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emily he

on 15 January 2014

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Under the surface
The journey from Victoria to Antarctica, and wherever else the wind takes me.
With the rapid disappearance of the ice caps, many of the species living on the peninsula are being threatened by habitat loss and warmer waters. We, as IAR (International Animal Research) will study the impacts of climate change at the south pole. Most of the focus for this project will be on the Adelie penguins, whose numbers have been halved in the last 50 years. We will also be aiding Virgin Airlines as part of the research team for their future plans in space exploration. I, Emily He, am experienced explorer. I will be acting as the project manager, and will plan the trip. I will also be leading the expedition through whatever obstacles we may face in the future.

Important Points
Our knowledge in science is what drives our expedition. Without it, we would be exploring aimlessly. Our knowledge in these fields will help keep us safe from any possible dangers and aid us in many ways such as transportation and our basic human needs - survival in an extreme environment such as Antarctica requires vast scientific knowledge. Our journey is very much happening to discover how our ecological footprint (a contributor to global warming) is effecting this fragile environment. Everything we're doing during this expedition is environmentally friendly and creates a very small ecological footprint.
Radiation is present in everything, but in different amounts. Antarctica's radiation is largely UV rays, especially in the summer with 24 hours of daylight. The high amount of UV radiation is also influenced by the growing Ozone Hole, one of the greatest environmental concerns present in Antarctica.
The Ozone Hole has grown so large that it covers portions of South America and Oceania, scientists believe the increasing amount of UV rays may greatly harm human health.
Ozone, O3, is responsible for absorbing UV radiation in the atmosphere. Without it, harmful UV rays are let near the earths surface to cause things like skin cancer.
What role will displacement, velocity and acceleration play in our expedition?
My modes of travel will be plane, boat, and helicopter, and they all travel at a certain velocity. The acceleration of the modes of travels varies between time intervals, but after the vehicle starts, it should have a constant positive acceleration, which indicates that it increases its velocity, and when it slows down the vehicle has a constant negative acceleration, which indicates that it decreases its velocity, until it stops. There will be zero displacement in my expedition, as I will start and end in Victoria. If you're thinking of the displacement from Victoria to Antarctica, it would be 9,075 mi South from Victoria.
Climate Change
The Ice caps of the two poles are melting at a drastic rate, especially around West Antarctica and Greenland. In these ancient ice fields contains water that could overcome many islands around the world, and flood coastal cities.
Global warming has a domino effect. The algae population in antarctic oceans has been declining due to temperature hikes, which are krills primary source of nutrition. Climate change affects everything in an environment, from the bottom to the top of a food chain.
Plate Tectonics
What potential problems could arise on the expedition as a result of plate boundary around the chosen route?
Although Antarctica sits on the Antarctic plate, earthquakes are rare and usually of low magnitudes. Humans have never detected large earthquakes there, but that's because present-day Antarctica has never had long term human residents. There is always other natural dangers, such as glaciers caving, or hidden crevasses, and we will try our best to stay out of trouble, although there will be promises.
How will these problems be managed?
If however, there is a larger quake, we have experts on the team that can safely escort us to the nearest base or we will await rescue. Because Antarctica is such a deserted area safety might be a ways away, but eventually a rescue team will come. Scientists are based in West Antarctica, and we will have a team at the McMardo Station monotoring our GPS signals and watching for any distress calls.
We will be arriving in Antarctica in a number of ways. First, we will take a ferry to Vancouver, and from the Vancouver International Airport, fly to Santiago, Chile by passenger plane. Then we will fly to an island very close to Antarctica on float plane, and depending on weather conditions we will either helicopter or kayak to the continent.
Starting from Victoria, the difference between the two biomes is vast. Vancouver Island is Temperate rainforest, Filled with lush and diverse ecosystems with plenty of rain.
The difference in temperature is also shocking. Temperate rainforests usually range from 5-25oC
Antarctica, on the other hand, is a freezing desert Permanent Ice biome. Antarctica has only 2 flowering plants and marine mammals like the penguin and leopard seal, it's only predator.
Temperatures in Permanent Ice biomes range from 9oC in the summer to -89oc in the winter.
Vancouver Island is, for the most part, an urban environment. There's signs of human life everywhere you look, be it litter or road signs. We contribute to much more CO2 then Antarctica, although the Ozone hole is, in fact, above it.
Due to the Antarctic Treaty, many Nations have agreed to only use Antarctica for Science. However, there is only so many people that regulate this rule. Because of this, you can still take a cruise ship to Antarctica in the summer, although they advertise that nothing is left behind or taken. There's many research facilities on the Antarctic Peninsula, all occupied from scientists around the world.
Despite the fact that Antarctica is so isolated from the rest of the world, the effects of global warming and overpopulation are frightening.
Adelie Penguins numbers are shrinking due to habitat and food loss. Their traditional nesting areas are, in many cases, disappearing, and krill, their primary food source, are dying because of the rise in sea temperature.
The ice sheet is also melting, and if it does melt completely it will raise the sea level by 60 meters!
Victoria, BC
Santiago, Chilie
Antarctica is an Icy desert. There's very few biotic features, and those currently residing on the ice block's numbers are dwindling.
Because of this, we need to bring all of our own food.
Travel is defiantly going to be tricky. The landscape of Antarctica is constantly changing, with the winds, called Katabatics, pushing the powdery snow around. Eventually, the snow gets compressed so mu9ch it turns into solid ice.
There's also many crevasses, glaciers and areas of rough terrain to be aware of. We will be lead by several experienced mountain explores/climbers, and our crew is all highly trained for any dangers that lye ahead in Antarctica.
The real danger is what happens after one of our crew gets injured, or if we get caught in a blizzard. We would most likely be isolated, and soon freeze to death. Because of this, we have to organize our own rescue crew, to save us if we ever enter a dangerous situation.
Antarctica is the highest, driest and coldest continent on the planet and is ringed by the stormiest ocean. It is not only travel across it that will be difficult, but Antarctica is not the easiest place to get to. Depending on the weather, we may be kayaking from a small island near Antarctica, or taking a float plane to the shore.
While traveling across a biome, what impacts, on biotic and abiotic features, do humans make?
How do biotic and abiotic features of a biome affect life & travel across it?
These two scientists are pictured in a "white-out" condition, where it is hard to determine the difference between up and down. This loss of orientation is similar to that of outer space, and our sponsor Virgin Airlines is interested on the effects it has on the human mind.

Anywhere IAR goes, we try and have very little environmental footprints. Anything we bring to Antarctica, we take back. We strongly follow the phrase "take only pictures, leave only footprints." The only things we'll be taking are samples of the ice and water for scientific purposes.
Antarctica is, however, an extremely fragile environment. We will try to not leave any traces of pollution or waste, as there is no waste disposal or sewage systems on the continent.
Antarctica, being Isolated from humans for thousands of years, is and excellent for detecting differences in atmosphere and ice core chemistry.
Research there could provide crucial information about climate change
The pristine air bores deep into the layers of ice, some 800 000 years old, and holding chemical traces of past climate change.
Another huge concern that is connected to chemistry is the growing Ozone Hole.
The thinning is caused by green house gases such as chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), halons, methyl bromide, carbon tetrachloride, and methyl chloroform which break down in the troposphere due to UV rays. These broken down greenhouse gases release Chlorine and Bromine molecules, which destroy the Ozone.
The Good
"Good" Ozone is found naturally in the Stratosphere. It is produced by lightning, and because the molecules are triangle shaped can deflect harmful radiation from entering the earths atmosphere. Scientists estimate that one chlorine atom can destroy 100,000 "good" ozone molecules.
The Bad
"Bad" Ozone is a pollutant, and is a main component of urban smog. This ground-level Ozone damages crops and other plants. The Troposphere generally extends to a level about 6 miles up, and is filled with "Bad" Ozone. The Stratosphere is the level after the Troposphere and where the "good" Ozone is.
The Ugly
Overexposure to UV is believed to be contributing to the increase in melanoma, the most fatal of all skin cancers. Since 1990, the risk of developing melanoma has more than doubled.
The increasing amount of UV rays can also cause other cancers and immune system deficiencies. Humans, however, are not the ones effected by the decrease of Ozone in the Stratosphere, as it can also damage crops and even phytoplankton.
There is, however, solutions to the thinning of the Ozone layer. Less and less CFCs are put into the atmosphere anually because of warning labels and bans. Scientists predict that the ozone layer should fully repair itself by 2050.
The flight from Vancouver to Santiago will take 18 hours, and we will be
traveling 6 556 miles (10 551 km). The Velocity of our plane will be approximately 600 km/hr. The plane would accelerate from an initial velocity of 0 km/hr to a final velocity of 600 km/hr so the change in velocity would be 600 km/hr. The take off time varies from plane to plane, but let's say it takes 5 minutes for the plane to reach 600 km/hr. If I would want to calculate the acceleration of the plane, it would look like this:
acceleration = (600km/hr) / 5m = 120 km/(hr*m) * (1/60 h/m) =
120/60 mi/s² = 2km/s²
What impact will the expedition have on climate change?
Although we try to minimize our footprint, we can't make it disappear. We will however, have a tremendous impact on climate change in a positive way. The research we do will be seen by the world, and hopefully people will start to lise that every person matters. When you litter, don't think that it's just one person, because imagine our lives if NONE of us ever put trash in the bin. Not a very pretty picture. Sooner or later though, the winds will carry our trash into the oceans, and then to Antarctica and other environments with no permanent human inhabitants, and etc, there is sins of people every where. Our old six pack holders might mean a fun Friday night for us, but it could also end up killing a penguin continents away.
How will climate change affect the expedition?
Climate change is, like I have written in the past, what drives our expedition. Climate change effects everybody and everything, even in Antarctica... No, especially in Antarctica. A major worry is the West Antarctic ice sheet, one that global warming has effected greatly. Scientists are concerned that the sheet will disintegrate, causing a 3.3 m rise in sea levels around the world. If the entire sheet were to melt, it would cause a 4.8 metre rise.
For penguins like the Adelie the rise in sea temperature has caused their population to deteriorate, but for the chinstrap penguins who prefer the warmer weather, the rise in temperature has proved to be beneficial.
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