Bulgaria Antarctic Expedition Partakes in Climate Change Research
The Bulgarian Antarctic Expedition is involved in an international research of the permafrost environment in the Antarctic that will measure the carbon dioxide greenhouse effect.
The research of the frozen ground territories on the Livingstone island was launched a year ago and is a joint project of Bulgaria, Spain and Portugal aimed at identifying climate change in the Antarctic.
4 Spaniards, 2 Portuguese and 2 Bulgarians are on the research team whose goal is to measure temperature fluctuations and concentrations of carbon dioxide emissions in the Antarctic.
“Three exploratory drills have already been performed, two of which are near the Bulgarian Antarctic base. Our country has contributed to the project with both logistics and know how” explained for the Bulgarian media geologist Prof. Hristo Pimpirev who has led a number of Antarctic expeditions.
After 15 years of trial and error, Bulgaria has finally managed to build a meteorological station in the Antarctic. The money for its construction, about EU 60 000, has been provided by the Portuguese scientists who do not have a base in the South Pole and rely on Bulgaria’s logistical support for the project. The station is connected to a 10-meter drilling and can record in depth data.
Researchers from the Geography Department of the Sofia University and scholars of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences work in close cooperation with the Spanish and Portuguese colleagues to establish the level of carbon dioxide and the extent of global warming in the continent.
“Right now we are processing the data from the drills and the meteorological station. Next year, at the end of the project, we will come up with a report on the climate change tendencies in the Antarctic,” said Pimpirev as cited by the Bulgarian media.
However, according to Pimpirev, there are clear indications that the South Pole is subject to global warming. “Glaciers are drifting away, new rocks are being discovered, erosion has increased. All this inevitably impacts animal species,” elaborated Pimpirev.
According to recent observations the number of colorful flowering plants, which need warmer climates, has increased by 20%. The population of the Antarctic penguin – a species that inhabits glacier-free zones – has also surged. On the other hand, the number of the Adelie penguins that live on the frozen islands near the Antarctic coastline, has decreased by about 50 %.
“Satellite images also show how entire glaciers disappear from the face of the Earth,” explained Pimpirev.
The Bulgarian Antarctic Expedition is involved in a number of other projects aimed at defining the extent of global warming. Bulgaria’s Environment and Water Agency has funded a project for the research of penguin plumage – also an excellent biological indicator.
Bulgarian scientists at the Antarctic are among the most active, they mapped the Livingston Island in 2005, giving all landmarks Bulgarian names and added a dash of fun to their scientific discoveries by tying Spain in the first ever football game played on the continent.
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