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ted:

SCIENCE NEWS! There’s life way, way below Antarctica — chilling out in a subglacial lake. Just a few weeks ago, a team of scientists confirmed that half a mile beneath the Antarctic ice sheet, a bunch of tiny, single-celled organisms are alive and well… in a lake boasting sub-zero temperatures and no access to sunlight. 

The discovery is groundbreaking, leading some to wonder if there might also be life on a similar place — Europa, one of Jupiter’s moons. 

John Priscu is one of the lead scientists behind the study. In a talk at TEDxBozeman, he explains what it’s like to be a scientist drilling though thousands of feet of ice while living in a tent in Antarctica. 

Watch the whole talk here»

Photos courtesy of NASA


Polar vortex chills linked to melting sea ice

Cold outbreaks happened a few months after unusually low sea ice levels

A new study says that as the world gets warmer, parts of North America, Europe and Asia could see more frequent and stronger visits of cold air.
Atmospheric forces usually keep cold air trapped in the Arctic. But at times it escapes and wanders south, bringing with it a bit of Arctic super chill.

That can happen for several reasons, and the new study suggests that one of them occurs when ice in northern seas shrinks, leaving more water uncovered.
Normally, sea ice keeps heat energy from escaping the ocean and entering the atmosphere. When there’s less ice, more energy gets into the atmosphere and weakens the jet stream, the high-altitude river of air that usually keeps Arctic air from wandering south, said Jin-Ho Yoon of the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland, Washington. So the cold air escapes instead.
That happened relatively infrequently in the 1990s, but since 2000 it has happened nearly every year, according to a study published Tuesday in the journal Nature Communications. A team of scientists from South Korea and United States, including Yoon, found that many such cold outbreaks happened a few months after unusually low sea ice levels in the Barents and Kara seas, off Russia.
Read more

Polar vortex chills linked to melting sea ice

Cold outbreaks happened a few months after unusually low sea ice levels

A new study says that as the world gets warmer, parts of North America, Europe and Asia could see more frequent and stronger visits of cold air.

Atmospheric forces usually keep cold air trapped in the Arctic. But at times it escapes and wanders south, bringing with it a bit of Arctic super chill.

That can happen for several reasons, and the new study suggests that one of them occurs when ice in northern seas shrinks, leaving more water uncovered.

Normally, sea ice keeps heat energy from escaping the ocean and entering the atmosphere. When there’s less ice, more energy gets into the atmosphere and weakens the jet stream, the high-altitude river of air that usually keeps Arctic air from wandering south, said Jin-Ho Yoon of the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland, Washington. So the cold air escapes instead.

That happened relatively infrequently in the 1990s, but since 2000 it has happened nearly every year, according to a study published Tuesday in the journal Nature Communications. A team of scientists from South Korea and United States, including Yoon, found that many such cold outbreaks happened a few months after unusually low sea ice levels in the Barents and Kara seas, off Russia.

Read more