Ocean scientists support RRS David Attenborough celebrations

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Researchers from the University’s School of Environmental Sciences are part of the celebrations, which begin today, to commemorate the naming of the UK’s new polar research ship, RRS Sir David Attenborough, at Cammell Laird Shipyard in Birkenhead.

Liverpool Professor of Ocean Sciences, Claire Mahaffey, accompanied by researchers from the School are part of the celebrations through the accompanying  `Ice Worlds' festival which aims to inspire and inform people about polar science, engineering and technology.

`Ice Worlds’ includes an interactive exhibition area alongside scheduled talks from those involved in polar research, polar boat building and engineering.

University researchers, in partnership with the National Oceanographic Centre, are showcasing their tidal research in Liverpool, as well as the current NERC-funded Changing Arctic Ocean research programme, in the exhibition area.

The three day celebration begins today (Thursday, 26 September) with the formal naming ceremony of the RRS Sir David Attenborough by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge with special guest Sir David Attenborough in attendance.

The naming ceremony will be livestreamed here: www.bas.ac.uk/live

On Friday, the festival will welcome local school children and on Saturday the Festival is open to members of the public who can learn what it takes to build a polar research ship, find out why polar bears don’t eat penguins and marvel at the amazing innovation that makes research in Antarctica and the Arctic possible.

Tickets to the Family Saturday are free but limited and registration is essential. Those wishing to attend must register for tickets: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/ice-worlds-family-fun-day-tickets-71362405877

Professor Claire Mahaffey said: “We are delighted to be involved in the celebrations for the new arctic research vessel, the RRS David Attenborough. This mighty looking ship will facilitate world-leading exploration in the polar oceans and allow scientists to make new discoveries in these rapidly changing regions of our planet. We are excited to talk to members of the public and school children about our research, and especially to encourage children into the sciences”

Due to be in full service in December 2020, the RRS David Attenborough is one of the most advanced polar research vessels in the world. It will provide scientists with state-of-the-art facilities to undertake crucial research into the impact of global change on our oceans, marine biodiversity and climate, and ensure that the UK remains at the forefront of polar science.

Scientists at the University of Liverpool play a leading role in research programmes exploring the impact of climate change on the Arctic ecosystem. They lead a £2.6M  ARISE, research project as part of the the £16million NERC Changing Arctic Ocean research programme that aims to understand and quantify the impacts of climate change on Arctic ecosystems and their global consequences.

ARISE aims to better understand how climate-driven changes to the Arctic will affect the productivity at the base of the food web and two Arctic seal species, the harp seal and ringed seal.