Science Media Centre

Science Media Centre


Scanning the Antarctic horizon

Posted in In the News

What will Antarctica look like in 20 years time, and how will any changes affect the world’s oceans, weather and ecology?

Antarctica HorizonsMore than 50 Antarctic scientists from around the globe converged on New Zealand to debate these questions and how they should inform research on the icy continent. They were part of the first-ever Antarctic and Southern Ocean Horizon Scan conference in Queenstown this week, organised by the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR).

According to the SCAR website, the conference goal is to develop a “collective, community-based vision of the 100 highest priority scientific questions will be developed to assist in strategic planning; influence future directions in Antarctic research; highlight opportunities for collaborations and synergies; identify future critical infrastructure, logistical, and technological needs; and inform international decisions about investments in the Antarctic scientific enterprise.”

In short, their aim was to come up with the most important questions about Antarctica that need to be answered in the next 20 years. In the last few months scientists submitted over 800 questions, which were culled to about 100 over the three days of the conference.

You can read more about the conference and see a spread sheet of the finalised questions on the SCAR website.

“They were questions about how ice sheets relate to sea level, changes in the ocean, changes in the atmosphere and also changes in weather and long-term climate patterns,” said American oceanographer Chuck Kennicutt, Chair of the SCAR steering committee which organised the meeting.

Seal level rise and ocean acidification were just some of the issues raised which could have a major impact on New Zealand over the next two decades.

The conference has received media attention here in New Zealand. Examples include:

3 News: Antarctic scientists work on 20-year goals
Newstalk ZB: Scientists and policymakers meet to discuss Antarctica
National Business Review: Top Antarctic scientists warn NZ ‘not ready’ for worst as climate changes
TVNZ: Top scientists debate issues facing Antarctica
3 News – The Nation: Interview: Chuck Kennicutt and Gary Wilson

Continue reading “Scanning the Antarctic horizon

Latest Post From Each Category

In the News

Wasp-attacking mite to be studied

The media is abuzz over a new wasp biocontrol research project. Landcare research has received research funding to investigate a wasp-attacking mite which could be used to control invasive species. Two species of European wasps, Vespula germanica and Vespula vugaris, are significant environmental and economic pests in New Zealand, attacking honeybee populations, damaging vineyard crops […]

Reflections On Science

Bearded beauty in the eye of the beholder

A University of New South Wales study by Rob Brooks, Zinnia Janif and ex-pat Kiwi Barnaby Dixson has burrowed into the beauty of beard. Writing on the website The Conversation, researcher Rob Brooks offers some context on their facial hair findings. Fear not the hipster beard: it too shall pass By Rob Brooks If you […]

Science Alert: Experts Respond

Ruataniwha irrigation dam decision – expert responds

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has granted resource consent to a proposed irrigation dam that will be the largest built in New Zealand for over 20 years. The Ruataniwha Water Storage Scheme, led by the Hawkes Bay Regional Council, proposes construction of a major irrigation dam in the Tukituki River catchment. Extensive modelling and environmental impact […]


BRIEFING: Do-it-yourself climate modelling

Any Australian and New Zealander with a home computer and an internet connection will soon be able to power up their own climate model. The work will help scientists find the causes of the record high temperatures that hit Australia and New Zealand in 2013. The online climate experiment, Weather@Home, created by a group of […]

Copyright 2014 Science Media Centre (New Zealand)

Disclaimer | Privacy Policy