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

“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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