I’m constantly amazed by the beauty and diversity of life under Antarctica’s ice. Below is one of the best videos I’ve seen of this stunning natural wonder. The water is below freezing, at a heart-stopping -1.5°C (29.3°F)*, a meter of ice covers the surface for much of the year, and the whole ecosystem is plunged into Antarctica’s winter darkness for months at a time. Yet, look at this beauty. Look at all the creatures calling this alien world home. Watching this, I can’t help but wonder about all the mysterious places that we haven’t been. From the deepest depths under polar ice, to the watery moons of other planets. If this is what we’re finding so far, what else might be out there?
The original article can be found at: http://www.antarctica.gov.au/news/2016/rare-glimpse-into-antarctic-underwater-world
Transcript of video:
We’re diving under the sea ice in O’Brien Bay, south of Casey research station in eastern Antarctica.
This is a thriving, colorful world filled with sponges, sea cucumbers, sea spiders, worms, algae and starfish. Here we are at 30 m below the surface, where the water temperature is a chilly −1.5[°C] year round, and the sea is covered by ice that is a meter and a half thick for more than 10 months of the year.
This ice provides protection from Antarctica’s harsh weather conditions, and a stable marine environment that allows biodiversity to flourish. This important biodiversity is the focus of our research into the effects of climate change and ocean acidification.
Here at the Australian Antarctic Division, we’re working hard to ensure the continent remains valued, protected and understood.
*The salt in seawater lowers the freezing temperature, and prevents the water from turning to ice at 0°C (32°F), much the same way road salt melts the ice on roadways.