Life on the ice edge: The shifting world of Antarctica

Ben Adkison, for CNNPublished 19th January 2017
(CNN) — Adventure photographer Ben Adkison's work takes him to some of the most far-flung locations on the planet.
While working for the National Science Foundation on sea ice safety and logistics at the US Antarctic research center McMurdo Station, the Montana-based photographer documented this unique and rarely visited landscape.
Here, he tells CNN about experiencing this ecosystem at the edge of the Earth.

Perpetual movement

The sea ice of Antarctica is a changing landscape. The ice moves every day due to wind, currents, tides and temperature changes.
It changes throughout the year as the dark Antarctic winter turns into the perpetual daylight of summer and back again.
Australian Antarctic Division sent an underwater robot beneath the Antarctic sea ice. It revealed a colorful world full of biodiversity.
There are two main types of sea ice: pack ice and fast ice.
Pack is the floating pieces and jumbles of frozen seawater that are often seen on Antarctic cruises and are probably what comes to mind when sea ice is mentioned.
The fast ice of Antarctica is rarely visited, but is just as active and interesting as the more nomadic pack ice.
Fast ice clutches the coastlines of Antarctica until late in the Southern Hemisphere summer when warm temperatures, northbound currents and southerly winds break it ice away into floes that eventually melt in the warmer waters north of the continent.
McMurdo Station, located 2,400 miles south of New Zealand, is the largest of the three Antarctic research stations managed by the National Science Foundation's US Antarctic Program (USAP).
During the first half of the summer -- October through December -- much of the science (and vital logistical work) carried out in the area focuses on the dynamics of the ice and wildlife found on the fast ice locked inside McMurdo Sound.
Click through the gallery above to see Adkison's photos of the region.
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