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As the coldest, most remote, and most extreme environment on Earth, Antarctica provides a unique vantage point for investigating life adaptations, understanding the health of the global climate, and peering into the depths of the Universe. For example, ecological studies in the Dry McMurdo Valley help explain how life survives in extremes, observations of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet reveal vital information about our changing climate, and the Ice Cube Neutrino Observatory provides insights into supernovae, black holes, and similar phenomenon. Since 1959, the Antarctic Treaty has ensured the continent remains a haven for scientific investigation, offering up an invaluable model of global cooperation with U.S. leadership provided by the U.S. Antarctic Program.

This booklet, drawing primarily from reports of the National Academies, captures a multitude of insights gained - and sought - from U.S. research investments in this remarkable place. A continued commitment to science, cooperation, and a shared vision for the future are required to build on this rich history of discovery and answer crucial questions in the decades ahead.

Suggested Citation

National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. Antarctic Science: Why U.S. Leadership and Investments Matter. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.

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49 pages |  8.5 x 11 |  DOI:

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