Antarctic ice map may hold vital clues to global warming

Updated 18 October 2012
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Antarctic ice map may hold vital clues to global warming

SYDNEY: Scientists have produced the first three dimensional map of the surface beneath Antarctic sea ice, helping them better understand the impact of climate change on Antarctica.
The team of scientists from eight countries have used a robot submarine to chart a frozen and inverted world of mountains and valleys, allowing accurate measurements of the crucial thickness of Antarctic sea ice.
By combining the data with airborne measures of surface ice and snow, scientists can now accurately measure changes in ice thickness and better understand the affects of global warming.
“The ice thickness is regarded amongst climate scientists as the holy grail of determining changes in the system,” Antarctic marine glaciologist Jan Lieser told Reuters.
“If we can determine the change in the thickness of the sea ice we can estimate the rate of change that is due to global warming.”
Scientists have ice thickness data for the Arctic region dating back to the 1950s, allowing for analysis of changes in the Arctic Ocean, but similar data has been unavailable for the ice around the frozen Southern continent.
Lieser, who is aboard an Australian icebreaker in Antarctic waters, is part of the Sea Ice Physics and Ecosystem Experiment project, involving scientists from Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, New Zealand and the United States.
They are using a free-swimming robot submarine, which moves about 20 meters below the ice and travels in a grid pattern, using multibeam sonar to measure the underside of the ice.
Lieser said changes in sea ice thickness affects the formation of cold, salty Antarctic bottom water that drives global ocean currents and is crucial for sea life, from phytoplankton and krill to whales. “We can actually get a full 3D image of what we are measuring. It's never been done before and that's really exciting,” Lieser added.
The results will help set a baseline to establish how climate change affects Antarctic sea ice. Scientists will also be able to examine how changes to sea ice affect the ecosystem.


Google to prompt Android users to choose preferred browsers to allay EU concerns

Updated 20 March 2019
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Google to prompt Android users to choose preferred browsers to allay EU concerns

  • The European Commission last year fined Google for using its mobile software to block rivals
  • Google will now try to ensure that Android users are aware of other browsers and search engines

BRUSSELS, Belgium: Alphabet’s Google will prompt Android users to choose their preferred browsers and search apps, a senior Google executive said on Tuesday, as the company seeks to allay EU antitrust concerns and ward off fresh sanctions.
The European Commission last year handed Google a record 4.34 billion euro ($4.9 billion) fine for using the market power of its mobile software to block rivals in areas such as Internet browsing. By pre-installing its Chrome browser and Google search app on Android devices, Google had an unfair advantage over its rivals, EU enforcers said.
Google will now try to ensure that Android users are aware of browsers and search engines other than its own services, Kent Walker, senior vice president of global affairs, said in a blog.
“In the coming months, via the Play Store, we’ll start asking users of existing and new Android devices in Europe which browser and search apps they would like to use,” he wrote without providing details.
The company, which introduced a licensing fee for device makers to access its app marketplace after the EU sanction, does not plan to scrap the charge.
Google could be fined up to 5 percent of Alphabet’s average daily worldwide turnover if it fails to comply with the EU order to stop anti-competitive practices.