Antarctica hosts some of the harshest and most remote environments on Earth - and it is a region of vital importance for scientific research. The environment and position of Antarctica on the globe mean that research conducted there can offer unique insights on important Earth processes, including rising sea level, the carbon cycle, ecosystem structure. As the climate warms, data gathered from Antarctic research will be essential to understanding how Earth processes are changing and the potential social, economic, and health impacts on both U.S. and global populations.
This report identifies the highest priorities for research in the Southern Ocean and nearshore and coastal Antarctica, as well as gaps in current capabilities to support this research. Global sea level rise, heat and carbon budgets, and changing ecosystems are the three highest-priority science drivers for research in the region. To address those drivers and maintain a robust U.S. research presence in this vitally important region, investments are needed in the U.S. Antarctic program and its research platforms, including the development of new technologies and the replacement of aging icebreaking research vessels. Additionally, the U.S. should strengthen relationships with other nations’ Antarctic programs that can help support these essential science drivers.
National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2023. Future Directions for Southern Ocean and Antarctic Nearshore and Coastal Research. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. https://doi.org/10.17226/27160.
|2 The National Antarctic Program||16-25|
|3 The Impact of Antarctica and the Southern Ocean on Global Sea Level||26-52|
|4 The Impact of Southern Ocean Circulation and AirSea Exchange on Global Heat and Carbon Budgets||53-71|
|5 The Impact of Environmental Change on Antarctic and Southern Ocean Biota and their Ecosystem Services||72-98|
|6 Essential Capabilities||99-143|
|Appendix A: Committee Member and Staff Biographical Sketches||195-200|
|Appendix B: Capabilities of Potential Partners' Vessels||201-206|
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