International science at sea

03.18.2021 - By Science in Action

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In the UK thousands of scientists have signed open letters to the UK government protesting cuts to international funding announced this week. Abruptly and severely, the cuts may end hundreds of international collaborations between UK scientists and colleagues around the world working on health, climate change, disaster resilience, sustainability and many development topics.

Professor Jenni Barclay is a volcanologist at the University of East Anglia, and is one of the organisers of the protest. At the University of Cape Town, Dr Chris Trisos is the director of the Climate Risk Lab at the African Climate and Development Initiative, one of the authors of the IPCC 6th assessment, and has just learned his funding will be terminated, as the UK’s Royal Society must trim its output in this area by two thirds. Professor Otteline Leyser is CEO of UKRI – the UK’s main research funding agency, and will have to work out what will happen to over 900 projects currently under way.

Antarctica Iceberg A74 break away
Earlier this week German Research Vessel Polarstern released images from its remarkable circumnavigation of Antarctica’s latest iceberg, known as A74. This is the largest chunk of ice to break away from this sector of Antarctica since 1971, approaching the same size of Greater London. Dr Autun Purser describes a hair-raising voyage between the narrow gap left between the berg and the shelf, including the first images of life that have spent at least 50 years in total darkness, hundreds of miles from the open sea.

Image: Polarstern between Brunt and iceberg A74, Antarctica
Credit: RalphTimmermann

Presented by Roland Pease
Produced by Alex Mansfield

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