Sea Ice Physics and Ecosystem eXperiment

The Sea Ice Physics and Ecosystem eXperiment (SIPEX) is one of Australia's major contributions to the International Polar Year (IPY). The expedition will explore the sea ice zone around Antarctica in September - October 2007 and will investigate relationships between the physical sea ice environment and the structure of Southern Ocean ecosystems.

The expedition will be aboard Australia's icebreaking research vessel Aurora Australis in the region of East Antarctica between 110°E and 130°E. Each day while the ship is in the sea ice zone, scientists will undertake experiments on the ice floes to learn about the thickness, snow cover and other properties of the sea ice, how it is affected by ocean currents and wind, the importance of the 'under ice' environment as a habitat for krill and the potential effect of a changing sea ice environment on the Southern Ocean ecosystem.

The SIPEX expedition is made up of 45 scientists from 8 different countries, each focused on a particular project to help uncover the mysteries of the Antarctic sea ice zone. We hope that you will join our expedition online, to learn about Antarctica and the sea ice zone, and to follow our daily progress reports and photos from 'the ice'. In addition to the scientists we also have a lot of other people who are essential for the expedition, including the ship's crew, technicians, helicopter pilots, a doctor, laboratory manager and two teachers. You can follow the education link to learn what the teachers are doing on the expedition and find educational materials for your school.

Video interviews: Check out the People section to see and hear what the researchers and teachers have to say about their roles and goals during the SIPEX voyage. Videos are available in English, German, French, Finnish, Chinese and Japanese. Several people are writing their blogs in languages other than English, so check those out as well.

Photo credits: Mike Craven (top); Kevin Neff (bottom)

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Australian Antarctic Division Bureau of Meteorology CSIRO University of Tasmania Cooperative Research Centre

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