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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2011. Future Science Opportunities in Antarctica and the Southern Ocean. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13169.
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FUTURE SCIENCE OPPORTUNITIES IN

ANTARCTICA
AND THE SOUTHERN OCEAN

Committee on Future Science Opportunities in
Antarctica and the Southern Ocean

Polar Research Board

Division on Earth and Life Studies

NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL
                         OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES

THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS

Washington, D.C.

www.nap.edu

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2011. Future Science Opportunities in Antarctica and the Southern Ocean. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13169.
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THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS • 500 Fifth Street, N.W. • Washington, DC 20001

NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance.

This study was supported by the National Science Foundation under contract number ANT-1062149. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the sponsoring agency or any of its subagencies.

Cover image (courtesy of SuperStock) represents a satellite view of Antarctica and the surrounding sea ice derived from Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) data. The AVHRR instrument is used for a wide range of applications in polar and climate research.

International Standard Book Number-13: 978-0-309-21469-8

International Standard Book Number-10: 0-309-21469-6

Additional copies of this report are available from the National Academies Press, 500 Fifth Street, N.W., Lockbox 285, Washington, DC 20055; (800) 624-6242 or (202) 334-3313 (in the Washington metropolitan area); Internet, http://www.nap.edu.

Copyright 2011 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.

Printed in the United States of America

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2011. Future Science Opportunities in Antarctica and the Southern Ocean. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13169.
×

THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES

Advisers to the Nation on Science, Engineering, and Medicine

The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone is president of the National Academy of Sciences.

The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. Charles M. Vest is president of the National Academy of Engineering.

The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Harvey V. Fineberg is president of the Institute of Medicine.

The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy’s purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone and Dr. Charles M. Vest are chair and vice chair, respectively, of the National Research Council.

www.national-academies.org

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2011. Future Science Opportunities in Antarctica and the Southern Ocean. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13169.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2011. Future Science Opportunities in Antarctica and the Southern Ocean. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13169.
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COMMITTEE ON FUTURE SCIENCE OPPORTUNITIES IN ANTARCTICA AND THE SOUTHERN OCEAN

WARREN M. ZAPOL (Chair), Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston

ROBIN E. BELL, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Palisades, New York

DAVID H. BROMWICH, Ohio State University, Columbus

THOMAS F. BUDINGER, University of California, Berkeley

JOHN E. CARLSTROM, University of Chicago, Illinois

RITA R. COLWELL, University of Maryland, College Park

SARAH B. DAS, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Massachusetts

HUGH W. DUCKLOW, Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole, Massachusetts

PETER HUYBERS, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts

JOHN LESLIE KING, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

RAMON E. LOPEZ, University of Texas, Arlington

OLAV ORHEIM, Research Council of Norway, Oslo

STANLEY B. PRUSINER, University of California, San Francisco

MARILYN RAPHAEL, University of California, Los Angeles

PETER SCHLOSSER, Columbia University, Palisades, New York

LYNNE D. TALLEY, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, La Jolla, California

DIANA H. WALL, Colorado State University, Fort Collins

NRC Staff

EDWARD DUNLEA, Study Director

LAUREN BROWN, Research Associate

AMANDA PURCELL, Senior Program Assistant

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2011. Future Science Opportunities in Antarctica and the Southern Ocean. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13169.
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POLAR RESEARCH BOARD

JAMES W. C. WHITE (Chair), University of Colorado, Boulder

SRIDHAR ANANDAKRISHNAN, Pennsylvania State University, University Park

JULIE BRIGHAM-GRETTE, University of Massachusetts, Amherst

DAVID H. BROMWICH, Ohio State University, Columbus

JENNIFER A. FRANCIS, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey

EILEEN E. HOFMANN, Old Dominion University, Norfolk, Virginia

BERNICE M. JOSEPH, University of Alaska, Fairbanks

AMY LAUREN LOVECRAFT, University of Alaska, Fairbanks

MOLLY E. MCCAMMON, Alaska Ocean Observing System, Anchorage

ELLEN S. MOSLEY-THOMPSON, Ohio State University, Columbus

GEORGE B. NEWTON, QinetiQ North America, Marstons Mills, Massachusetts

CARYN REA, ConocoPhillips, Anchorage, Alaska

VLADIMIR E. ROMANOVSKY, University of Alaska, Fairbanks

GAIUS R. SHAVER, Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole, Massachusetts

ALLAN T. WEATHERWAX, Siena College, Loudonville, New York

Ex-Officio Members:

JACQUELINE M. GREBMEIER, University of Maryland, Solomons

MAHLON C. KENNICUTT II, Texas A&M University, College Station

TERRY WILSON, Ohio State University, Columbus

NRC Staff

CHRIS ELFRING, Board Director

LAURIE GELLER, Senior Program Officer

EDWARD DUNLEA, Senior Program Officer

LAUREN BROWN, Research Associate

AMANDA PURCELL, Senior Program Assistant

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2011. Future Science Opportunities in Antarctica and the Southern Ocean. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13169.
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Preface

The purpose of science, in the broadest sense, is to expand the frontier of human understanding. Antarctica and the Southern Ocean have always been, and remain, a frontier—both an unexplored place and an untapped library of knowledge. In the past 50 years, scientists have made tremendous progress in Antarctic and Southern Ocean science. But there are still many frontiers to explore in the coming decades.

Scientific inquiry in Antarctica and the Southern Ocean is helping to answer questions that are important to understanding the planet: its history, its processes, and how it is changing. The gas inside of a tiny bubble of air trapped in the Antarctic ice miles below the surface can help us understand how the climate of the whole planet is changing. A temperature sensor strapped to a seal swimming deep in the ocean under sea ice in the Southern Ocean can ultimately help us understand how sea levels might rise in Washington, DC. There are also mysteries to be solved about how the world and the universe work. Light from earliest seconds of the formation of the universe that is collected at telescopes at the South Pole can help unlock the mysteries of dark matter.

In this report, the Committee on Future Science Opportunities in Antarctica and the Southern Ocean was asked to identify the important questions that will drive scientific research in Antarctica and the Southern Ocean over the next two decades. This report is intended to inform the work of the National Science Foundation’s (NSF’s) Office of Polar Programs and in particular a Blue Ribbon Panel that is reviewing the logistical support of NSF’s U.S. Antarctic Program. In doing its work, the committee has tried to highlight important areas of research by encapsulating each in an overarching question. The questions fall into two themes—observing and understanding global change and fundamental discovery. Research support in the South requires considerable resources, so the committee has also attempted to identify key opportunities to be leveraged in the effort to enhance scientific research in the Antarctic region. In looking forward, the committee has identified a need for new initiatives to further develop an observing network and improve scientific modeling capabilities.

Through the process of gathering information for this report, the committee heard from many people in the Antarctic and Southern Ocean science community and we thank everyone for their thoughts (see Acknowledgments section). The committee relied upon a large number of reports from the community, and we would like to thank

Page viii Cite
Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2011. Future Science Opportunities in Antarctica and the Southern Ocean. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13169.
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the community at large for all of its work in these efforts over the years. In addition, we want to thank the Office of Polar Programs for providing information as we needed it, and for being open to receiving advice. Finally, this report would not have been possible without the dedication and contributions of the National Research Council staff: Edward Dunlea, Lauren Brown, Amanda Purcell, and Chris Elfring.

The Office of Polar Programs has a big job to do in supporting and enhancing scientific research in Antarctica and the Southern Ocean, and it is very important for understanding our world. We hope that this report offers advice to guide their efforts in the coming decades.

Warren M. Zapol, Chair
Committee on Future Science Opportunities
in Antarctica and the Southern Ocean

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2011. Future Science Opportunities in Antarctica and the Southern Ocean. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13169.
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Acknowledgments

This report has been reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by the National Research Council’s (NRC’s) Report Review Committee. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the institution in making its published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process. We wish to thank the following individuals for their review of this report:

Sridhar Anandakrishnan, Pennsylvania State University

Gerald T. Garvey, Los Alamos National Laboratory

Thom J. Hodgson, North Carolina State University

Gretchen E. Hofmann, University of California, Santa Barbara

Barbara Methe, The Institute for Genomic Research

Ellen S. Mosley-Thompson, Ohio State University

Claire L. Parkinson, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

Steve Rintoul, CSIRO

Colin P. Summerhayes, University of Cambridge

Although the reviewers listed above have provided constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the views of the committee, nor did they see the final draft of the report before its release. The review of this report was overseen by David Karl, University of Hawaii, and Martha Haynes, Cornell University, appointed by the Division on Earth and Life Studies and the Report Review Committee, who were responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this report was carried out in accordance with institutional procedures and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content of this report rests entirely with the authoring panel and the institution.

In addition, the committee would like to thank in particular for their contributions during the study process: Karl Erb, Scott Borg, Brian Stone, Kate Moran, Joel Parriott, John Calder, Waleed Abdalati, Tom Wagner, Jerry Mullins, Larry Hothem, LCDR Michael Krause, Mahlon (Chuck) Kennicutt, Meredith Hooper, John Goodge, Helen Fricker, Eric Rignot, Sarah Gille, Jim Bishop, Donal Manahan, Alton Romig, Scott Doney, Allan

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2011. Future Science Opportunities in Antarctica and the Southern Ocean. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13169.
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Weatherwax, Lawson Brigham, Alexandra Isern, and George Denton. The committee would also like to thank the numerous scientists spoken to throughout the study process, in particular all of the online questionnaire respondents who provided their thoughts on the future of science in Antarctica and the Southern Ocean.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2011. Future Science Opportunities in Antarctica and the Southern Ocean. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13169.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2011. Future Science Opportunities in Antarctica and the Southern Ocean. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13169.
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img

Map of selected locations in Antarctica referenced in this report.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2011. Future Science Opportunities in Antarctica and the Southern Ocean. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13169.
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img

Icebergs near the Antarctic Peninsula. SOURCE: Jeffrey Kietzmann/NSF.

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Antarctica and the surrounding Southern Ocean remains one of the world's last frontiers. Covering nearly 14 million km² (an area approximately 1.4 times the size of the United States), Antarctica is the coldest, driest, highest, and windiest continent on Earth. While it is challenging to live and work in this extreme environment, this region offers many opportunities for scientific research. Ever since the first humans set foot on Antarctica a little more than a century ago, the discoveries made there have advanced our scientific knowledge of the region, the world, and the Universe--but there is still much more to learn. However, conducting scientific research in the harsh environmental conditions of Antarctica is profoundly challenging. Substantial resources are needed to establish and maintain the infrastructure needed to provide heat, light, transportation, and drinking water, while at the same time minimizing pollution of the environment and ensuring the safety of researchers.

Future Science Opportunities in Antarctica and the Southern Ocean suggests actions for the United States to achieve success for the next generation of Antarctic and Southern Ocean science. The report highlights important areas of research by encapsulating each into a single, overarching question. The questions fall into two broad themes: (1) those related to global change, and (2) those related to fundamental discoveries. In addition, the report identified key science questions that will drive research in Antarctica and the Southern Ocean in coming decades, and highlighted opportunities to be leveraged to sustain and improve the U.S. research efforts in the region.

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