More than 50 international scientists met in Hobart from 22-25 October 2012 to develop a strategy to observe ocean structure and circulation and ice-ocean interactions in the Antarctic sea ice zone.
Climate signals indicate that the Antarctic sea ice zone is undergoing rapid and accelerating changes where warming ocean meets both the sea-ice and ice shelves. These changes have far-reaching effects through their impact on global sea-level rise and warming rates, yet oceans below the ice are amongst the least understood and most poorly monitored systems in the world.
The four-day Seeing Below the Ice Workshop gave scientists the opportunity to present the current status of polar observing systems in both hemispheres, discuss key questions, define problems and recommend the solutions required to develop a sustained strategy for observations in the Southern Ocean sea-ice zone.
A plan had been developed by the end of the workshop to outline the measurements needed, how to collect them and from where, in the sea ice zone to study ocean - ice interactions. A formal strategy will be developed in upcoming months.
Guest speakers at the workshop came from more than 20 countries and included Professor Walter Munk, physical oceanographer, whose pioneering research more than 50 years ago demonstrated the relationship between winds and ocean circulation. Professor Munk also celebrated his 95th birthday in Hobart.
The Southern Ocean Observing System (SOOS), an international program hosted and sponsored by the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies at the University of Tasmania, led the Seeing Below the Ice Workshop, which was sponsored by CSIRO "Wealth from Oceans Flagship", the Climate and Cryosphere project of the World Climate Research Program, and the Partnership for Observations of the Global Ocean.
Photo caption: The SOOS-led Seeing Below the Ice Workshop attracted international scientists from more than 20 countries for four days of talks and discussion.