ABU DHABI, 17th January, 2018 (WAM) — Masdar, the Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company, Khalifa University of Science and Technology, and the Australian government have announced that they will collaborate on sea ice research and energy efficiency in Antarctica to enhance scientific understanding of the effects of global warming and climate change on the polar continent.
Announced during Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week in the presence of Dr. Thani bin Ahmed Al-Zeyoudi, Minister of Climate Change and Environment, the collaboration was formally agreed, through the signing of a letter of intent, by Mohamed Jameel Al Ramahi, Chief Executive Officer of Masdar, Arthur Spyrou, Australian Ambassador to the UAE on behalf of the Australian Antarctic Division of the Department of the Environment and Energy (ADD); and Dr. Arif Sultan Al Hammadi, Interim Executive Vice-President, Khalifa University of Science and Technology.
The collaboration will begin in February when a team will travel to Earth’s southernmost continent to monitor energy efficiency and investigate opportunities to use renewable energy at Australia’s Antarctic research stations.
“The UAE and Australia share strong ties and a deep commitment to research and clean technology,” said Al Ramahi. “We look forward to strengthening the scientific collaboration between our two countries through this fascinating Antarctic collaboration, an experience of a lifetime for its participants.”
Al Hammadi said, “Such cross-border collaborations reflect the strength of the UAE as a country for expertise in niche technology areas such as clean energy and earth observation. We believe this letter of intent on exchange of scientists and students in the form of sabbaticals, research missions, visiting scholar programmes or other forms of knowledge exchange, will prove beneficial to all member partners.”
The sea ice research component of the agreement, which will be led by Dr. Marouane Temimi, Associate Professor of Chemical and Environmental Engineering, Khalifa University of Science and Technology, aims to leverage the latest advances in remote sensing, data assimilation and forecasting to better understand the effects of climate change on the characteristics and behaviour of Antarctic sea ice.
A team from Masdar will travel to Australia’s Casey Research Station to evaluate energy efficiency opportunities and the use of renewable energy at Australia’s three, year-round Antarctic research stations, as well as report on the environmental impacts and best practices.
“Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week 2018 is the ideal platform to celebrate and strengthen the close academic ties between Australia and the UAE,” said Dr. Nick Gales, Director of the Australian Antarctic Division, part of the Australian Government’s Department of the Environment and Energy. “The pristine but hostile environment of Antarctica holds the key to forecasting changes in global climate and weather that impact all countries.”
The world’s coldest continent, Antarctica is a land mass covered with ice sheets up to four kilometres thick believed to contain up to 70 percent of the world’s fresh water.
The Antarctic region is one of the world’s most sensitive ecosystems having a critical impact on the global climate. Antarctica has experienced air temperature increases five times the mean rate of global warming, causing significant changes to the physical environment and living ecosystems of this fragile continent.