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Science again the focus of Antarctic operations

Antarctic research is again strong this year."

Antarctica is the last true frontier on Earth, with the largely untouched ice fields and snow-covered mountains serving as the site of important scientific research. It's then unsurprising that human presence is limited to small research bases in summer and tiny crews over the winter season.

Right now, a number of nations continue to conduct important studies on climate change, local marine life and weather.

New Zealand committing to research

Given New Zealand's close proximity to Antarctica, it's understandable that the nation has such a vested interest in research. Recently, a team from the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) unloaded a significant amount of scientific equipment, along with food and construction materials.

Supply ship Ocean Giant arrived in January in Antarctica with 468 containers. A total of 60 were earmarked for Antarctica New Zealand, with the remainder heading across to the United States Antarctic Programme.

"NZDF's support through the Joint Logistics Pool is a lifeline for our scientists and other staff working on the continent. The supplies are crucial for them to get through the season," General Manager of Operations at Antarctica New Zealand explained.

Australian science underway

As evidence of the significant amount of research currently underway in Antarctica, the supply ship Aurora Australis arrived at the first of several stations in the Southern Ocean, deploying Argo floats to provide real-time ocean observations.

Argo floats are quite capable research tools. Once they've been offloaded, they sink 1000m below sea level where they drift through deep ocean currents. Ten days later they'll drop down to 2000m metres and start rising back to the surface, taking measurements along the way. Then, the data is transmitted via satellite to researchers across the globe.

This first deployment area is located between two different ice shelves, Shackleton and West. Monitoring is highly important as this part of the ocean is home to a number of species including whales and seabirds.

Other scientific observations include the use of the Continuous Plankton Recorder (also known as the CPR). This tool is deployed behind the ship, where it sits 7 metres below the surface monitoring plankton.

Certainly, 2016 is the start of another strong year for scientific operations in Antarctica and the surrounding oceans.

Interconnect Systems has a comprehensive background in aerospace and defence engineering, being an industry leader for more than 20 years. It provides electrical interconnect products and solutions, including cable and wire harness manufacture. For more information on the backshells and cable harness solutions, contact Interconnect Systems today on 1800 812 214 FREE.

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