Iceberg sound the key to Antarctic changes

By Bridget Brennan 15 July 2009
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Listen to the audio helping scientists to keep an ear on changes in the Antarctic ice shelf.

SCIENTISTS ARE USING acoustic sensors to monitor significant changes in the disintegration rate of the Antarctic ice shelf.

The sensors, which are placed thousands of kilometres away, enable Dr Alexander Gavrilov and PhD student Binghui Li from Curtin University, WA, to listen to ice breaking away from the Antarctic ice shelf.

“We analyse the sounds of the breaking ice from two remote underwater listening stations based off the coast of Cape Leeuwin in Western Australia, and the Chagos Archipelago in the middle of the Indian Ocean,” said Alexander.

Each station consists of three receivers placed in the middle of the natural ocean acoustic channel, which have been there for six years.

Monitoring breaking ice a clue to climate change

“This is very promising research which may provide a practical and cost-effective way of monitoring the impact of climate change on Antarctica,” said Alexander.

Alexander said that so far there has been no evidence of climate change impacting the intensity of Antarctic ice noise, but the monitoring will continue for some time to come.