corriere della Sera, non un giornaletto di classe…

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Corriere della Sera – 06 febbraio 2015

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Here’s how much plastic enters the ocean each year

by Angus Chen

It took nearly a half-century, but scientists finally have a handle on how much plastic enters the open ocean every year. The last estimate was in 1975, when a National Academy of Sciences study hazarded a guess that about 0.1% of global plastic production sweeps out to sea annually. Now, researchers say reality is much grimmer. The team looked at how much plastic waste every coastal country in the world produces and estimated how much of it could potentially spill into the sea because it ends up as litter or in open dumps and leaky landfills. The scientists figured roughly 15% to 40% of that littered or dumped plastic enters the ocean each year.

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Science – 12 febbraio 2015

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Ice core suggests humans damaged atmosphere long before the industrial revolution

by Lizzie Wade

Hike nearly 5500 meters up in the Peruvian Andes and you’ll find the Quelccaya Ice Cap. The landscape is stark and seemingly pristine, with barely a shrub eking out a living on the rocks surrounding the tropical glacier. But drill into that ice and you’ll find a dirty history: the record of air pollution in South America. New research on an ice core taken from Quelccaya reveals that humans began polluting the region centuries before the industrial revolution arrived with its steam engines and coal plants. The results suggest that the Anthropocene, a new geological epoch defined by humans’ effect on the planet, began at different times around the world.

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Science – 9 febbraio 2015

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CLATRATI

Rappresentano il doppio delle riserve energetiche convenzionali: si tratta di gas imprigionati nel “ghiaccio sporco” di suolo e oceani. Si fa a gara per estrarli

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Corriere della Sera – 14 dicembre 2014

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UN ROBOT CHEZ LES MANCHOTS

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Le Monde – 6 novembre 2014

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COSE SPAZIALI

Tempeste solari, eclissi mai viste, sonde a caccia di asteroidi, social network orbitanti: tra falsi allarmi e vere notizie, quanto moviemnto sopra le nostre teste

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Repubblica – 13 dicembre 2014

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Svalbard, 300 milioni di semi
nella fortezza scavata nel ghiaccio

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Corriere della Sera – 28 novembre 2014

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La banquise vue d’avant

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Le Monde- 14 gennaio 2015

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L’ORO DEI GHIACCI

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La Repubblica- 27 gennaio 2015

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In Norvegia, sciolto il ghiaccio, emerge la storia

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il Venerdì – 23 gennaio 2015

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NAVE TRA I GHIACCI: A BORDO 5 ITALIANI

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Corriere della Sera – 04 gennaio 2015

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C’era una volta un igloo…

Era un igloo “italiano” in qualche modo, progettato e costruito per le Olimpiadi invernali di Torino 2006. Lo abbiamo tenuto a Bergamo ed esposto in vari eventi che avevano a che fare con le culture nordiche. L’ultima apparizione è stata a Rovereto nell’ambito della Mostra Aurore Polari che ha chiuso l’11 gennaio 2015. Ora l’igloo migra a Riva del Garda dove potranno conoscerlo i residenti e i visitatori.
Buon viaggio igloo!

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Polar bears head north as Arctic warms

by Jennifer Balmer

As sea ice disappears, polar bears are on the move. Now, a new study shows where many of the bears have gone over the past 2 decades: north toward the Canadian archipelago, one of the last Arctic regions to be affected by climate change. Starting in the 1980s, researchers collected tissue or hair samples from nearly 3000 polar bears captured by scientists or killed by hunters throughout the Arctic. DNA analyses showed that bears from different regions are genetically distinct from one another, allowing researchers to approximate the bears’ movements by tracking changes in the population’s genetic makeup over time.

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Science – 21 gennaio 2015

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Sempre più veloce lo scioglimento dell’Antartide

by Stefano Lamorgese

Nell’ultimo decennio la velocità di scioglimento dei ghiacci antartici è triplicata. Lo dimostra una più che ventennale serie di dati divenuti oggetto di una ricerca condotta dall’American Geophysical Union. L’area in corso di più veloce scioglimento è quella che comprende i ghiacciai del Mare di Amundsen, nella regione più occidentale del continente. Qui si perdono, oggi, 83 miliardi di tonnellate di ghiaccio l’anno. Dal 1992 la media annua dell’incremento del processo è stata pari a 6,5 miliardi di tonnellate. Si tratta di una crescita vertiginosa.

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Rai News – 4 dicembre 2014

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Black out nella base in Antartide, il comandante:
“Fuori anche -55 gradi, ma stiamo bene”

by Andrea Bettini

“Il morale qui è sempre rimasto alto”. Dalla base britannica Halley in Antartide, il comandante John Eager rassicura: le difficoltà continuano ad essere considerevoli, ma tutti stanno bene e nessuno ha mai perso la testa. Il 30 luglio un guasto ha lasciato le 13 persone che vi sono alloggiate senza energia elettrica e riscaldamento per ben 19 ore, nel pieno della notte polare. All’esterno è sempre buio e la temperatura è scesa anche al di sotto dei 50 gradi sottozero, ma dal giorno del black out la situazione è migliorata.

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Rai News – 8 agosto 2014

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Launch IYL 2015 Opening Ceremony

With just weeks to go before the start of 2015, the International Year of Light is getting ready for a grand Opening Ceremony to be held on the 19-20 January 2015 at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris. The Opening Ceremony will introduce all key themes of the year, acting as inspiration for events worldwide during 2015 to raise awareness of the importance of light-based technologies in providing solutions to worldwide challenges in areas such as energy, education, communications and health.

Over a thousand participants will converge on Paris for the two day event, and speakers and attendees will include international diplomats and decision-makers, Nobel laureates, CEOs, and science and industry leaders from across the globe. After high-level opening addresses by international political leaders, a series of keynote lectures, symposia and round-tables will cover areas of basic science, innovative lighting solutions for society, light pollution, emerging trends in photonics, the Einstein Centenary, the role of light-based technologies in addressing global challenges, light in art and culture, the history of science, and science policy.

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Arctic Report Card sounds alarm for region’s oceans

by Eli Kintisch

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA – A continually warming Arctic is having profound impacts across the top of the planet and beyond, according to a government report released here today at a meeting of the American Geophysical Union. The effects include weather disruptions, disappearing snow, and lands greening as temperatures rise. But some of the biggest changes are happening in warming Arctic seas, with the future of northern fisheries hanging in the balance.

The latest version of the Arctic Report Card, first released in 2006, showed that warming trends remain largely consistent in the Arctic, which is warming, on average, twice as fast as the rest of Earth. Snow cover on land was below the average of the previous 3 decades; for the 10th straight year, June featured record lows over land in the North American and Eurasian sectors of the Arctic. Loss of sea ice and the melting of the Greenland Ice Sheet slowed, though summer temperatures on the ice sheet set records.

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Science – 17 dicembre 2014

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Video: Robot spots predatory worms,
floating slime balls under Arctic ice

by Carolyn Gramling

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA – There’s a food web thriving under the Arctic ice—and an awful lot of it is slimy. This new video of life thriving in the murky cold comes courtesy of Nereid Under Ice (NUI), a lightweight, remotely operated vehicle connected to its surface ship by only a hair-thin fiber-optic tether. Scientists presented the first data from NUI’s maiden voyage here today at the American Geophysical Union’s fall meeting. NUI took its first dip in the Arctic in July, exploring the under–sea ice environment and relaying environmental data and video back to its operators in real time. There have been hints that there’s more biological productivity in the Arctic Ocean than once suspected (perhaps helped along by climate change): In 2012, scientists reported seeing massive blooms of algae proliferating under the sea ice. Now, the robot’s first findings are already helping scientists piece together more of this previously hidden under-ice food web, including more evidence of the under-ice algae, as well as tiny copepods, ctenophores (jellyfish), predatory marine worms called arrow worms, and abundant amounts of large floating slime balls, known to scientists as larvaceans. What links these lower members of the web to seals and polar bears isn’t yet clear; scientists saw no evidence of the most obvious missing element—fish—during the expedition.
(Video credit: Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

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Science – 16 dicembre 2014

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Scientists produce new type of ice

by Robert F. Service

Water is one of the relatively few compounds in which the solid is less dense than the liquid. That, of course, is why ice floats in your glass. But not all ice is created equal. Researchers today unveiled a new solid phase of ice that’s the lowest density version known. Known as ice XVI, the 17th solid phase of ice discovered to date, it has a cagelike structure that can trap other molecules (green and gray above). Such ice cages, known as clathrates, are known to store enormous quantities of methane on the deep ocean floor. The new clathrate, by contrast, is empty, though it didn’t start that way. The cagelike structure originally formed surrounding neon atoms (blue). The neon was then leached out of the clathrate through rings of water molecules (red dashed lines). The new form of ice may help researchers better understand clathrates in general, and perhaps ease the flow of oil and gas through pipelines at low temperatures.

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Science – 10 dicembre 2014

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QUESTO DISGELO METTE I BRIVIDI

Calotte polari che si sciolgono al sole, vette annerite dalle alte temperature e dalle polveri sottili dell’inquinamento, Alpi sempre più simili agli Appennini. Un fotografo ha immortalato l’agonia della criosfera. Gli scienziati studiano, la politica resta a guardare.

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Sette – 06 dicembre 2014

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SIAMO RICCHI E VI LASCIAMO

Groenlandia, Faroe e Scozia vogliono l’indipendenza. Dopo aver trovato un tesoro sotto i ghiacci che si sciolgono

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L’Espresso – 30 aprile 2014

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Comet dust found in Antarctica

by Ilima Loomis

Researchers have discovered comet dust preserved in the ice and snow of Antarctica, the first time such particles have been found on Earth’s surface. The discovery unlocks a promising new source of this material. The oldest astronomical particles available for study, comet dust can offer clues about how our solar system formed.

“It’s very exciting for those of us who study these kinds of extraterrestrial materials, because it opens up a whole new way to get access to them,” says Larry Nittler, a planetary scientist in the Department of Terrestrial Magnetism at the Carnegie Institution for Science in Washington, D.C., who was not involved with the research. “They’ve found a new source for something that’s very interesting and very rare.”

Until recently, the only way scientists could collect “chondritic porous interplanetary dust particles,” or comet dust, without going to space has been by flying research planes high in the stratosphere. It’s painstaking work: Several hours of flying time typically yield one particle of dust. Working with such small samples significantly limits the kinds of tests and analysis scientists can perform on the material, says study co-author John Bradley, an astromaterials scientist at the Hawaii Institute of Geophysics and Planetology of the University of Hawaii, Manoa.

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Science – 5 dicembre 2014

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Largest ever protected habitat proposed
for Arctic ringed seals

by Virginia Morell

Shrinking sea ice is wreaking havoc on Arctic ringed seals (Phoca hispida hispida), which live throughout the Bering, Chukchi, and Beaufort seas. The seals live in and beneath the ice and even birth and nurse atop it. Now, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has proposed designating a vast area—more than 906,000 square kilometers—off Alaska as protected habitat for the seals. The pinnipeds, which are named for the lacy, white circles on their fur, were listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act in December 2012.

At the Center for Biological Diversity in Tucson, Arizona, which had petitioned NOAA to address the seals’ plight, conservationists reacted with joy to the proposal. The organization’s climate science director, Shaye Wolf, said in a statement: “We’re thrilled that the ringed seals are getting the habitat protections they so desperately need as their sea-ice home melts beneath them.” But Senator Lisa Murkowski (R–AK) criticized the proposal. “This is an unprecedented attempt to place restrictions on a larger than Texas-sized area of water surrounding our state,” she said in a statement.

NOAA’s proposal stems from a yearlong study of the critical habitat needs of the seals and the economic effects that protecting them may have on the region, which harbors extensive oil and gas reserves and commercially valuable fish.

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Science – 3 dicembre 2014

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2014 is on track to be warmest year yet:
Five images that explain what’s happening

by Eli Kintisch

In Lima today, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) announced that 2014 is on track to be the warmest year on record. The following are five charts that explain the data thus far.

1. 2014’s warming trend has occurred across the globe, throughout the year.

We’re talking about January to October, which WMO customarily discusses in November. (It is expected to finalize its 2014 report early in 2015.) WMO didn’t produce a global temperature map, so here’s one from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA):Red means above the 1981 to 2010 average, and blue means below.

According to WMO, global average temperatures in the first 10 months of 2014 reached 14.57°C. If that average holds, 2014 will be the warmest year on record (although with an error of +/- 0.10°C, 2014 is basically in a statistical tie with several other record years). The above-average warming has been in every ocean and spread across the planet.

Some months this year, including June and October, have set global records outright for average air temperature, says Derek Arndt, chief of the Climate Monitoring Branch of the National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, North Carolina. “The monthly anomalies broke records above the error bars,” he says. “This is very, very unusual.”

Whether the 2014 record, if confirmed, means the end of the so-called warming hiatus is unclear, WMO’s Michel Jarraud told reporters this morning during a teleconference. The hiatus, which began in about 1998, has been typified by a slower rate of increase in average air temperatures than in previous decades.

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Science – 3 dicembre 2014

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Melt rate for West Antarctic Ice Sheet has tripled in a decade

Global warming is helping melt the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, a mass of glaciers spanning 2 million square kilometers in Antarctica, and over the past decade the rate of melting has tripled, according to researchers with the University of California, Irvine, and NASA. From 2003 to 2011, the rate increased from roughly 50 billion tonnes per year to roughly 125 billion tonnes per year, an average annual increase of 15.7 billion tonnes. Earlier this year, two teams of researchers reported that the collapse of the ice sheet is now inevitable, an eventuality that will raise sea levels by 3 meters.

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Science – 2 dicembre 2014

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Arctic faces an ice-pocalypse

by Eli Kintisch

LONGYEARBYEN, NORWAY – Thick sheets of ice coating roads, homes, and pastures. Dead reindeer, no radio transmissions, and flights canceled for days. When ice came to this Arctic mining outpost on the Svalbard archipelago two winters ago, it crippled the community for weeks and devastated wildlife for months. Now, scientists are saying such weather extremes in the Arctic—known as rain-on-snow events—may become more frequent in the future.

“It’s hard to study extreme weather events, which by definition are rare,” says ecologist Brage Hansen of the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim. “So we took the opportunity in 2012.”

Brage and his co-authors focused on the rainy warm spell that brought record-high temperatures and prolonged rain to Svalbard over 2 weeks in January and February 2012. Temperatures during that period were routinely 20°C higher than normal, and on one day, the study notes, a Svalbard weather station recorded a daily average temperature of 4°C, which was “higher than at any weather station in mainland Norway on that day.” Another Svalbard station recorded 272 mm of rain during the 2 weeks; that station’s average for the whole year is 385 mm.

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Science – 20 novembre 2014

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MAGICA LUCE DELLE AURORE DI GHIACCIO

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Science – 07 novembre 2014

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WHAT’S KILLING THE REINDEER?

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Science – 07 novembre 2014

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Il libro AURORE POLARI vola in Antartide

Un lungo viaggio si prospetta per il mio libro AURORE POLARI – OTTAVA MERAVIGLIA DEL PIANETA, Leading Edizioni. Andrà infatti in Antartide alla base di ricerca italo-francese Concordia sul Plateau Antartico. Così i ricercatori che passano in quella base lunghi mesi avranno materiale “fresco” per godere il fenomeno oltre che dal vivo, attraverso la documentazione letteraria, artistica, storica ecc.

Anche il modellino della Concorda è una produzione di Leading Edizioni!

L’idea del libro è stata di Grazia Ginoulhiac di Roma, che parte il 17 novembre con la prossima missione italiana in Antartide finanziata dal PNRA. Auguri Grazia!

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Cosa resta sulle coste d’Alaska
Disastro Exxon Valdez

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L’Espresso – 27 marzo 2014

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Notebook lost for more than a 100 years is discovered in Antarctic snow: Photographer’s journal dates back to Captain Scott’s ill-fated expedition

by Victoria Woollaston

The researchers lower the fiber-optic and sensor cables down a hole drilled through the ice to the ocean in 2011. The data from this equipment revealed details of the interactions between ocean water and the base of the ice sheet.

Melting Antarctic snow has revealed the notebook of Captain Robert Scott’s official expedition photographer.
Researchers found George Levick’s journal outside the 1911 Terra Nova base in the heart of the Antarctic following this year’s annual thaw. Despite thaws in previous years, this is the first time the notebook has been seen in more than a century.
The notebook is called Wellcome Photographic Exposure Record and Diary 1910 and was discovered by New Zealand’s Antarctic Heritage Trust. It belonged to surgeon, zoologist and photographer George Murray Levick, who was born in 1876 and died 1956, whose name is clearly written in the opening pages. Mr Levick was a part of Captain Robert Scott’s 1910 to 1913 expedition. His notebook contains pencil notes detailing the date, subjects and exposure details for the photographs he took during 1911 while at Cape Adare, before undergoing a harsh winter in an ice cave on Inexpressible Island. Close examination reveals links between the notations in the notebook and photographs held by the Scott Polar Research Institute, Cambridge that have been attributed to Mr Levick, too.

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Mail Online – 23 ottobre 2014

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First solar storm from huge sunspot reaches Earth and knocks out satellites – and more could be on their way

by Mark Prigg and Jonathan O’Callaghan

A monster storm on the sun’s surface has unleashed a solar flare in the direction of Earth – and there could be more to come. The event temporarily blacked out a few radio communication systems before weakening. The storm came from a large group of sunspots and hit Earth between 10 am and 11 am EDT (2pm and 3pm BST) yesterday.

Space Weather Prediction Center forecaster Christopher Balch, meanwhile, said the flare affected radio that uses part of the upper atmosphere. That includes some but not all radar and plane systems as well as amateur radio.
Mr Balch said the storm briefly was rated as strong for affecting Earth radio systems but then dropped to minor levels. The event followed months of near-silent activity on the sun before the huge flare erupted from a sunspot 14 times bigger than Earth. A spokesperson for the Met Office Space Weather Operations Centre told MailOnline it may be the biggest sunspot for 25 years. But they said in the UK there had been ‘no reports of any disruption at all. There may have been short periods of outage in radio communication but nothing has been repotred as causing problems.’ Flares are massive explosions on the Sun associated with sunspots. Magnetic fields in sunspots can store vast amounts of energy, but looping magnetic field lines can get tangled up and snap, releasing their energy as explosions called flares.

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Mail Online – 22 ottobre 2014

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Aurore polari in tutte le salse…

In occasione dell’apertura della Mostra AURORE POLARI – OTTAVA MERAVIGLIA DEL PIANETA? venerdì 24 al Festival della Scienza di Genova (Loggia dei Mercanti fino al 2 novembre), ho ideato un Calendario delle Aurore, su CD, con 12 splendide immagini. Sarà utile per avere davanti agli occhi un’Aurora boreale o australe ogni mese diversa. E sarà un regalino molto apprezzato. Costa € 12,00/cad + € 1,00 di spese di spedizione (fino a 5 pz). Si prenota a leadingedizioni@gmail.com

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Fiber optics in Antarctica will monitor ice sheet melting

The researchers lower the fiber-optic and sensor cables down a hole drilled through the ice to the ocean in 2011. The data from this equipment revealed details of the interactions between ocean water and the base of the ice sheet.

di Carolyn Gramling

Earth is rapidly being wired with fiber-optic cables—inexpensive, flexible strands of silicon dioxide that have revolutionized telecommunications. They’ve already crisscrossed the planet’s oceans, linking every continent but one: Antarctica. Now, fiber optics has arrived at the continent, but to measure ice sheet temperatures rather than carry telecommunication signals. A team of scientists using an innovative fiber-optic cable–based technology has measured temperature changes within and below the ice over 14 months. This technology, they say, offers a powerful new tool to observe and quantify melting at the base of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, the collapse of which may help drive a worldwide increase in sea levels of more than 3 meters.

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Science – 21 ottobre 2014

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What’s going on with Antarctic sea ice?

di Carolyn Gramling

Q: What’s happening with Antarctic sea ice this year?
A: The National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) announced this week that the sea ice surrounding Antarctica reached its maximum extent—its widest halo around the continent—in 2014 on 22 September: more than 20 million square kilometers, which also set a record for the highest extent of sea ice around the continent since satellite measurements began in the late 1970s. (That area of “maximum extent” is actually the average extent from the previous 5 days.)

 

Q: How does that compare with the loss of Arctic sea ice?
A: Overall, this uptick in Antarctic sea ice is still only a fraction (about a third) of the rapid loss of sea ice in the Arctic Ocean. According to NASA, the Arctic has lost about 54,000 square kilometers of ice per year, while the Antarctic has a net gain of about 19,000 square kilometers. This year, sea ice extent in the Arctic was the sixth lowest on record, at 5 million square kilometers on 17 September.

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Science – 10 ottobre 2014

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Some whales have up to 14 spleens

di Virginia Morell

Almost every species of vertebrate has a spleen, an organ for filtering blood. But why settle for just one when you could have 14? That seems to be the strategy of some cetaceans, the group that comprises whales and dolphins. When scientists first noticed extra spleens in some of these animals, they thought they might be related to injuries from ship strikes, because similarly traumatic events can lead humans to develop multiple copies of the organ. But a team of scientists in Brazil now reports that the accessory organs are apparently normal in cetaceans and may help the animals keep their blood oxygen levels up while making deep dives. They reached this conclusion after dissecting 63 cetaceans from 14 species, all found stranded on the northern coast of Brazil between 2009 and 2013.

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Science – 15 settembre 2014

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Arctic sea ice minimum sixth lowest on record

U.S. government scientists announced today that sea ice in the Artic has reached its lowest extent for 2014. The low point came last week on 17 September, when satellites recorded a total sea ice area of 5.02 million square kilometers (1.94 million square miles). That’s higher than the record low, set in 2012, but still below the long-term average. Overall, it is the sixth lowest recorded ice cover since satellites began taking detailed observations in 1979. The National Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder, Colorado, cautions that the figure may drop as a result of changing winds. A full report is expected at the beginning of October.

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Science – 22 settembre 2014

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Il federalismo di Yoghi,
un animale condannato e l’altro no

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Il Corriere della Sera – 27 agosto 2014

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Alone on an Arctic ice floe, with a hovercraft

di Carolyn Gramling

Somewhere in the Arctic Ocean, two Norwegian scientists are adrift on an ice floe, equipped with a year’s worth of food and fuel—and one research hovercraft named SABVABAA (Inuit for “flows swiftly over it”). University of Bergen/Nansen Environmental and Remote Sensing Center professor emeritus Yngve Kristoffersen, 72, and crew member Audun Tholfsen established ice drift station FRAM-2014/15 on the 1.1-meter-thick floe on 30 August, when it was 280 kilometers from the North Pole. Over the next few months, they will drift northward along the submarine Lomonosov Ridge, taking sediment cores to learn about the polar environment more than 60 million years ago. It’s the hovercraft that makes the setup truly unique: Using SABVABAA, the researchers can travel up to 100 kilometers from their floating base, assessing ice properties, currents, and water temperatures. The hovercraft—the brainchild of Kristoffersen and physicist John Hall, 74, of the Geological Survey of Israel—also makes it possible to conduct a year-round study, Hall says. The ridge is covered by thick multiyear ice, forbidding to icebreakers, but SABVABAA (pictured) “allows you to have boots on the ground.” (There’s a video of the hovercraft in action here.)

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Science – 12 settembre 2014

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A geomagnetic storm is coming – should I worry?

di Carolyn Gramling

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA’s) Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC) is forecasting a moderate to strong geomagnetic storm to occur sometime later today or tonight, U.S. Eastern time. What does that mean? Will it knock out power grids? Will there be a lot of radiation? Your questions, answered.

Q: What causes a geomagnetic storm?

A: The sun is now just about at the peak of its 11-year solar cycle, meaning that there are a significant number of sunspots visible. Sunspots look like dark freckles on the sun, but they’re actually regions of intense magnetic activity. Clusters of these sunspots can be sources of solar flares and coronal mass ejections (CMEs), sudden bursts of energized particles that swiftly stream out from the surface of the sun. The largest type of these is called an X-class flare. If an X-class flare is powerful enough and aimed directly at Earth, it can cause radiation storms in Earth’s ionosphere and wreak havoc with radio communications.

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Science – 12 settembre 2014

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DNA from polar bear footprints reveals killing of seal

A WWF International expedition in Norway was able to isolate frozen skin cells from polar bear footprints. From those cells, a company called SPYGEN obtained DNA that revealed the bear was female, killed a seal at that location, and was joined by seagulls for the meal, The Guardian reports. Next, the team hopes to develop ways to use DNA from footprints to track individuals for conservation purposes

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Science – 3 settembre 2014

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The strange history of the North American Arctic

di Jia You

Archaeologists mapping ancient cultures in the North American Arctic—a region spanning present-day Greenland—have long puzzled over how different cultures relate to one another. Now, an unprecedented large-scale genomics study has traced many such cultures to the Paleo-Eskimos, a people who early inhabited the harsh environment continuously for 4000 years, only to vanish mysteriously about 700 years ago. The discovery could change how scientists understand migration patterns in the North American Arctic.

“This type of study … will be the key to solving many questions in history and prehistory,” says Svante Pääbo of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, who was not involved with the research.

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Science – 28 agosto 2014

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It’s not too late for penguins

di Jennifer Balmer

Global penguin populations have plummeted over the past 2 decades, but their future may not be completely hopeless. Findings published online this month in Conservation Biology suggest that many of the major threats to the birds’ survival—including habitat loss, pollution, and fishery-related impacts—are factors that humans can readily control and correct. To arrive at these conclusions, scientists reviewed the research contributions of nearly 50 specialists and documented the threats to all 18 penguin species spanning the last 250 years. The team identified nine general impacts to penguin populations, but attributed the greatest risks to ongoing habitat destruction from livestock and introduced species, pollution from oil spills and marine debris, and food scarcity and injury resulting from increased fishing pressure.

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Science – 28 agosto 2014

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Lakes under the ice: Antarctica’s secret garden

Douglas Fox

A cold breeze blew off the Antarctic plain, numbing the noses and ears of scientists standing around a dark hole in the ice. Flecks of ice crackled off a winch as it reeled the last few metres of cable out of the hole. Two workers in sterile suits leaned over to grab the payload — a cylinder the length of a baseball bat — dangling at the end of the cable. They used a hammer to chip away the ice and a blow drier to thaw part of the assembly. “Did it close?” asked the winch operator.

“Yeah,” shouted John Priscu, a microbial ecologist from Montana State University in Bozeman. The cylinder rested heavily in his gloved hands — evidence that it had filled with water and sealed shut before its long journey to the surface. The fluid inside came from one of the most isolated bodies of water on Earth: Lake Whillans, trapped beneath 800 metres of ice just 640 kilometres from the South Pole. Hardly a word was spoken as Priscu hefted the vessel against his shoulder and shuffled into a metal shipping container, where the team had set up a cramped, makeshift laboratory.

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Science – 20 agosto 2014

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Mysterious penguin disease spreads to Antarctica

Jennifer Balmer

Although penguins can’t fly, they still need feathers. Without them, the birds risk succumbing to rain, cold, disease, and even death—which is why researchers are concerned about the recent reappearance of a rare disorder causing the feathers of young penguins to fall out. The so-called feather-loss disorder was first seen in 2006 in penguin chicks housed at a captive facility in South Africa. One year later, several cases were observed across the Atlantic Ocean, in wild Magellanic penguin chicks along the coast of Argentina. Now, 7 years after the last outbreak, feather-loss disorder has mysteriously re-emerged, this time in penguins on the Antarctic Peninsula, researchers report in Antarctic Science. In January, they spotted two chicks (one of which is pictured above) in the Hope Bay Adélie penguin colony that were missing large patches of feathers. One chick was later found dead, and the other went missing and is presumed to have perished. The fact that no other cases were observed in the colony of 14,000 penguins suggests that feather-loss disorder is not easily transmitted between individuals. Still, the cause of the disease and how it spreads remain mysteries scientists are now racing to solve.

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Science – 18 agosto 2014

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Minke whales’ ‘extreme’ feeding habits
observed for first time

di Rebecca Kessler

One overcast morning in Antarctica, scientists caught a lucky break when they were able to cruise their small boat right into a group of about 40 minke whales. Working quickly, they attached data-gathering tags to as many of the normally elusive animals as they could—something no one had ever done before. Now, a year and a half later, data from the auspicious encounter show that minke whales have staked out a unique ecological niche that no other baleen whale can take advantage of: hunting krill under sea ice.

With the sleek silhouette of a torpedo and measuring about 6 meters long, minkes are the smallest of the baleen whales. Normally, Antarctic minkes travel solo or in small groups, keeping well away from people and not lingering at the surface. Consequently, little is known about them, despite their being the most common whale in Antarctica and the objects of Japan’s controversial scientific whaling program.

On the day the scientists cruised into the group, though, the minkes let them get close enough to attach data-gathering tags to their bodies. The team high-fived and hugged when they stuck the first tag onto one of the whales and “just went crazy” when it was still attached to its host’s back after a nerve-wracking dive beneath an ice floe, says Ari Friedlaender, a marine mammal ecologist at Oregon State University’s Marine Mammal Institute in Newport, who led the team.

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Science – 13 agosto 2014

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Antarctic fly has world’s tiniest insect genome

A wingless midge from Antarctica has the smallest insect genome sequenced to date, BBC reports. The only true insect that lives on the Antarctic continent, Belgica antarctica has just 99 million base pairs of nucleotides (DNA’s building blocks) in its genome, compared with 3.2 billion for humans. The researchers, who report their findings today in Nature Communications, suggest the extremophile’s small genome may be an adaptation to the cold, dry conditions of Antarctica.

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Science – 12 agosto 2014

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Giant waves recorded in once-frozen Arctic region

Looking for a summer surf spot? Try the Arctic Ocean. For the first time, researchers have recorded swells as tall as 9 meters in the Arctic’s Beaufort Sea, a region just north of Alaska that had remained frozen until recently, The Washington Post reports. Thanks to global warming, Arctic ice now melts faster in summer, creating expanses of open water covering more than 1000 kilometers. Add a little wind, and you’ve got mighty waves. The scientists, who measured the waves with sensors under the surface, said the swells could accelerate the pace of Arctic ice breakup, eventually driving the region to an ice-free summer. They are now conducting a project to determine the impact of these waves relative to the melting already under way.

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Science – 01 agosto 2014

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Mysterious Feather-Loss Disease Discovered in Antarctic Penguins

A rare disorder that causes penguins to lose their feathers has turned up in Antarctica for the first time. The so-called feather-loss disorder had previously been detected in penguin chicks in the South Atlantic and at a rehabilitation center in Cape Town, South Africa. In a report published recently in the journal Antarctic Science, scientists said that earlier this year they found two chicks with feather loss in the Hope Bay Adélie penguin colony. “This is the first time that the feather-loss disorder has been recorded in Antarctica birds,” they reported.

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NBC News – agosto 2014

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Antarctic glaciation caused ocean circulation
changes at the Eocene–Oligocene transition

Two main hypotheses compete to explain global cooling and the abrupt growth of the Antarctic ice sheet across the Eocene–Oligocene transition about 34 million years ago: thermal isolation of Antarctica due to southern ocean gateway opening, and declining atmospheric CO2 (refs 5, 6). Increases in ocean thermal stratification and circulation in proxies across the Eocene–Oligocene transition have been interpreted as a unique signature of gateway opening, but at present both mechanisms remain possible. Here, using a coupled ocean–atmosphere model, we show that the rise of Antarctic glaciation, rather than altered palaeogeography, is best able to explain the observed oceanographic changes. We find that growth of the Antarctic ice sheet caused enhanced northward transport of Antarctic intermediate water and invigorated the formation of Antarctic bottom water, fundamentally reorganizing ocean circulation.

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Nature – 31 luglio 2014

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Japanese Official Explains Grounds
for Resuming Scientific Whaling

di Dennis Normile

TOKYO—Japan’s delegate to the International Whaling Commission (IWC) said today that a recent decision by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) that seemingly went against this nation’s whaling activities is actually pretty good news. “I feel now that the ICJ decision actually is good for Japan,” Joji Morishita said at a press conference. He explained that the ruling lends support to Japan’s position on research whaling and the proper role of the IWC.

On 31 March, the ICJ, based in The Hague in the Netherlands, ordered Japan to cease its Antarctic research whaling program, known as JARPA II, because it was “not for purposes of scientific research.”

“The evidence does not establish that the program’s design and implementation are reasonable in relation to achieving its stated objectives,” the court said. The decision was seen as a huge victory for Australia, which took Japan to the court in 2010 arguing that the research program was thinly veiled commercial whaling and thus in violation of a moratorium adopted by the IWC in 1982. Japan had taken advantage of a clause in the IWC convention that allows a country to grant itself permits to hunt whales for research purposes.

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Science – 10 giugno 2014

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Worsening ocean acidification threatens Alaska fisheries

di Xochitl Rojas-Rocha

A new study finds that Alaska fisheries are particularly vulnerable to the effects of ocean acidification as the region’s seas continue to sour.

The catch from Alaska fisheries—which accounted for 50% of the United States’ total catch in 2009—is part of a complex food web that relies on delicate levels of chemicals in the ocean. But the pH levels in the four seas that ring Alaska—the Chukchi, Beaufort, Bering, and Gulf of Alaska—has dropped by 0.1 units since the Industrial Revolution and is forecast to lower about another 0.4 units by the end of the century. Alaska’s cold waters naturally absorb more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere than warmer waters do, and its upwelling currents bring more acidic waters to the surface, making it harder for organisms like mollusks to form their shells.

Meanwhile, a series of laboratory studies have shown that key shellfish and finfish species—and the microorganisms they eat—could be negatively harmed by those acidified waters, facing risks to their shells or metabolic systems.

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Science – 29 luglio 2014

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Has the expansion of Antarctic sea ice accelerated?

di Carolyn Gramling

Despite global warming, the fringe of sea ice around Antarctica is expanding slightly, in contrast to the marked decline of sea ice in the Arctic. Scientists have blamed this curious fact on various forces, from shifting winds to smaller waves, but a new study suggests a more mundane culprit: an error in the way the satellite data have been processed. The miscalculation, the authors say, might be making the sea ice increase appear larger than it is.

Sea ice cover—ice that’s floating free on the ocean surface, rather than on land—has been observed by satellites since the late 1970s. Satellite sensors use different frequencies and polarizations to distinguish ice from water, and scientists have developed several algorithms to then process the data, remove weather effects, account for ponds of melted water on the ice, and the like. Data based on one of the most commonly used algorithms, dubbed Bootstrap, were used in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC’s) Fourth (2007) and Fifth (2013) assessment reports.

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Science – 22 luglio 2014

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Blue whales being struck by ships

di Virginia Morell

Humans no longer hunt blue whales, but we’ve found a new way to put the endangered cetaceans at risk: plowing into them with our ships. After using satellites to track 171 blue whales that spend time off the west coast of the Americas over a 15-year period, scientists have fingered whale-ship collisions as a possible factor in why blue whale population numbers have remained low despite international protections.

The 171 tracked whales are members of what’s known as the eastern North Pacific population, which comprises about 2500 individuals. (There are about 10,000 blue whales worldwide.) “It’s an amazing and unprecedented sample size; there’s nothing like it for any other species of whale,” says Phillip Clapham, a cetacean biologist at the National Marine Mammal Laboratory in Seattle, Washington, who was not involved in the study.

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Science – 23 luglio 2014

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Watch: Massive crater opens up in Siberia

An image of the crater taken by an engineer in a helicopter. Photo: Screen grab

A baffling 80-meter-wide hole has appeared out of nowhere in Siberia, The Sydney Morning Herald reports. Is it a meteor crater, or signs of an underground explosion? Probably not, says one polar scientist who thinks it’s simply a collapsed pingo. Pingos are blocks of ice below ground that form mounds; when they melt, they can leave behind large craters. Because Earth’s temperatures are warming, researchers expect to see more and more of these holes in Arctic regions.

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Science – Wednesday, July 16, 2014 – 2:30pm

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Is Antarctic sea ice cover really setting record highs?

Tabular iceberg surrounded by sea ice in the Antarctic
(Credit: Eva Nowatzki, distributed via imaggeo.egu.eu)

New research suggests that Antarctic sea ice may not be expanding as fast as previously thought. A team of scientists say much of the increase measured for Southern Hemisphere sea ice could be due to a processing error in the satellite data. The findings are published today in The Cryosphere, a journal of the European Geosciences Union (EGU).

Arctic sea ice is retreating at a dramatic rate. In contrast, satellite observations suggest that sea ice cover in the Antarctic is expanding – albeit at a moderate rate – and that sea ice extent has reached record highs in recent years. What’s causing Southern Hemisphere sea ice cover to increase in a warming world has puzzled scientists since the trend was first spotted. Now, a team of researchers has suggested that much of the measured expansion may be due to an error, not previously documented, in the way satellite data was processed.

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EGU – European Geosciences Union

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Trillions of Plastic Pieces May Be Trapped in Arctic Ice

D. K. Perovich/CRREL; (inset) S. Sadri/R. C. Thompson/Plymouth University

Humans produced nearly 300 million tons of plastic in 2012, but where does it end up? A new study has found plastic debris in a surprising location: trapped in Arctic sea ice. As the ice melts, it could release a flood of floating plastic onto the world.

Scientists already knew that microplastics—polymer beads, fibers, or fragments less than 5 millimeters long—can wind up in the ocean, near coastlines, or in swirling eddies such as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. But Rachel Obbard, a materials scientist at Dartmouth College, was shocked to find that currents had carried the stuff to the Arctic.

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Science – 14 maggio 2014

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Some penguins are flourishing despite climate change

By Liam Quinn from Canada [CC-BY-SA-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Not all the penguins in Antarctica are on their death march. Whereas the chinstrap and Adélie species are declining because of melting ice and climate change, a type known as gentoo seems to be doing just fine; in fact, it’s thriving, ABC News reports. According to researchers, the species is increasing in both number and geographical locations. They suspect the gentoo penguin can adapt easier than others because its diet isn’t as rigid and because of its ability to breed earlier and alter its life cycle if necessary.

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ABC News – 07 luglio 2014

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Death march of the penguins

Stephanie Jenouvrier/WHOI

Emperor penguin populations could plummet 19% by the end of the century, thanks—not surprisingly—to climate change, according to a new study. Emperor penguins breed and raise their chicks on Antarctica’s fringe of sea ice, and a constant amount of the frozen ocean water is vital to their survival. Too little sea ice, which harbors the penguin’s diet of squid, fish, and shrimplike critters called krill, means the penguins could go hungry. Too much ice and the birds have to travel farther to reach the ocean—a tough round trip for nonbreeding adults, but particularly for parents feeding their chicks.

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Carolyn Gramling – Science – 29 giugno 2014

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Antarctic icebergs decimating seafloor life

(Left) Ashley Cordingley/British Antarctic Survey; (right) Pete Bucktrout/British Antarctic Survey

A decade ago, the sea floor off the coast of the west Antarctic Peninsula (WAP) was a patchwork quilt of different colors and species. But now, icebergs are increasingly scouring the sea floor as they drift close to shore, fundamentally altering that rich ecosystem in the process. That’s the conclusion of a study reported this week in Current Biology. Each winter, the WAP sea surface freezes over, forming a skin of “fast ice” that holds back the bergs. But with climate change, the WAP is experiencing rapid regional warming, with fewer days each year of fast ice—letting the icebergs into the shallows more often, where they carve huge gashes through the habitat of the colorful, tentacled invertebrate animals carpeting the sea floor.

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Science – 17 giugno 2014

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Toddler penguins buddy up for survival

Traveling with a pal is often more fun than going solo. And it may just help baby king penguins live to adulthood. Soon after chicks are born, their parents leave them for weeks at a time to go fishing. With the adults away, the furry young king penguins (Aptenodytes patagonicus, pictured above) huddle in groups called crèches to keep warm and discourage predators. Hanging out in one spot helps returning parents find their young in a colony of up to 500,000 individuals spread over several kilometers. Bad weather or predators sometimes will force a chick to wander hundreds of meters from its crèche, but the baby birds are canny navigators and almost always find their way back. This homing ability is sharpened when chicks travel in pairs, according to findings reported online this month in Animal Behaviour. In the study, blindfolded pairs of chicks were carried 140 meters away from their crèche and placed in a walled-off arena. Each chick was fitted with a GPS “flipperband” and spun gently to disorient it. After the walls were removed, the chicks were tracked as they waddled home.

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Science – 20 giugno 2014

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Groenlandia – C’è vita sotto il ghiaccio

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L’Espresso – 19 giugno 2014

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Ma sulla caccia alle balene nessuna retromarcia

Libero – 10 giugno 2014

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L’ennesimo atto di copia e incolla di “icone artiche” – questa volta la soluzione abitativa degli inuit nel periodo nomade della loro lunga storia – ad uso del consumismo più bieco. Puro NON SENSE!

Snowbombing festival, Mayrhofen:
where sleep comes at a premium

Snowbombing, Mayrhofen’s electronic music festival, offers a unique blend of hedonism and fresh mountain air

FThe alarm sounds rudely, interrupting my much-needed sleep. I stir, and with a sigh roll over to glance at my phone. It’s 8am. 8am? But I’ve only been asleep for three hours. My ears are ringing, my mouth tastes like a distillery and everything aches – the combined result of a hard day’s snowboarding followed by techno shuffling until four in the morning. Ordinarily, you don’t have to be up at 8am at a festival.
But this is no ordinary festival. This is Snowbombing. Where you spend the nights pogoing to some of the world’s biggest DJs and bands in mountain-top venues three hours before dragging yourself out of bed to catch the first lift to the slopes for a day of spring skiing or snowboarding in the April sunshine.

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IGLOO HOTEL

For an unforgettable experience, spend a fun night with your friends or a romantic night with your partner in an igloo at 2,000 meters above sea level! Take advantage of this unique opportunity and book one of our popular White Lounge Packages now. The Basic Package is for up to four people, the Romance Package for two.
From Wednesday to Sunday after sunset, the White Lounge transforms into a comfy igloo hotel. Located on the Ahorn Plateau near the Ahornbahn mountain station, the seven igloo suites accommodate up to 28 guests. Spend a night at the Igloo Hotel and you’re sure to have the time of your life. Last accommodation bookable on 5th April 2014.

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Clima, colpa (quasi) certamente nostra

L’Onu: c’è il 95-100% delle probabilità che l’uomo sia responsabile del riscaldamento

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Corriere della Sera – 28 settembre 2013

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Polar Bear Evolution Was Fast and Furious

Gli orsi polari si sono evoluti dagli orsi bruni? Quando e come?
Recenti studi di genetica applicati agli orsi (bianchi e bruni) tentano di ricostruire la storia dell’evoluzione del grande plantigrado…

For polar bears, being tubby is a way of life. Fat can make up 50% of their body weight; the blubber-laden seals they eat make bacon look downright healthy. Now, a new, extensive comparison of the genomes of polar bears and their closest relative, the brown bear, has revealed how polar bears survive such unhealthy diets.

The work also suggests that the bears evolved these changes relatively quickly, likely because they had to adapt to extreme conditions that forced them to switch to a diet that would be toxic to other mammals. “It’s a schoolbook example of evolution,” says Eske Willerslev, an evolutionary geneticist at the University of Copenhagen who helped the lead the research.

Brown bears—some of which are called grizzlies—and polar bears are closely related and are even able to interbreed. In the past few years, researchers have used genetic information to sort out this relationship and to understand how polar bears thrive in the frigid Arctic, feeding primarily on seals and other marine life captured from holes in the ice. This work has included sequencing the animals’ genomes, which has indicated that polar bears are truly a distinct species that at times lived apart from brown bears and at times intermingled and interbred with them. But researchers disagree about when the polar bear began to split off from brown bears, with estimates ranging from about 600,000 years to as much as 5 million years ago.

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Science, 8 Maggio 2014

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Giappone – Prima caccia alle balene dopo il no Onu

Corriere della Sera – 27 aprile 2014

Anche i Giapponesi fanno i furbi e pare non abbiano ancora ben recepito il contenuto della Risoluzione Onu che vieta la caccia pseudoscientifica alle balene…

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La Cina va alla conquista del Continente ghiacciato

Nel 2048 scadrà il Trattato che impedisce lo sfruttamento dell’Antartide

La Stampa – 22 aprile 2014

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Japan Says It Will Resume Antarctic Whaling Next Year

Earlier this month, many cetacean researchers and conservationists rejoiced when Japan canceled its controversial scientific whale hunt in Antarctica in response to an order from the International Court of Justice in the Netherlands. Now, however, Japan’s Institute of Cetacean Research (ICR) says it plans to resume research whaling in the region next year, with a program that is “in accord” with the court’s ruling. But ICR’s move could be just a legal maneuver, some observers say.

ICR’s plans became public last week, after the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society (SSCS), an antiwhaling group known for harassing Japanese whaling ships, publicized legal briefs the research agency filed in a federal court in Seattle, Washington. (ICR is seeking a court order preventing SSCS from interfering with its fleet when killing whales in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary.) Although the documents provide few details, ICR says it plans to resume its Antarctic hunts beginning in the 2015 to 2016 season. (Japan has a second scientific whale hunt in the North Pacific that is not affected by the international court’s ruling.)

The news came as little surprise to those following the controversy. “It’s entirely consistent with what I would expect from ICR,” says Phillip Clapham, a marine biologist with the Alaska Fisheries Science Center in Seattle, Washington. Clapham has served as a member of the International Whaling Commission’s Scientific Committee, which for decades has been critical of Japan’s research whaling program.

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Science, 15 Aprile 2014

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La navigation dans l’Arctique va être
règlementée par un code polaire

L’expansion du trafic maritime
sous l’effet du réchauffement climatique menace l’océan glacial

Le Monde – 24 janvier 2014

L’Oceano Artico non resterà sempre nello stato in cui è nell’era presente, come molta parte del resto della crosta terreste e marina del pianeta. E questo rientra nell’ordine della natura. Ma non per questo si dovrà abbassare la soglia dell’attenzione di tutta la collettività umana allo scontro tra opposti appetiti delle grandi potenze economiche. I nuovi passaggi a nord-est e a nord-ovest porteranno benefici a chi, come e a quale costo?

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Benvenuta finalmente l’azione di stop alla caccia “scientifica” alla balena, messa in atto in data 31.03.14 dal tribunale internazionale dell’Aja. La caccia era operata dal Giappone nell’Oceano antartico meridionale in palese contraddizione con la normativa vigente in fatto di protezione del cetaceo.
Da tempo le operazioni giapponesi di caccia e commercio della carne e del grasso delle balene era nelle mire delle associazioni ambientaliste. L’efficacia dello stop è però merito quasi assoluto dell’Australia che si è fatta carico di questo importante obiettivo di protezione delle balene. Restano solo due Stati che consentono la caccia alle balene (Islanda e Norvegia), ma per quest’ultimo la situazione è più complessa come documenteremo in seguito.

Japan Ordered to Stop Scientific Whaling

With reporting by Dennis Normile in Tokyo

Japan has to stop capturing and killing whales under its whaling program in the Antarctic, called JARPA II, the International Court of Justice has said.

In a judgement issued in The Hague in the Netherlands today, the U.N. court has ordered Japan to revoke existing permits to catch whales for scientific purposes and to stop granting such permits in the future. The ruling is a victory for Australia, which filed court proceedings against Japan’s whaling in 2010, arguing that it breached international obligations.

In 1982, the International Whaling Commission (IWC) adopted a moratorium on commercial whaling, allowing the taking and killing of whales for research purposes only. Scientific catch limits are set by each country on a yearly basis, submitted to a review by IWC’s scientific committee.

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Science, 31 Marzo 2014

Scarica l’atto della Corte di giustizia di L’Aja contro Giappone

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Ucciso l’uomo che trovò il cadavere del ragazzo
perso nelle terre selvagge

Recuperò il corpo dello studente che ha ispirato il film di Sean Penn

Corriere della Sera – 16 marzo 2014

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How a Leopard Seal Fed Me Penguins

Photographer describes assignment that “will stay with me forever.”

di Brian Clark Howard

While documenting leopard seals in Antarctica for a 2006 National Geographic magazine story, photographer Paul Nicklen had an experience that he says “will stay with me forever” (see Nicklen’s photos). That experience has recently resurfaced and gone viral on the Internet, thanks to remixing and postings on Facebook and other outlets.

“Leopard seals are the most incredible animals I’ve ever had the pleasure of photographing,” he said. “When you get in the water with a wild animal, you’re essentially giving yourself to that animal because, as humans, we’re quite helpless and vulnerable in the water. You’re at the seal’s mercy. You’re at the predator’s mercy.

“Not only did the leopard seals not attack as some predicted they would, they fed me penguins, followed me around, and generally put on a nonstop show.”

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National Geographic, 11 March 2014

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L’anno della AURORE BOREALI

rivista Marco Polo – febbraio/marzo 2014

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Il magico Nord

rivista Marco Polo – febbraio/marzo 2014

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ADA GRILLI IN LAPPONIA NORVEGESE
PER LA FINNMARKSLØPET

L’8 marzo parte da Alta, in Lapponia norvegese, la Finnmarksløpet, la corsa coi cani da slitta più a nord del mondo. 1000 km tra i ghiacci, fino a 71° lat. Nord. Una sfida con la natura nel più pulito dei modi, con gli animali che nell’Artico rappresentano una garanzia di sopravvivenza. Niente a che vedere con gare devastanti come auto e camion nel deserto…
Ci saranno almeno 1500 cani nordici al nastro di partenza! Un vero grande collettivo ululato che esprime il fremito per la Grande Corsa.
Ada Grilli sarà lì, coi cani, coi musher, fino al traguardo. E dormirà vicino alle cucce e ai musher per cercare di capire forse cosa spinge gli abitanti della Lapponia a vivere per i cani in modo così simbiotico.
Ascolta l’intervista del 27 febbraio a Big Fish (Radio Popolare http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0CS7c0X_35E) e vedi quanto pathos nella clip del bellissimo filmato “Johanna Lumley in the land of the Northern Lights”, seguito da una galleria d’immagini concesse dal sito http://www.finnmarkslopet.no.

Clicca sull’immagine della copertina per poter visualizzare tutto il documentario

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La tempesta magnetica del sole
incendia le notti del Galles

I perche dell’eccezionale aurora boreale sul Regno Unito

di Giovanni Caprara – Il Corriere della Sera, 01 marzo 2014

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Exxon Valdez Oil Remnants Still Fresh

Gail Irvine/USGS

Pochi ricorderanno il disastro ecologico lungo le coste dell’Alaska nel 1989. Sono passati 25 anni e il petrolio è ancora lì, non si dissolve, non evapora, non sparisce. Fu un grande drammatico evento catastrofico per la natura, seguito da altri grandi, drammatici eventi catastrofici. Ma l’uomo non impara mai dai suoi errori?

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Science, 28 February 2014

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U.S. Antarctic Scientists Still Reeling
From October Shutdown

NSF/WISSARD

The 16-day shutdown of the U.S. government last fall is a distant memory for most Americans. But its negative impact is still rippling through the current Antarctic research season that ends this month. And polar scientists will continue to feel its effects next year.
The shutdown, which began 1 October after Congress failed to pass a 2014 budget, had a domino effect on logistics at the National Science Foundation (NSF), which spends more than $300 million a year to support scientists working on the frozen continent. “We lost a good month of our normal season,” estimates Scott Borg, head of NSF’s Antarctic science program. “It’s an opportunity cost that you can’t put a figure on.”

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Science, 13 February 2014

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ScienceShot: Glacial Speed Record

Ian Joughin, PSC/APL/UW

“Glacial speed” may seem like an oxymoron—but consider the recent record-breaking pace of Jakobshavn Isbræ, one of Greenland’s largest glaciers. By analyzing satellite images taken every 11 days from early 2009 through spring of 2013, researchers found that the ice stream’s average speed in the summer of 2012 peaked at a whopping 46 meters (half the length of a football field) per day, the researchers report today in The Cryosphere. That flow speed, between 30% and 50% faster than the peak rates seen in previous summers, is the fastest ever recorded for an ice stream in Greenland or Antarctica, the researchers say.

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Science, 3 February 2014 11:15 am

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APP GRATUITE SULLE AURORE

Non ha senso guardare le Aurore sul pc dal divano di casa, mentre può avere molto senso scaricare le app disponibili e guardare la situazione sul Sole e nell’Atmosfera. Ci sono tempeste magnetiche in atto? Ci saranno Aurore nel breve in Lapponia? In Canada? In Alaska? Varrà la pena prendere un aereo e volare verso le Aurore?
Ci sono al momento ben 6 app gratuite per tenersi agganciati al fenomeno! Vai alla sezione Multimedia dove si trovano i link alle rispettive pagine di caricamento.

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IL POLO

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Anno d’oro per le Aurore Polari!

Tutto merito del picco dell’attività solare che cade giusto tra il 2013 e il 2014.
E’ appena uscito anche un numero speciale de Il Polo, rivista fondata nel 1945 da Silvio Zavatti. Contributi di Pal Brekke, Patrizia Francia, Ada Grilli, Maria Pia Casarini. Pagg. 72; inserto fotografico a colori. Per richiederlo: rivista.ilpolo@museopolare.it

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RECENSIONE
L’OTTAVA MERAVIGLIA

L’ottava meraviglia del mondo non sta in terra, ma nell’atmosfera, a cento chilometri d’altezza: si tratta di quel fenomeno che Galileo chiamò Aurora Boreale.

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Fotografare, febbraio 2014

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Il pittore Luigi Capizzi ha prodotto un’interpretazione della frase conclusiva del bellissimo libro “Zingari in Antartide” di Marcello Manzoni (Alpine Studio, 2012) : “Adesso in Antartide ho visto proprio tutto. Tranne le stelle” (pag. 217).
Eccola, per una “coda di godimento “del testo narrativo ma anche straordinariamente poetico di Marcello. Si tratta della tenda morettina con cui l’autore e il suo compagno di esplorazione antartica (1968!) posero i campi base sulle montagne della Catena Transantartica (Valli Secche per l’esattezza), sullo scenario della “Notte stellata” di Van Gogh (http://luigicapizzi.com).

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RECENSIONE

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http://www.ambienteeuropa.info/sito/news_dettaglio.php?id=1445

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IL POLO NORD E’ MIO

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Sette, 27 dicembre 2013

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Non ammantiamo di scienza
operazioni commerciali in Antartide!

di Ada Grilli

La vicenda della M/N Akademik Shokalsiy intrappolata tra i ghiacci in prossimità della costa antartica ha svelato aspetti assai discutibili sia della missione stessa, sia delle operazioni di “soccorso”, nonché una pericolosa superficialità e imprecisione dei media. E chiarisco meglio il mio pensiero.

La missione: NON era affatto scientifica, e i “presunti” scienziati a bordo altro non erano che giovani (laureati, certo, forse anche dottorati o dottorandi) addetti alle conferenze serali per i viaggiatori/turisti durante la navigazione. Lo scopo della navigazione era di rifare la rotta di un esploratore “vero” di inizio secolo scorso (Sir D. Mawson). Ma qui di storico c’era solo il percorso. Il capo spedizione si è profuso in una lunga mail per difendere la sua posizione, che dall’estero è stata messa in discussione senza mezzi termini. Noi no, ci siamo bevuti le notizie d’agenzia, e… occupiamoci piuttosto dei problemi nostrani che sono tanti.
L’incidente o imprevisto, se si preferisce chiamarlo così, della chiusura dei ghiacci marini, benché non frequente in questa stagione in Antartide, era pur sempre da mettere in conto. Natura non facit scontum! E la scienza non arriva a fare previsioni certe. Se vai tra i ghiacci antartici con una nave solo a scafo rinforzato – come tutte le navi passeggeri che ci vanno – e nemmeno rompighiaccio, puoi restare serrato nella morsa dei ghiacci e devi essere preparato a sopravvivere, con viveri e mezzi. Così le spedizioni autenticamente scientifiche, in passato. Le operazioni di soccorso sono state uno show di potenza tecnologica e forse anche politica, che si poteva evitare. La vittoria della tecnologia cinese (un grosso elicottero) è stata una dimostrazione di supremazia tecnologica e strategica. Bravi cinesi, ma attenzione! La Cina sta costruendo la sua quarta base “di ricerca” in Antartide con ciò surclassando molte nazioni ugualmente potenti e danarose. Ce n’è bisogno davvero di quattro basi cinesi in Antartide?

I media: si è letto di tutto, ma lo svarione più grave era che la nave era intrappolata al Polo Nord! (notizia di Rai1). Quello che faceva notizia era la sceneggiata dei passeggeri che si autoriprendevano coi telefonini, che trivellavano il ghiaccio per far finta di fare ricerca, che facevano la catena umana per preparare la pista di atterraggio dei soccorsi, e soprattutto i pinguini in primo piano, così carini…

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RECENSIONE

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L’Espresso, 19 Dicembre 2013

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Udite udite!! I media si risvegliano e finalmente ci fanno sapere – come Io Donna di sabato 7 dicembre – che ci sono anche le Aurore Polari tra le cose belle del Pianeta. Non per niente io il mio libro l’ho titolato: Ottava meraviglia del Pianeta.
A essere precisi (ah, i giornalisti!) bisognava aggiungere nell’elenco la Groenlandia, l’Islanda, la Siberia, poi citare l’autore della foto, poi non scrivere “tempeste magnetiche hanno sospinto nel cosmo…” ma “…ogni tanto, imprevedibilmente sospingono nel cosmo…”, e infine evitare il refuso “anima a corpo”. Sarò pignola, ma guai a chi pasticcia con le Aurore! La foto comunque è assai bella.
Ada Grilli

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Io Donna, 07 Dicembre 2013

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App di VisitNorway

C’è qualcosa di nuovo per chi vuole tenersi aggiornato sull’Aurora boreale, in previsione di andare di persona. La Norvegia, ha appena prodotto una app gratuita per I-phone e Android, molto ben fatta. Si chiama “Norway Lights”, è in inglese e con bella grafica. Inoltre nel sito http://www.visitnorway.it si trovano informazioni utili alla pagina “Benvenuto in Norvegia. Il paese dell’Aurora boreale”.

Per maggiori informazioni consulta il sito: http://www.visitnorway.com/it/Games-and-more/App-di-Visitnorway/
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Groenlandia

 

L’assedio delle trivelle al paradiso degli Inuit

Addio eterni silenzi sulle infinite distese di neve, la Groenlandia come l’abbiamo conosciuta o sognata non esisterà più: era una delle ultime oasi incontaminate della Terra, ma è destinata a diventare la nuova frontiera della grande corsa all’uranio.

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La Repubblica, 29 ottobre 2013

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Despite End of U.S. Shutdown, Antarctic Research Projects Still Getting Canceled

20 October 2013 11:45 am

Credit: Adam Marsh/US Antarctic Program
Landlocked. Ecologist Stacy Kim, here diving in Antarctica in 2011, has been told her 2013 field season at McMurdo Station will have to be delayed until next year because of the U.S. government shutdown.

Wait until next year.
That’s what the National Science Foundation (NSF) has told benthic ecologist Stacy Kim, who later this month was expecting to assemble her 13-member research team in Antarctica to study its intricate food web. Although the U.S. Antarctic program that NSF runs is back in business, fears that the 16-day U.S. government shutdown would squeeze out research on the frozen continent have become reality for some scientists.

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La grandiosa natura svedese in mostra nell’ultimo film di Fredrik Edfeldt

La Svezia è presente anche quest’anno al Milano Film Festival tramite Faro (Sanctuary), l’atteso secondo film di Fredrik Edfeldt, che verrà presentato al Teatro Strehler il 13 settembre alle ore 17.

La serata si aprirà con una breve introduzione al panorama cinematografico e culturale di Umeå, situata sulla costa settentrionale della Svezia e Capitale Europea della Cultura 2014, a cura del regista sami Oskar Östergren che mostrerà il suo cortometraggio dedicato al popolo sami, “My people – the Sami people”.  I sami, l’unico popolo indigeno d’Europa, e la loro cultura, sono elementi centrali della vita culturale e delle tradizioni della regione, per cui svolgeranno un ruolo importante nel corso dell’anno Capitale della Cultura.

A seguire la proiezione del lungometraggio Faro. Colpevole di aver commesso un omicidio, un padre non sopporta di essere separato dalla figlia e, per evitare di finire in carcere, fugge insieme a lei nella grande foresta dove i due trascorreranno insieme la loro ultima estate di libertà a stretto contatto con la natura. Il film mostra la grandiosità della natura selvaggia svedese e  il rapporto tra uomo e natura, di vitale importanza per la cultura svedese. Gli svedesi cercano costantemente la relazione diretta con la natura dedicando molto del loro tempo libero in attività all’aria aperta anche nelle grandi città, da passeggiate nelle foreste per raccogliere bacche e funghi, al recarsi a lavoro in bicicletta o in barca a tutti i tipi di sport praticabili all’aperto.
Le attività all’aria aperta sono anche diventate un business turistico, ma mai di massa. Molte delle attività offerte ai turisti sono in piccola scala e hanno a cuore il rispetto per l’ambiente, infatti i tour certificati con il marchio ecosostenibile svedese Nature’s Best sono in constante aumento. http://www.naturesbestsweden.com/

http://www.visitsweden.com/svezia/Cose-da-fare-in-Svezia/Natura-Outdoor/

Alcuni degli hotel svedesi più conosciuti sono pensati come un’immersione nella natura locale, ad esempio il famoso Icehotel e il Treehotel (casette sugli alberi nella foresta di alto design scandinavo). Entrambi questi alberghi fanno della sostenibilità e del contatto diretto con la natura la loro attrattiva. Non a caso si trovano entrambi nella Lapponia svedese, una regione dove la natura è ancora selvaggia e dove l’uomo dipende ancora da essa. http://www.icehotel.com/  http://treehotel.se/
In Lapponia si trovano i grandi spazi, le grandi foreste, le alte montagne, i grandi fiumi che danno vita alle industrie idroelettriche e del legno. È una regione ricca di fauna, e la caccia e la pesca vengono praticate regolarmente da gran parte delle famiglie che abitano questi luoghi. La Lapponia è anche la terra nativa dei sami, il popolo originario di questa regione, che tradizionalmente vive di allevamento di renne. I sami hanno un rapporto simbiotico e sacrale con la natura che li circonda e la loro cultura è permeata di riferimenti naturali.

Nelle grandi città del Nord si sta riscoprendo il valore della cultura sami e si sta cercando di valorizzarlo e di integrarlo alla cultura svedese più urbanizzata. Un eccellente esempio di questo connubio tra cultura progressista e innovatrice tipica della Svezia contemporanea e l’approfondimento e rinascimento della cultura sami si trova ad Umeå, che anche per questo motivo è stata scelta come Capitale Europea della Cultura 2014. http://umea2014.se/en/
Per mettere in mostra tutte le sue potenzialità la città di Umeå offrirà un eccellente calendario culturale l’anno prossimo, che prevede sia l’apertura di nuovi musei e centri culturali, promuoverà progetti culturali innovativi spesso creati da giovani, darà grande importanza alla cultura sami e sarà incentrato sulle otto stagioni dei sami che hanno ognuna un significato particolare legato all’influenza dell’ambiente nella vita dell’uomo.

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Geologia – Il POLO NON C’E’ PIU’

testo di Ada Grilli

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L’Espresso, 15 agosto 2013

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EVENTI ED ESPERIENZE NELLA GRANDIOSA
LAPPONIA SVEDESE D’ESTATE 2013

Visto che le zanzare imperversano anche da noi, cade l’ultimo tabù per non andare in Lapponia d’estate. Io ci sono stata la prima volta nel ‘98 per quasi tre mesi per scrivere le mie guide della Lapponia, e sono tornata poi in varie stagioni. Grande nostalgia, ma quest’estate dovrò per forza tornare in Alaska. Passo il timone dunque a chi non c’è ancora stato. L’offerta da allora si è molto arricchita mentre per il sole di mezzanotte nessuna variazione. E’ sempre là, giorno e notte!

Scarica il pdf

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E invece andare in Antartide?

Per un viaggio in Antartide ci vuole curiosità e un po’ di risparmi, più che coraggio. Io dovrò tornare per i miei lavori di divulgazione sui temi “ghiacciati” e porterò con me alcuni fan. Vuoi essere uno di quelli? Ho condizioni speciali sulle tariffe esposte. E farò azioni preparatorie da settembre in su. Infine: l’opera di Shackleton Aurora Australis è in omaggio da subito per chi prende un’opzione.

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Stravaganze?

Iniziativa recentissima assai stravagante. I Poli pare attirino come calamite azioni a dir poco “strambe”. Come se sulle grandi distese di ghiacci gli adulti avessero bisogno più di giocare che di “pensare serio”.

Strachan caught the attention of the international art scene in 2006 when he embarked on a journey to the Alaskan Arctic to excavate a 4.5 ton block of ice, which he then transported via FedEx to his native Bahamas and displayed in a solar-powered freezer in the courtyard of his childhood elementary school. Titled “The Distance Between What We Have and What We Want,” the piece is both physically arresting and metaphorically resonant, referencing the fragility of Earth’s homeostatic systems, the strange poetry of cultural and physical displacement, as well as the little-known contributions of African-American explorer, Matthew Hensen. Produced with support from Manhattan’s Ronald Feldman Gallery and Brooklyn-based gallery Pierogi 2000, the ice work was also exhibited at Miami Basel and the Brooklyn Museum.

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Artico

 

Corsa agli ultimi giacimenti. Parte la battaglia del ghiaccio

“Ciò che accade al Polo Nord deve preoccupare il resto del mondo, è importante che il Consiglio Artico sia aperto al più ampio numero di protagonisti”, ha dichiarato ieri Ruth Davis di Greenpeace (proprio quello che scrivevamo tre anni fa sul manifesto…).

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La Repubblica, 16 maggio 2013

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Riparte la spedizione francese Tara nell’Artico

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Le Monde, maggio 2013

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ATTENTI ALL’ARTICO

Sotto i ghiacci dell’Artico la più grande pattumiera nucleare del mondo!

La Repubblica, giovedì 18 aprile 2013

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LEADING EDIZIONI – Le guide sulla Lapponia
nel Book Shop del Museo di Alta (Norvegia)

Le due guide sulla Lapponia, le prime e uniche in Italiano, a firma di Ada Grilli, sono ancora in catalogo e sono approdate ora anche al Book Shop del bellissimo Museo di Alta, Norvegia. Come spesso accade, nemo propheta in patria. La visibilità è maggiore all’estero che nelle librerie nostrane ormai decadute a banali supermercati.

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FRANCESCO NEGRI – VIAGGIO SETTENTRIONALE

I nostri autori sono preziosi e sulla rete rimbalzano le notizie. Si vedano gli apprezzamenti dell’opera di Francesco Negri, il primo europeo a raggiungere Capo Nord nella seconda metà del Seicento!


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Atti del VI Congresso degli Italianisti Scandinavi (Lund, 16-18 agosto 2001)

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Politici dei Paesi circumpolari a congresso il 12 marzo a Oslo sulle tematiche dell’Artico, che sono tante e delicate. Bisognerebbe tenere alta la guardia anche alle nostre latitudini. Quello che accade tra i ghiacci infatti non sarà senza conseguenze per noi popoli dei climi che una volta chiamavamo “temperati”.

Ada Grilli sarà a Oslo in presa diretta con l’evento.

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