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Science Update

April 2018




Two broad research programmes will form the core of the Antarctic Science Platform: The Antarctic ice-ocean-atmosphere system in a warming world, and Ross Sea region ecosystem dynamics in a warming world. The outlines for these programmes were developed by focus groups following a workshop in March, and have been considered by independent peer reviewers.

The objective of two workshops over the next fortnight will be to develop detailed descriptions of major projects that could collectively deliver these programmes of research. Invitations to these workshops were extended to research institutions across New Zealand and other interested parties. We have an impressive group of people coming together, including researchers from a wide range of disciplines and research institutions, as well as stakeholders and Antarctica New Zealand staff.

Programme One: The Antarctic ice-ocean-atmosphere system in a warming world
The overarching aim of this programme is to address how the Antarctic / Southern Ocean environment will change in a +2°C world, and understand the regional and global consequences of warming. To achieve this goal, the programme will focus on developing the data sets and process understanding required to detect and anticipate the implications of warming and associated environmental change in Antarctica. Research will investigate the coupled ice-ocean-atmosphere system, and focus on regions and processes where knowledge gaps exist, thereby having the greatest impact on how the world addresses the challenges of climate change. The work will involve significant Antarctic field campaigns that bring together multidisciplinary teams at geographical hubs. The complexity of the Antarctic system requires utilisation and integration of new and existing data of all types including proxies, model outputs, and remote sensing technologies. The knowledge gained through this programme will be used to improve predictions of Antarctica’s response to global change, such as rates of ice loss and changes to ocean/atmospheric dynamics, particularly with respect to the ambitions of The Paris Agreement.

Programme Two: Ross Sea region ecosystem dynamics in a warming world
The focus of this programme is to develop a mechanistic understanding of natural ecosystems (structure, function and variability) in the Ross Sea region, and the relative effects of both natural and anthropogenic changes on these ecosystems. The programme will use a multidisciplinary approach and incorporate technological advancements to concentrate on all ecosystem components – physical, chemical and biological – in areas that are most sensitive to change in the Ross Sea and along the Victoria Land coastline. The ability to predict ecosystem change will be enhanced through an improved understanding of the baseline state of ecosystem structure and function, key processes that drive variability and trends, linkages between ecosystem variability and physical drivers, and the inherent value of these ecosystems. This base of scientific knowledge and understanding will support effective management of the ecosystems within the Ross Sea region. Particular focus will be given to the roles of sea ice and meltwater in driving ecosystem change, other cross-system drivers, and the use of sentinel species/ecosystems to detect change.



If you are submitting a proposal for research funding that involves an Antarctic field component, please be aware that you are required to submit a logistics support request to Antarctica New Zealand for support at the same time as the research proposal is submitted.  The application template and submission guide (Antarctica New Zealand Logistics Support Request) can be found here.  Completed forms should be emailed to Josh Scarrow. Please contact Josh if you have any questions regarding this requirement - early dialogue is encouraged!
If you have already submitted a proposal, either under "Smart Ideas" or a larger Research Programme, please contact us with regards to potential logistic support requests.

Aurora update, featuring the milky way.

As part of the 2017/18 Community Engagement Programme (CEP), the first dance film was produced by Corey Baker dance, featuring Madeleine Graham. Many Antarctica New Zealand staff were involved in supporting this work. The dance can be seen here.

Madeleine Graham (Dancer) and Corey Baker (Choreographer). Photo: Jacob Bryant

Congratulations to our Antarcticans on these recent publications:

Andersson, M., Verronen, P.T., Marsh, D.R., Seppälä, A., Päivärinta, S-M., Rodger, C.J., Clilverd, M.A., Kalakoski, N., van de Kamp, M. (2018).  Polar ozone response to energetic particle precipitation over decadal time scales: the role of medium-energy electrons. Journal of Geophysical Research, 123. DOI: 10.1002/2017JD027605

Mackey, T.J., Sumner, D.Y., Hawes, I., Jungblut, A.D. (2017). Morphological signatures of microbial activity across sediment and light microenvironments of Lake Vanda, Antarctica. Sedimentary Geology, 361. DOI: 10.1016/j.sedgeo.2017.09.013 2.665

Turner, K.E., Smith, I.J., Tison, J.-L., Verbeke, V., McGuinness, M., Ingham, M., Vennell, R., Trodahl, J. (2017). Sea ice growth rates from tide-driven visible banding. Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans, 122(6). DOI: 10.1002/2016jc012524

Wild, C.T., Marsh, O. and Rack, W. (2018). Unravelling InSAR observed Antarctic ice-shelf flexure using 2-D elastic and viscoelastic modelling. Frontiers in Earth Science, 6, 28. DOI: 10.3389/feart.2018.00028

If you would like your publications featured here please email our Science Team about your papers as they go to press.



NIWA are hosting the 2018 NZ Sea Ice Symposium in Wellington, 5-6 July.
This biennial gathering of NZ's sea ice community aims to discuss on-going and future work, collaborations and opportunities. Confirmed keynote speakers are: Nancy Bertler, Vonda Cummings and Gabby O'Connor.
Register here.

The Antarctic, Arctic and Tibetan Plateau are located at the furthest ends and the highest elevations of the Earth. The climate systems of the three regions greatly influence the weather and environment of the world through interactions between the five spheres of the Earth, and the research related to those regions takes an important scientific status within global change research.

Wuhan University and Beijing Normal University would like to invite interested participants to Wuhan, China from 25 -26 October, 2018 for the International Symposium on Remote Sensing and Global Change: The Antarctic, Arctic, and Tibetan Plateau. The symposium will focus on the latest results and development in theory, technology and application of remote sensing in the Antarctic, Arctic and Tibetan Plateau, promoting the participants to exchange their innovative thoughts. More information can be found here.

SOOSmap is your one-stop-shop for finding circumpolar, internationally-curated datasets of observations, developed by SOOS and colleagues in EMODnet Physics. In SOOSmap, you can find data and metadata from global programs such as Argo floats, long-term moorings, CTD profiles, and MEOP seal data, as well as Antarctic-specific datasets like the Southern Ocean Continuous Plankton Recorder project, the SOOS-endorsed NECKLACE program (basal melt rates from ice shelves) and the hundreds of moorings in the SOOS Southern Ocean Mooring Network.

Recently SOOSmap has been made easier to explore by updating the user interface. More administrative boundaries for CCAMLR have also been added,  to provide context for where observations are being made.

In coming weeks and months, many more layers will be added to SOOSmap. As it continues to grow, SOOSmap will host data from all kinds of Southern Ocean platforms and observing projects – including physical, chemical, and biological ocean sciences. Data suitable for publication through SOOSmap are circumpolar in extent and include data from all or most of the nations collecting those kinds of observations. SOOSmap can be found here.


SCAR and COMNAP have again joined forces to launch fellowships for early-career researchers. SCAR will offer 3 to 4 fellowships of up to USD $15,000 each for 2018 and COMNAP will offer up to 1 fellowship with funding of up to USD $15,000.  The fellowships enable early-career researchers to join a project team from another country, opening up new opportunities and often creating partnerships that last for many years and over many Antarctic field seasons. Note that the application process for SCAR and COMNAP fellowships are now separate and the eligibility criteria differs. The deadline for SCAR and COMNAP fellowship applications is 11 July 2018.


The SCAR and COMNAP schemes are launched in conjunction with the Scientific Scholarship Scheme of the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR).  The CCAMLR Scholarship provides funding of up to AUD $30,000 to assist early-career scientists to participate in the work of the CCAMLR Scientific Committee and its working groups over a period of two years.  The objective of the scheme is to build capacity within the CCAMLR scientific community to help generate and sustain the scientific expertise needed to support the work of CCAMLR in the long-term.  The deadline for CCAMLR scholarship applications is 1 October 2018.

All three schemes are being jointly promoted by the three organisations.  


Find more information about SCAR and COMNAP Fellowships here, and information about the CCAMLR Scholarships here.


If you have any news, items, great images, or recent publications that you would like to feature in the monthly update, please send them to our Science Team.