When Antarctic Scientists Ask for Seals Help

Seals that help researchers in Antarctica
Seals that help researchers in Antarctica

Antarctica – Scientists don’t know what to do. This unique event is in Antarctica, their compilation asks for the help of seals.

Reported by CNN, Mingu (06/16/2019), the scientists put a seal with an antenna on the seal’s head. That is to help solve mysteries in Antarctica.

Mystery is about how to make a giant hole in Antarctica. Some of the unique field partners were recruited.

In 2016 and 2017, an open hole appears called polynya. It appears in the Weddell Sea winter in Antarctica which eventually develops to around 30,577 square kilometers or roughly double the size of the state in the US, Vermont.

Poly receives new items. This large and frequent hole is a great opportunity for scientists to find out the cause, which is why these holes can appear.

Poly in the Weddell Sea, Antarctica
Poly in the Weddell Sea, Antarctica

A team from the University of Washington launched the hole with a combination of robots, radio equipment and seals with an antenna attached to the seal’s head. Their findings were recently published in the journal Nature.

“We think this big hole in sea ice, known as poly, is something rare, maybe the process is extinct. Meanwhile, 2016 and 2017 discuss us to restore it,” lead author Ethan Campbell said in a release.

“The observations show the new poly-poly because of a combination of several factors. One of them contains an unusual sea problem and a very intense complexity that rotates over the Weddell Sea,” he said.

Team of scientists from the University of Washington
Team of scientists from the University of Washington

The team found that, in order for the poly to occur, there must be a perfect storm. In the area where polynya opens wide open, there is an underwater mountain.

When encountering a strong storm causes a sea air vortex, stirring salty air from the deeper part with the base. When recovery occurs, the water falls to the bottom again and cannot form ice again.

What is the role of seals? The team spent sending data back to the beach when they swam into their poly.

Historically, seals have become an asset to the scientific research community. First, their movements help researchers gain an understanding of a particular environment or area.

And, they don’t seem to be too bothered by the radio equipment attached. It’s still in their heads and declared safe to use.

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