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Government shutdown closes Antarctic research bases

Government shutdown closes Antarctic research bases

by KGW Meteorologist Rod Hill

Bio | Email | Follow: @kgwrodhill

kgw.com

Posted on October 9, 2013 at 7:08 PM

 

The top photo shows McMurdo research station, the largest of 3 bases in Antarctica maintained by the National Science Foundation which receives funding from the federal government, that is until the congress induced shutdown.  As a result of the mess in Washington D.C, orders have been given to the contractors who operate the research parks to pack up and head home.

There are many types of science done on Antarctica every year.  Atmospheric scientists monitor the air currents and the state of the ozone, geoscientists monitor the ice caps and sample the unique rocks on the continent, oceanic scientists investigate the waters around the land mass and biologists monitor life that exists in the frigid climate. Teams from the Smithsonian also travel to select locations on Antarctica, collecting meteorites from the ice caps, producing samples that have revolutionized our understanding of the solar system. 

One research project that has now been interrupted is being done by Hugh Ducklow, a scientist on staff at Columbia University in New York.  Ducklow's work includes an annual census of penguin populations, which have shifted significantly in recent years as the peninsula has warmed.  A number of remaining colonies of Adelie penguins in the study are so low that they could go extinct almost any time. 

(The information above was published by:  nature.com

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