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ComputerWorld Antarctica: What do penguins do in the cold? Help model ice shelves

Dec 21, 2001, 13:05 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Rodney Gedda)
"One of the largest research organisations concerning polar regions is The Antarctic CRC, or Cooperative Research Centre. The centre, which is located at the University of Tasmania (www.antcrc.utas.edu.au), incorporates scientific research of both Antarctica and the Southern Ocean.

One such research project being conducted at The Antarctic CRC is the 2 and 3 dimensional modelling of the ocean beneath the Amery Ice Shelf which is approximately the same area as Lake Michigan. "We are using a 2-D model to simulate tides and a 3-D model to simulate the currents caused by the melting and re-freezing of ice under the shelf," said John Hunter, a CRC researcher in applied marine science and formerly a Principal Research Scientist in the Division of Marine Research at the CSIRO. It is hoped that this work will lead to more evidence in determining whether global warming is reducing the overall size of the ice shelf.

...As for why Hunter chooses to use Linux for his work, the reasons are many. "I can't really imagine how I would do serious modelling work on anything other than a Unix system of some sort. Modelling is not generally just a case of running a model - it involves considerable data manipulation both at the input and output end," explained Hunter. "I know there are several "MathCad-type" packages around on Windows, but they do tie one into quite a limited range of manipulation options." He also cited the flexibility of a command-line interface as crucial to the type of work that he does."

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