Artwork depicting change in Antarctic sea-ice conditions. Photo: Marte Hofsteenge. CC BY-NC-ND.
PhD student Marte Hofsteenge is exploring the use of art to communicate with a wider audience about scientific research in Antarctica.
The University of Otago glaciology and meteorology student, supported by the Antarctic Science Platform, is using observations from automatic weather stations and energy balance modelling to study the ablation (melt) of the Dry Valley glaciers and their meteorological drivers, as well as using weather forecasting tools and atmospheric re-analysis products to identify large-scale drivers of melt.
An example of her art is shown above - this print is a dry point, where images have been engraved on a tetra pack (drinking carton). It symbolises change, showing different stages of Antarctic sea ice conditions, transitioning from an almost-solid, bright surface to a dark, almost-open ocean with only little sea ice left.
Sea ice variability is a major focus of the Platform. Marte's focus is ecosystems research (Project 3), which aims to understand how environmental changes in the Ross Sea affect local marine biography, the regional climate and terrestrial ecosystems.
Marte Hofsteenge taking precise GPS measurements to create a 3D model of the cliff of Commonwealth Glacier in the McMurdo Dry Valleys. Photo: Tamara Pletzer
Left to Right: Peter Wilson, Tamara Pletzer and Marte Hofsteenge after maintaining and setting up new equipment on the weather station at Commonwealth Glacier, McMurdo Dry Valleys. Photo: Andrew Hefford