Research projects


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127 projects

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60 second science

We’ve challenged our science, engineering and support staff and their research collaborators to explain in 60 seconds what they do. Decide for yourself if they have met the challenge well!

Earths magnetic field

A High-Order Model of the Earth’s External and Induced Magnetic Field

For centuries people have used magnetic compasses to guide them on their way and explore new territories. This has led scientists to embark on their own journeys of discovery about …

Epibenthic sledge on the RRS James Clark Ross in the Bellingshausen Sea, Antarctica

A new polar research ship for Britain

A new research platform to put UK scientists at the forefront of polar science


A23 repeat section

Understanding Antarctic Bottom Water (AABW) and its affect on global ocean circulation.

The break up of Wilkins Ice Shelf

ABSCISSA Arctic Sea-Ice-Zone Blowing Snow

The source of sea-salt aerosols in the Polar Regions appears to be linked to sea ice surfaces, but exact details are unclear. Defining the sources is important given the critical …

Antarctica's hidden world - Antarctica's Gamburtsev Province

AGAP exploration of Antarctica’s hidden world

Exploring Antarctica’s ‘ghost mountains’



ANGWIN (in the Cornish English dialect ANGWIN means “the white”) is a concept that is designed to develop a network of Antarctic gravity wave observatories, operated by different nations working …

BAS field assistant Terry O'Donovan at Turtle Rock. Note assorted granitic erratics in the till at his feet. In the distance are Dorrel Rock and Mt Takahe (a 3500m-high volcano).

ANiSEED – AmuNdsen Sea Embayment Exposure Dating

This project will reconstruct millennial-scale ice sheet change in the western Amundsen Sea Embayment, Antarctica, using high-precision exposure dating.


Antarctic Climate over the last millennia

The Antarctic Peninsula and West Antarctica have warmed dramatically in recent decades, with some climate records indicating that these are among the most rapidly warming regions on Earth. The Antarctic …


Antarctic Digital Database

The SCAR ADD is a seamless compilation of topographic data for Antarctica to 60°S. It is the place to go to get data such as Antarctic coastline or contours for working in desktop GIS.

Antarctic seafloor life

Antarctic Seabed Carbon Capture Change

The ASCCC Project  has been funded by ACE (Antarctic Circumnavigation Expedition) to investigate, quantify and understand the role of polar and subpolar seabeds in the carbon cycle, particularly in response …


In recent years, adjoint methods have been used to gain unique insights into the ocean and cryosphere. However, the use of adjoint models on large-scale problems suitable for high-performance computing …

RRS James Clark Ross during a science Cruise

Arctic marine geophysics

This research focuses on investigating the glacial histories of Arctic ice sheets and ice caps using the marine geological record preserved on continental margins. By reconstructing past ice sheets, their …

AIMS project banner image

Ascension Island Marine Sustainability (AIMS)

The project Ascension Island Marine Sustainability (AIMS) – A Fisheries and Marine Biodiversity Project Ascension Island harbours globally important marine biodiversity, potentially representing a unique assemblage of western and eastern …


Atmospheric Data Access System

An online data access tool to discover, visualise and access atmospheric and space weather data holdings from the polar regions.

Martin Black on Anchorage Island, Anarctica

Automated lithological mapping using airborne hyperspectral remote sensing

Antarctica is a unique and geographically remote environment. Field campaigns in the region encounter numerous challenges including the harsh polar climate, steep topography, and high infrastructure costs. Additionally, field campaigns …

BAS Field Camp on the Rutford Ice Stream

Basal Conditions on Rutford Ice Stream

The Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets play a major role in controlling Earth’s sea level and climate, but our understanding of their history and motion is poor. At the moment, …

Glaciology field camp on the Rutford Ice Stream.

BEAMISH: Bed Access, Monitoring and Ice Sheet History

The polar ice sheets play a major role in controlling Earth’s sea level and climate, but our understanding of their history and motion is poor. It results that the biggest …


Bedmap Himalayas

Bedmap Himalayas is an ongoing BAS core-funded and grant-funded programme that aims to measure how much water much is stored as glacier ice in High Mountain Asia. In warm weather, …



understanding whats beneath the ice, opens new opportunities for detailed modelling of the past and future evolution of the Antarctic ice sheets

Surface snow exposed to sun light on the East Antarctic Plateau (Credit: Markus Frey)

Beyond Epica

A decade ago, the European EPICA project completed drilling a deep ice core at Dome C, revealing the close link between climate and atmospheric greenhouse gases over the past 800,000 …

Sea smoke at the edge of the fast ice in the Bellingshausen Sea.

Blowing snow and sea ice

The source of sea salt aerosols in the polar regions appears to be linked to sea ice surfaces, but exact details are unclear. Defining the sources is important given the …

Interior of old Base V hut, View Point, 1956. (Photographer: Hugh Simpson; Archives ref: AD6/19/3/D25)

British Antarctic Oral History Project

Capturing the reminiscences and memories of those involved in British polar science

Antarctic clam shell


Pushing forward our understanding of calcium production in the marine environment


Cambridge Centre for Climate Science

CCfCS promotes interdisciplinary research in climate science across the wide range of departments and institutes in Cambridge.

BAS Marine Assistant Terri Souster, diving close to Rothera Rothera Point in Antarctica

Changing biodiversity

Baseline study to monitor how marine biodiversity will respond to climate change


Climate and Ice during the Last Interglacial

During the Last Interglacial (129-116 thousand years ago, ka) CO2 and global temperature were both higher than they were before human industrialisation. By examining Last Interglacial climate, we thus gain …

Scanning electron microscope (SEM) image of a section through the shell of the Antarctic clam Laternula elliptica

Cold Skeletons

Does the cold affect how animals grow? Are skeletons different in Antarctic marine species, which survive almost permanently below 0°C? It is well known that animals grow at different rates …

Continuous Plankton Recorder

Continuous Plankton Recorder

Contemporary research has shown that the Southern Ocean is warming. Summer surface temperatures have risen by more than 1 degree Centigrade in the last 80 years and a strong upper-layer …



visualising BAS polar data sets to create art works that engage, inform and inspire


Dating and modelling fast ice-sheet grounding-line retreat in Antarctica

This project aims to exploit the peculiar way in which ice flows to provide new constraints on the retreat of the grounding line – the line that separates grounded ice …

Recovering a multichanner streamer on-board RRS James Clark Ross in Antarctica

Depositional patterns and records in sediment drifts off the Antarctic Peninsula and West Antarctica

The biggest uncertainty in predictions of sea-level rise is what the contribution will be from the great ice sheets on Antarctica and Greenland as climate warms. The West Antarctic Ice …

Preparing rare earth element samples for analysis

Detecting rare earth elements with remote sensing

Rare earth elements (REEs) are a group of naturally occurring, chemically similar elements present in the Earth’s crust. Over the past decades these elements have become increasingly critical to many …

sunset in the Polar Regions

Discovery Metadata System

A web-based system to discover polar datasets collected by UK-funded scientists

Seals are 'higher predators' in the Southern Ocean food chain

EC Copernicus Marine Environment Monitoring Service

The Copernicus marine environment monitoring service provides regular and systematic reference information on the state of the physical oceans and regional seas. The observations and forecasts produced by the service …


EISCAT Science Support

The EISCAT science support group is a collaboration between the British Antarctic Survey and the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, funded via the National Centre for Atmospheric Science (NCAS) EISCAT, the European …

Electron Acceleration in the Radiation Belts of Earth, Jupiter & Saturn

Radiation belts of very high energy electrons and protons can form around some planets – at the Earth these large donut shaped regions in space are often called the Van …

Sea urchin (Sterechinus neumayeri)


European Marine Biological Resource Centre

BAS twin otter aircraft on the Antarctic ice sheet.

ESA IAP ArcticSat project

Situational awareness in the Arctic

EU Polarnet header image


EU-PolarNet will develop and deliver a strategic framework and mechanisms to prioritise science, optimise the use of polar infrastructure and broker new partnerships


Filchner Ice Shelf System, Antarctica

Understanding the contribution that polar ice sheets make to global sea-level rise is recognised internationally as urgent.  The mission of this five-year project is to capture new observations and data …

A fern fossil (Lophosoria cupulatus) from Snow Island. (Scale bar = 1 mm)

Geological Collection

Contains over 200,000 individual rock and fossil specimens collected from Antarctica and the sub-Antarctic islands and thousands of meters of sediment core from the surrounding seabed.


Geological mapping of British Antarctic Territory

Geological maps remain the most effective method of communicating large amounts of geological information. An ongoing project to compile over 50 years of geological field data into new geological maps …



An international project called GOCE+Antarctica- Dynamic Antarctic Lithosphere supported by the European Space Agency (ESA) was launched in late January 2016 as part of its Support to Science program. This …

Module H2 being towed to Halley VI site

Halley Research Station relocation

Antarctica’s first re-locatable research station will move to a new site by 2017

Cladonia sulphurina.  Factory Cove, Signy Island,  South Orkney Is.

Herbarium Collection

A collection of dried plant specimens from the Antarctic, sub-Antarctic and surrounding continents.

plateau of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet

Ice Sheet Modelling

The research of the ice sheet modelling group focuses on integrating observational data with dynamical models that describe how the ice flows in order to improve our representation of how …

JCR geordie lift - weddell sea pbu


physicists, chemists, biologists, economists, and sociologists from 21 institutes in 11 countries across Europe assess the rapid retreat and collapse of Arctic sea-ice cover

RRS James Clark Ross in Northern Marguerite Bay, off Adelaide Island, Antarctica


The EC-funded ICEMAR project is a GMES pilot service delivering sea ice information products directly to ships navigating through sea ice in the Arctic.

A marine sediment core split ready for sampling

Identification of glacial-time sources for Antarctic deep- and bottom-water masses

Over the past few millions of years, the Earth’s climate has switched between (cold) glacial and (warm) interglacial states many times. Although driven by long term changes in the Earth’s …


IMAGE Auroral Boundary Data

The objective of this project was to investigate whether magnetic reconnection in the space environment has a characteristic scale in space and time by characterising statistically the spatial and temporal …


IMCONet is an international Research Network that follows an interdisciplinary approach to understand the consequences of Climate Change in coastal Western Antarctica. A Network for Staff Exchange and Training, IMCONet …


Impact of global disturbances on evolution of polar life

Why does global biodiversity show such a steep increase just as climates were deteriorating?

Impact of Southern Westerly Winds and Circumpolar Deep Water on climate and marine ecology

The Antarctic Peninsula has warmed ~3°C over the last 50 years, approximately 6 times faster than the global average. Mechanisms for this accelerated rate of warming have been linked with …

Adult Limacina helicina from the Greenland Sea

Impacts of Ocean Acidification on Sea-Surface

  In order to assess the impact of anthropogenic carbon dioxide (CO2) on the oceans today we are investigating the effect of decreasing upper ocean pH on calcifying zooplankton. Pteropods, …

View of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet in Coats Land

Improving estimates of Antarctica’s contribution to sea level

This research aims to improve estimates of Antarctica’s contribution to sea level. Sea level is currently rising at approximately 3mm/yr. If we are to understand why it is rising and …

Scientist holding a slice of ice core. Trapped air bubbles form an archive of past atmosphere and temperature.


PI: Markus M. Frey Co-I’s: X. Yang, R. Mulvaney NERC Grant: NE/N011813/1 The ozone layer shields all land-based life forms from harmful ultraviolet radiation; and indirectly influences the climate at …

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iSTAR – Stability of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet

Science on the move – the mission to understand the stability of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet

Antarctic Ice Shelf lit by the midnight sun

iSTAR-A Ocean2Ice Processes and variability

iStar-B strives to better understand ocean and ice interaction, processes and variability


iSTAR-B Ocean circulation and melting beneath the ice shelves of the south-eastern Amundsen Sea

iStar-B studies ocean circulation and melting beneath the ice shelves of the south-eastern Amundsen Sea

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iSTAR-C Dynamical control on the response of Pine Island Glacier

iStar-C – strives to understand the dynamical control and response to change of Pine Island Glacier

Dr Robert Mulvaney with an ice core during the iStar traverse

iStar-D The contribution to sea-level rise from the Amundsen Sea sector of Antarctica

iStar-D will identify the potential contribution to sea-level rise, from ice locked in the Amundsen Sea sector of Antarctica

Euphausia superba (krill) from the Bellingshausen Sea continental shelf.  Euphausiid crustaceans use their thoracic appendages as a suspension feeding basket.  They are a very important source of prey to penguins, seals and whales and some fish.           

Images taken onboard RRS James Clark Ross cruise JR230 (benthic pelagic coupling cruise).

Krill Hotspots

Antarctic krill (Euphausia superba) are a key component of the food chain throughout much of the Southern Ocean. These small, shrimp-like animals occur in dense swarms, but their distribution is …



KRILLBASE is a data rescue and compilation project which aims to improve the availability of information on two of the Southern Ocean’s most important zooplankton taxa: Antarctic krill (Euphausia superba) …


Late Quaternary changes in the Westerly Winds over the Southern Ocean

In this NERC-funded project, we are generating Southern Hemisphere Westerlies (SHW) proxy records from each of the three major sectors of the Southern Ocean, focusing on subantarctic islands situated in …

BAS scientist checking one of the remote low power magnetometers. These systems can operate unattended on the Antarctic Plateaux in temperatures as low as -78degrees Celsius

Low Power Magnetometer (LPM) Network

Access data from the Low Power Magnetometer (LPM) network

Geophysics Data Portal

Marine Geophysical Data Portal

An interactive web tool allowing users to search for and visualise marine geophysical data collected on UK research vessels in the polar regions.

Marine Metadata Portal

Marine Metadata Project

The Marine Metadata Project aims to enhance the availability and accessibility of BAS marine data.

MASE header


Mars Analogues for Space Exploration


Mass extinction and biological responses to Cenozoic environmental change

Modern Antarctic sea floor communities are unusual as many shelf areas are dominated by suspension feeding organisms such as sea lilies, feather stars and brittle stars, with few crushing predators …


Meteorology and Ozone Monitoring

Long-term meteorological and ozone observations and data help determine the causes of climate change in the polar regions. Meteorology Meteorological observations are made regularly throughout the day at Halley and …


Microphysics of Antarctic Clouds NE

Introduction and Background The largest uncertainties in future climate predictions highlighted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate change (IPCC 2007) arise from our lack of knowledge of the interaction of …

Scientific Divers inspect epibenthic communities on Anchorage wall, near Rothera Research Station. Anchorage Island, Antarctic Peninsula

Monitoring climate change in action

Long term science We know that our world is changing due to man’s influence. But how is it changing? Some areas, such as the Antarctic Peninsula, are changing more rapidly …

The mountains of Svalbard taken of a flight from Longyearbyen to Ny Alesund.

NERC Arctic Office

The NERC Arctic Office, at BAS, manages the UK Arctic Research Station at Ny-Ålesund on Svalbard and is closely linked to the NERC Arctic Research Programme

Melt pools along the George VI Sound, Ice Shelf, Antarctica.

Ocean-driven ice-shelf thinning in Antarctica

By exploiting advances in ice sheet modelling, and new Antarctic-wide datasets, this project aims to predict how far and how fast the observed ocean-driven thinning of floating ice shelves will …

RRS James Clark Ross in the Amundsen Sea, Antarctica


Understanding the Ocean Regulation of Climate by Heat, Carbon Sequestration and Transports

Rough seas of the Southern ocean

Past Westerly Winds

The behaviour of the westerly wind belt (see Figure 1a) over the Southern Ocean during cold glacial periods has been debated for many years. These winds matter because explanations of …

Antarctica's hidden world - Antarctica's Gamburtsev Province

Polar Airborne Geophysics Data Portal

The NERC Airborne Geophysics Data Portal provides direct access to airborne survey data.

Hyper spectral satellite image of sea ice

Polar Ice

The aim of this project is to develop a next generation sea ice information service by integrating and building on a wide range of European and national funded activities which …

ARIES satellite image acquired at Rothera receiving station which shows clouds and sea ice distribution

Polar Thematic Exploitation Platform

A Polar Thematic Exploitation Platform (Polar TEP) is being developed for the European Space Agency (ESA). Polar TEP will provide polar researchers with access to computing resources, earth observation (EO) …


Polar View

Polar View delivers information about sea ice direct to ships operating in the Southern Ocean.



The polar regions have the capacity to amaze and astound, but despite the considerable progress of recent decades we still know far less about them than less remote parts of …

The spiny plunderfish ( Harpagifer antarcticus ) lying on rocks covered with pink encrusting algae ( Lithothamnion ) showing its excellent camouflage capabilities.

Protein Folding in the Cold

How do animals survive in the freezing seas of Antarctica? Although Antarctic fish have evolved over millions of years to keep working at such low temperatures, we still do not …


Quantifying energetic particle precipitation into the atmosphere (QEPPA)

QEPPA is a joint project between the British Antarctic Survey and the Space physics group at Lancaster University. The objective of QEPPA is to work out the amount of charged …


RAID: Rapid Access Isotope Drill

Ice cores take a long time to collect. The 3.4 km- ice core drilled at Dome Concordia (Antarctica) took 5 years to collect and encloses the oldest ice drilled so …



The Rothera Time Series (RaTS) is now one of the most important time series in the Southern Ocean, with the winter-time measurements being almost unique and of very high importance. …

7 um thick section through a female gonad of Odontaster validus sampled on 29th Feb 2012. The image shows both pre- and vitellogenic oocytes.

Reproduction in a changing world

Reproductive capacity and success of marine animals

sunset in the Polar Regions

Resisting temperature change in the marine environment

Can animals used to living in freezing waters cope with climate change? Will they survive in a warmer world? Marine animals around Antarctica are very used to living in water …

RRS James Clark Ross in the Amundsen Sea, Antarctica

Role of oceanic forcing in West Antarctic Ice Sheet retreat

Ocean temperature has been identified as a key driver of current ice sheet retreat in the Amundsen Sea sector of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS), yet its long-term history …


Seismic investigation of a subglacial lake

Field Team includes: Alex Brisbourne (BAS), Andrés Rivera (CECs), Rodrigo Zamora (CECs), Field Guide (BAS). Antarctic subglacial lakes contain unique records of ice sheet history and microbial life; they may …



South Georgia Marine Biodiversity Database (SGMarBase)

Longyearbyen on Svalbard.


Svalbard Integrated Earth Observing System (SIOS) is an international infrastructure project. There are 26 partners from Europe and Asia involved. The essential objective is to establish better coordinated services for …

A group of the Antarctic brachiopods Liothyrella uva. Brachiopods are extremely slow growing and may live for up to sixty years

Skeleton structure, size, predation and climate change

How do the skeletons of marine animals change with habitat and environmental conditions? External skeletons, in the form of calcium carbonate shells are found predominantly in molluscs and brachiopods (marine …

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The South Orkney Islands is a small archipelago located in the Southern Ocean, 375 miles north-east of the tip of the Antarctic Peninsula. The seafloor around the South Orkney Islands …



The Southern Ocean Network of Acoustics (SONA) represents a group of scientific institutes and industrial partners who have united to measure an under-sampled component of the ecosystem – the mid-trophic …


South Georgia GIS

Visualise and download topographic, management and scientific data for South Georgia.



SPACESTORM is a collaborative project to model space weather events and find ways to mitigate their effects on satellites. Over the last ten years the number of satellites on orbit …

The shadow of RRS James Clark Ross seen on the vast sea ice expanse.


TEA_COSI assesses Arctic Sea-ice which has an important impact on currents and ocean circulations around the globe

Halley VI Research Station in winter

Testing space flight missions at Halley

The remoteness and winter isolation of communities working in Antarctica provide an excellent environment for research into human behaviour, performance, health and well being.  Many studies of overwintering staff in Antarctica …

Bryozoans – tiny filter-feeding marine creatures live on the continental shelf around Antarctica – can reveal much about environmental change in Antarctica

The Heated Settlement Panels

How will life and biodiversity on Earth will respond to climate change? This information is particularly urgent for the waters along the Antarctic Peninsula, which are experiencing rapid regional climate …

Algal layer in sea-ice

The role of Antarctic sea-ice in global climate

Sea-ice is frequently cited as a likely driver and propagator of abrupt climate change because of the rapid and far-reaching impact of its feedbacks. However, numerical climate models are still …

Rough seas of the Southern ocean

The role of the Southern Ocean in regulating atmospheric CO2 on glacial-interglacial timescales

The cause of the variability in atmospheric CO2 over glacial-interglacial timescales has been a puzzle since its discovery in the early 1980s. It is widely believed to be related to …


The thermosphere is the uppermost layer of our atmosphere at the edge of space (85 to 1000 km altitude). Within this region orbit thousands of satellites worth billions of pounds …

Fletcher Ice Core Drilling Camp

Weddell Sea ice sheet and climate

In the south of the Weddell Sea lies the Ronne and Filchner Ice Shelves. During the coldest part of the last glacial period about 25,000 years ago, the ice in …

Bryan coast ice core camp

West Antarctica wind strength and atmospheric circulation

Changes in wind strength and circulation patterns above the Antarctic Peninsula are linked to its warming and increased upwelling of warm circumpolar deep water, resulting in accelerated melting and thinning …

white-chinned petrel

White-chinned Petrel Tracking

The white-chinned petrel is the most common bird species recorded as fisheries bycatch in the Southern Ocean [1]. Although currently listed as Vulnerable by the IUCN, limited population trend data …