Australian scientists in Antarctica have sent a robot under the sea and it has captured an astonishing video of the thick ice sheet revealing a very colourful and mesmerising new world that boasts starfish, pink algae, coconut shaped sponges and dandelion-like worms.
A team of scientists from the Australian Antarctic Division (AAD) was conducting their research in 0’Brien Bay which is located in the East Antarctica. Researchers sent a Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) that was equipped with a camera and a flash light under the water.
Researchers didn’t know what ROV has captured this time. Ater dumping the video in their computer and watching it for the first time stunned all scientists as they saw a very colourful and lively world hidden beneath the thick ice sheets.
Biologist and member of AAD, Glenn Johnstone said that we generally find penguins, seals and whales more attractive when we think of Antarctic coastal marine environment. However, the incredible footage shows another aspect of the beautiful underwater world which can appeal masses.
“It’s an area that we have been working very close to for a long time, but we’ve never actually dived or put any cameras down,” Dr Glenn Johnstone said. “It was a great surprise to find such a beautiful, vibrant environment.”
Temperature below the thick ice sheet is less that -1.5 degrees Celsius for all parts of the year and it becomes even colder in winters. In addition, the region has over 1.5 meters thick ice for at least 10 months of the year.
Scientists revealed that the thick ice layer also provides protection to the underwater world from the storms and other calamities which can damage the biodiversity.
Moreover, scientists are studying the reasons and effects of increasing levels of carbon dioxide in the regions. Researchers explained that the CO2 is more soluble in the cold water and makes water acidic which can lead to ocean acidification starting from Antarctica.
Watch the stunning video below
East Antarctica has always been a mystery for the scientists. For the recent study, researchers combined the climate modelling and satellite data and found that the east Antarctica is more vulnerable to melting. According to researchers, warm wind blowing in the region plays a major role in melting the ice and then blowing the snow cover which leaves holes and darkened surface. In addition, dark surface hidden beneath the snow cover absorbs more heat from the sun which further increases the temperature and increases the ice melt.
In a study conducted a year ago, a researcher team from Australia detected a massive conduit of hot water which was around 10 kilometres wide and 1 kilometre deep streaming in front of the western side of the Totten Glacier. During further research, they found this warm water channel to cause the glacier melting rapidly. Recently, scientists, with the aim to find how warm water is affecting one of the world’s largest glaciers, and triggering the ice to be softening conducted the new research and the result is what, they have been expecting since a long.
The scientists have discovered that tempered sea water is reaching the hole of the Antarctic through a waterway and the temperatures of the water are causing the ice shelf to melt at the point where it falls on the ground.