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New publication on Antarctic Sea Ice #3: Trends and Future Projections

Wednesday, September 14th, 2022


A new publication on trends and future projections of Antarctic Sea Ice has just been published on the Portal.

Click here to access the Information Summary.

This summary is the third article in a series on Antarctic Sea Ice. Read Antarctic Sea Ice #1 and Antarctic Sea Ice #2 here.

Since reliable and continuous satellite records began in 1979, there have been strong regionally- and seasonally-varying patterns of change and variability in sea-ice extent around Antarctica (Fig. 1) – in contrast to a largely uniform loss of sea ice across the Arctic. Notably, the region west of the Antarctic Peninsula to the eastern Ross Sea has experienced significant sea ice loss in concert with a strengthening of the Amundsen Sea Low and increased warm northerly winds. On the western Peninsula, the sea ice loss and associated regional warming has led to dramatic and complex ecosystem change (see Antarctic Sea Ice #2) and has also been implicated in major ice-shelf disintegration events on the Peninsula (see Antarctic Sea Ice #1). Elsewhere, sea-ice coverage has expanded but with substantial interannual variability. The sum of these differing regional and seasonal contributions is a slight increasing trend in overall sea-ice coverage of 1.0 ± 0.5% per decade (or about 11,300 km2 per year) for 1979–2018 (Fig. 1a).

Since 2012, sea ice in the Antarctic has undergone rapid and unanticipated swings in its net overall coverage, to first record high (2013-2015) then record low (2016-2022) coverage. Determining the drivers and effects of these abrupt shifts, together with differing seasonal and regional contributions, is a major focus of current research. This represents a substantial challenge given the complex processes involved in ice-ocean-atmosphere interactions and feedbacks. But better understanding of these interactions and feedbacks is crucial to improving the representation and simulation of sea-ice coverage and seasonality in climate and Earth System models. This is pivotal to improving near-term forecasting and long-term projections of Antarctic sea ice and the effects of sea ice change on the coupled climate-ocean-biosphere system in the coming decades.

Antarctic Sea Ice #3: Trends and Future Projections” was written by Kyle Clem, Rob Massom, Sharon Stammerjohn and Phillip Reid.


New publication on biological importance of Antarctic Sea Ice

Wednesday, September 14th, 2022


“Antarctic Sea Ice #2: Biological Importance” has just been published on the Antarctic Environments Portal.

Click here to access the Information Summary.

This Information Summary is part of a series. Read Antarctic Sea Ice #1 and Antarctic Sea Ice #3 here.

Antarctic sea ice, in the form of immobile coastal “fast ice” and the more extensive moving pack ice (see Antarctic Sea Ice #1), supports one of the most extensive and productive ecosystems on Earth and is crucial to the structure and function of Southern Ocean marine ecosystems that are highly attuned to its presence and seasonal rhythms.

Changes in Antarctic sea-ice coverage and seasonality, thickness (and snow cover depth) and properties have wide-ranging consequences with cascading effects across food chains. These effects include:

  • change in the phenology of phytoplankton and ice algal blooms;
  • shifts in species composition, distribution and abundance, leading to trophic mismatches in both time and space that impact ecosystem structure and function;
  • changes in the breeding and foraging distribution of sea ice-obligate predators such as Adélie penguins; and
  • the incursion of sub-Antarctic and/or invasive warmer-climate marine species.

Looking to the future, sea-ice coverage is predicted to significantly decrease by the end of this century in response to anthropogenic warming (see Antarctic Sea Ice #3), leading to significant reductions in ice-associated primary production and sea ice-dependent species – including Antarctic krill, Antarctic Silverfish, Adélie and Emperor penguins, Weddell and other pack-ice seals, and southern minke and other whale species.

Antarctic Sea Ice #2: Biological Importance” was written by Kyle Clem, Rob Massom, Sharon Stammerjohn and Phillip Reid.



New publication on the physical role and function of Antarctic Sea Ice

Wednesday, September 14th, 2022


We have just published a new Information Summary on the physical role and function of Antarctic Sea Ice.

Click here to access the Information Summary.

This summary is the first article in a series on Antarctic Sea Ice. Antarctic Sea Ice #2 and Antarctic Sea Ice #3 has also been published on the Portal.

Each year around Antarctica, sea ice transforms a vast area of the surface of the Southern Ocean, covering up to 19-20 million km2 at its maximum extent in September (~4% of Earth’s surface) before diminishing to 2-4 million kmin February. This remarkable annual cycle has an immense influence on the Southern Ocean environment and beyond. The sea ice also accumulates snowfall, which substantially influences its physical and optical properties, its growth and decay, and its interactions with other parts of the ice-ocean-atmosphere system.

Improved knowledge of Antarctic sea ice characteristics and ice-ocean-atmosphere-biosphere processes, interactions, and feedbacks is required to develop and improve Earth System models. Such knowledge is crucial to reducing current uncertainties in those models and to improve confidence in projections of the Antarctic sea-ice system over the coming decades and beyond (see Antarctic Sea Ice #3), including its impacts and coupled feedbacks. Improved sea-ice forecasting capability is also required to support safe and efficient shipping and logistical activities around the Antarctic continent.

Antarctic Sea Ice #1: Physical Role and Function” was written by Kyle Clem, Rob Massom, Sharon Stammerjohn and Phillip Reid.


New publication on ten scientific messages on risks and opportunities for life in the Antarctic

Tuesday, May 17th, 2022

© Ryan Reisinger


A new Information Summary on ten main scientific messages on risks and opportunities for life in the Antarctic has just been published.

Click here to access the Information Summary.

The summary was initiated by the SCAR scientific research programme “Antarctic Thresholds – Ecosystem Resilience and Adaptation” (AnT-ERA, 2013-2021). 26 experts synthesized knowledge on impacts and risks of climate-change on biological processes and ecosystem functions in the Antarctic.

The ten main scientific messages that emerged addressed (1) accelerating marine and terrestrial biogeochemical cycles, (2) response to ocean acidification, (3) ecological changes in climate change hot spots, (4) unexpected dynamism of marine seafloor communities, (5) biodiversity shifts, (6) low temperature limitation of protein synthesis, (7) life intrinsically linked to changing sea ice conditions, (8) pollution, (9) genetically distinct terrestrial populations under threat, and (10) newly discovered habitats.

Ten scientific messages on risks and opportunities for life in the Antarctic” was written by Julian Gutt, Enrique Isla, José C. Xavier, Byron J. Adams, In-Young Ahn, C.-H. Christina Cheng, Claudia Colesie, Vonda J. Cummings, Huw Griffiths, Ian Hogg, Trevor McIntyre, Klaus M. Meiners, David A. Pearce, Lloyd Peck, Dieter Piepenburg, Ryan R. Reisinger, Grace K. Saba, Irene R. Schloss, Camila N. Signori, Craig R. Smith, Marino Vacchi, Cinzia Verde and Diana H. Wall


SCAR appoints new Antarctic Environments Portal Editor

Friday, December 3rd, 2021

The Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr Keith Reid as Antarctic Environments Portal Editor.

Keith Reid webDr Keith Reid is a marine scientist with a passion for conservation and education. From 2008 to 2021 he was the Science Manager at the Secretariat of the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR). Prior to moving to CCAMLR Keith was a research scientist with the British Antarctic Survey (1991 – 2007) where he was project leader for the Ocean Ecosystems and Management programme and also completed a secondment as a polar science and policy advisor to the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office. He has PhD from Liverpool University, is an author of over 80 peer-reviewed publications and was formerly the editor of the journal CCAMLR Science.

Keith’s work focuses on the use of science in conservation of the Antarctic and on the interface of science and policy, including many years of participation in CCAMLR, the Committee for Environmental Protection and the Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meetings. He is also an Adjunct Professor at the College of Marine Sciences, Shanghai Ocean University and an Adjunct Research Associate at the University of Tasmania.

He lives in Tasmania, likes to try to keep fit and spend time birdwatching (with the emphasis on trying!).

Keith brings to the role extensive editorial experience, a deep understanding and knowledge of the Antarctic science-policy interface, as well as an excellent track record in scientific writing and preparing material for various non-specialist audiences. Keith will start his work on 1st December 2021. His email address is [email protected].

Keith will take over from outgoing Editor Dr Neil Gilbert, whose commitment and dedication made sure that the best available science knowledge was placed at the fingertips of Antarctic decision makers over the past years. We would like to thank Neil for all his hard work and wish him the very best for the future.

New publication on Leopard seals

Monday, October 25th, 2021

A new Information Summary on Leopard seals has been published. “Leopard seal (Hydrurga leptonyx)” was written by Tracey L. Rogers, Jaume Forcada and Douglas J. Krause.

The publication gives an overview of the range, habitat and ecology, management and challenges of the species.

Click here to access the Information Summary.

Brief Overview:

  • The IUCN Red List conservation status of the leopard seal is ‘Least Concern’. Nonetheless, sea-ice habitat loss, reduced krill stocks and increased fishing may combine to impact the species.
  • The last surveys of this species were in 1999/2000.
  • The leopard seal is the only animal among the Pinnipeds to hunt large vertebrate prey and yet also filter feed to eat small invertebrate prey.


Job Vacancy: Antarctic Environments Portal Editor

Wednesday, July 28th, 2021

The Antarctic Environment Portal is seeking to appoint a new Portal Editor.

 Title Editor – Antarctic Environments Portal
Date posted 27th July 2021
Application closing date 7th September 2021
Location Remote, can be located anywhere globally
Hourly rate Negotiable
Working hours 1-2 days/week, flexible working hours
Type of contract Contractor, 18 months with possibility of extension

ContextAntarctic environments logo logo transparent

The Antarctic Environments Portal

The Antarctic Environments Portal ( has been developed to support evidence-based management of Antarctica, by placing the best available science knowledge at the fingertips of Antarctic decision makers.

The Portal is an online resource of information on Antarctic environments that supports the work of the Antarctic Treaty System – in particular the Committee for Environmental Protection (CEP). Information in the Portal is unbiased, a-political and presented in a synthesised, or “policy-ready” form.

Since 1961 the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR,, an independent non-governmental body, has been the principal provider of independent, sound, scientifically based advice to the Antarctic Treaty Parties. The Antarctic Environments Portal provides SCAR with a mechanism to ensure continuous availability of timely, topical and up-to-date scientific advice to the Parties.

The Portal presents content in the four official languages of the Antarctic Treaty.

The Portal is hosted and managed by SCAR with funding or in-kind support provided by several Antarctic Treaty Parties. A Portal Management Board oversees the management of the Portal.

The Editor Role

The Editor has lead responsibility for generating material for the Portal (mainly by commissioning from external authors) as well as managing the editing and review process.

An international Editorial Group, comprised of volunteers, assists the Editor with the review of content for the Portal.  The Editor is responsible for coordinating the Editorial Group and works with the Assistant Editor and the SCAR Secretariat to manage the material posted on the Portal website.

Main Duties

The main role of the Editor is to manage the development of content for publishing in the Portal and the regular updating of existing Portal content, working closely with the Assistant Editor and SCAR.

Main duties include:

  • Initiating and overseeing the development of new articles for the Portal, including commissioning the translation of articles;
  • Initiating and overseeing reviews of existing content published in the Portal;
  • Facilitating and managing the editorial process and the Editorial Group;
  • Reviewing the outcomes of Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meetings (ATCM) to identify policy and management information needs in collaboration with the Chief Officer of SCAR’s Standing Committee on the Antarctic Treaty System;
  • Supporting the Portal Manager by contributing to, or spearheading, the drafting of papers providing information on the Portal for ATCM/CEP/CCAMLR1 meetings (in consultation with the CO of SC-ATS) and a range of SCAR internal meetings;
  • Ensuring effective information management, including maintaining databases of authors and other Portal metadata;
  • Working with the Portal Management Board to develop the strategic direction of the Portal;
  • Working to maintain diversity and balance in the authorship of Portal articles as far as possible;
  • Support SCAR to expand the uptake of Portal material both within the ATCM/CEP and beyond, for example by promoting the Portal at relevant events; online promotional activities and expanding the content of the Portal.

Key Criteria

  • A PhD in science or an environmental discipline OR equivalent work experience.
  • An excellent track record in scholarly research and scientific writing.
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills in English.
  • Experience in preparing and presenting science material for a non-specialist audience.
  • Excellent organisational and time-management skills.
  • Strong networking skills and ability to work constructively and collegially with a diverse range of people at all levels.

Desired Attributes

  • Experience in preparing and presenting scientific material to a policy audience.
  • Awareness and understanding of current Antarctic research efforts and interests.
  • Awareness and understanding of the Antarctic governance regimes and policy interests.
  • Good networks within the Antarctic policy and/or research communities.
  • Strong presentation skills with an eye for detail and a commitment to excellence.
  • The ability to meet tight deadlines.

How To Apply

Please submit the following documents to [email protected] by 7th September 2021:

  1. A curriculum vitae.
  2. A covering letter.
  3. Two examples of your writing (of which at least one should be an example of your communication to a non-specialist audience). We accept a range of material, such as blogs, opinion or editorial pieces. If in doubt, please contact us to check your material is admissible.
  4. Contact details of at least two references.

Finalists will be interviewed remotely. Please direct any questions to [email protected].

The job description and person specification can also be found here.

1 Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources