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Science Update

September 2018





The fruitful and comprehensive discussions and suggestions from the workshops held in May have been synthesised and organised into four core research projects that are nested within the two major Research Programmes.
Tenders for the core research projects are currently being developed, to be completed by the 31st of October. We have appointed Lead-Principal Investigators and Co-Principal Investigators for each of the core projects:
Programme 1: The Antarctic ice-ocean-atmosphere system in a warming world – Programme Leader: Prof. Gary Wilson

  • Project 1: Antarctic Ice Dynamics - Lead PI Dr. Richard Levy (GNS Science), Co-PI Dr. Huw Horgan (Victoria University of Wellington)
  • Project 2: Antarctic Ocean-Atmosphere Coupling - Lead PI Dr. Craig Stevens (NIWA), Co-PI Dr. Christina Riesselman (University of Otago)
Programme 2: Ross Sea region ecosystem dynamics in a warming world – Programme Leader: Prof. Ian Hawes
  • Project 3: Ross Sea region Ecosystem Dynamics - Lead PI Associate Prof. Miles Lamare (University of Otago), Co-PI Dr. Charles Lee (University of Waikato)
  • Project 4: Sea Ice and Carbon Cycle Feedbacks - Lead PI Prof James Renwick (Victoria University of Wellington), Co-PI Sea Ice Dr. Natalie Robinson (NIWA), Co-PI Carbon Cycle Dr. Liz Keller (GNS Science)

In addition, we have established three expert groups to implement ASP-wide, strategic leadership and integration on ‘Future Projections’, ‘Community Engagement’, and ‘Policy Advice’, led by Assoc. Prof. Nick Golledge, Assoc. Prof. Rebecca Priestley, and a yet to be confirmed chair, respectively.
Over the next few weeks, the ASP Leadership team, PIs and Expert Group Chairs will develop the detailed research plans to achieve the goals of the ASP and address its impact statements. The tenders will be subsequently peer reviewed by international experts, and recommendations from the Independent Science Panel will be provided to the Steering Group in February 2019. Contracts are expected to commence on 1 April 2019.
Please contact the relevant Programme Leaders and Principal Investigators if you want to discuss research plans for the negotiated projects. In addition to the negotiated programmes, about 25% of the research budget will be available for contestable research projects. The mechanism for applications to the contestable fund has yet to be finalised, but we intend to hold a round in mid-2019 to support field work in the 2020/21 season.
More information about the Antarctic Science Platform and the process to date can be found here.
Thanks again to all who have contributed thus far, and we look forward to continuing to work with you as the ASP develops.


Antarctic Science Platform Manager

We are opening recruitment for the Antarctic Science Platform Manager later today. This role provides an opportunity for a talented and motivated individual to apply their research management expertise to developing and managing processes for awarding, contracting and managing large, complex research programmes.


Communications Advisor

Next week, we will open recruitment for a Communications Advisor who can translate science findings to a range of audiences and inspire others to connect with Antarctica. The successful candidate will have proven experience in a journalism, communications or marketing role with strength in writing and content production.


Science Programme Advisor

In early October, we will open recruitment for a Science Programme Advisor who will articulate science needs to planning and logistics teams. The successful candidate will have Antarctic field research experience, and will support the integration of the Antarctic Science Platform within existing planning frameworks.


For more information, or to apply for any of these roles, please visit our recruitment page, or email us here.

The 2018/19 season is underway, with the first southbound flight scheduled for Monday 1 October
Event Managers, please ensure that you have named all TBAs, completed medical assessments (at least four weeks prior to deployment), and get cargo to Woody within the requested timeframe.

Any queries can be directed to the friendly
Admin Team or Event Planning.


Planning for the 2019/2020 season is underway. You can view a copy of the Event Planning Timeline, including key dates in the Event Manager portal on EMPEROR or download a copy here

If you require any of the following, or propose to operate in the following areas we require this information to be in EMPEROR by 31 October 2018:

  • Big ticket/out of the ordinary support from other National Antarctic Programmes
  • Fixed wing support (i.e. Twin Otter, Basler or LC-130)
  • Transport or use of hazardous substances (i.e. explosives and pressurised gases such as medical oxygen)
  • Maritime or ship based operations
  • Remote locations (beyond 200km from Scott Base)
  • Large quantities and/or bulky cargo to move to Antarctica by cargo ship departing January 2019
  • Ground transportation/traverse of large quantities of equipment

If you have any queries about the process, feel free to contact the science team, or event planning.

Congratulations to our Antarcticans on these recent publications:


Rack, U; (2018) Exploring and mapping the Antarctic. Histories of discovery and knowledge. In: Mark Nuttall; Torben Christensen; Martin Siegert; (edit.), The Routledge Handbook of the Polar Regions (pp 34 – 44). London and New York, Routledge.

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


Sunset and nacreous clouds, Hut Point bottom right. Photo: Jonny Harrison.


The 13th International Symposium on Antarctic Earth Science (ISAES 2019) will be held during July 22-26, 2019, at the Songdo Convensia in Incheon, Republic of Korea. The symposium aims to bring together Antarctic earth scientists from different areas in order to gather and highlight their outstanding expertise and ideas.


Major themes of the symposium include:

1. Continental evolution of Antarctica

2. Antarctic solid earth structure and interactions with the cryosphere

3. Past and present permafrost changes in Antarctica

4. Glacial history of Antarctica and the Southern Ocean

5. Antarctic surface processes and landscape

6. Changes in the Southern Ocean

7. Climate change in the 21st century

8. Antarctica and the evolution of life

9. Remote sensing and satellite imagery

10. General Antarctic earth sciences


Call for session proposals

The Scientific Program Committee cordially invites you to submit session proposals. Each session will consist of 6-7 oral presentations lasting for 20 minutes (including Q&A session). Please submit your session proposals by November 30, 2018.


Chair of the Local Organizing Committee: Dr. Jongkuk Hong.

Secretary: Mr. Sunhwi Kim.


SCAR is developing a future research strategy that more directly addresses the role Antarctica plays in the rapid pace of environmental change, the risks facing humanity and the growing global sustainability problems it brings.  The XXXV SCAR Delegates Meeting in Davos, Switzerland approved a Programme Planning Group (PPG) and a budget of USD $5K in 2019 and USD $5K in 2020 for developing a new Scientific Research Programme (SRP) provisionally entitled “Antarctic Ice Sheet Dynamics and Global Sea Level (AISSL)”.


The aim of the SRP is to “quantify the Antarctic ice sheet contribution to past and future global sea-level change, from improved understanding of climate, ocean and solid Earth interactions and feedbacks with the ice, so that decision-makers can better anticipate and assess the risk in order to manage and adapt to sea-level rise and evaluate mitigation pathways”.  Proposed initial Chief Officer is Tim Naish (New Zealand) and the PPG has an initial membership of 55 members from 14 SCAR countries. The programme aligns and integrates the relevant research previously conducted within the ANTCLIM21, PAIS, ANTECO and SERCE SRPs in Themes 1-3 to more effectively quantify future sea-level projections. Theme 4 is policy-facing and will include social scientists to help deliver and implement revised sea-level projections within a risk assessment/policy context.


There will be planning workshops scheduled in 2019 and 2020, before final proposal is submitted to the SCAR Delegates Meeting in Hobart, 2020. If you are interested in being involved and for further information please contact Tim Naish


More information and the PPG proposal can be accessed here.


SCAR has established a Secretariat in Cambridge, UK, staffed by an Executive Director, Executive Officer and Administrative Officer. The Secretariat are seeking to employ a communications and information officer to support their work.

The Role

As the SCAR Communications and Information Officer, you will help us promote SCAR’s activities both within the Antarctic research community and beyond. You will play a key role in growing our social media presence. You will also assist with preparations for SCAR meetings and conferences. You will support the smooth running of the Secretariat by further developing its internal information management systems and helping maintain SCAR’s website. You should have at least a first degree in a science-related subject (or equivalent work experience) and ideally some experience of working within an office environment. Experience of working within a research environment would be an additional advantage. You will need to have excellent IT skills and to demonstrate good written communication skills. You will also need to be highly organised and be able to juggle multiple tasks at once, often to tight deadlines.

Applications close 22 October 2018; more information can be found here.


3-7 December 2018 

IODP Gulf Coast Repository, College Station, TX, USA

Denise Kulhanek and Trevor Williams are organizing an Antarctic sediment core school for students and early career scientists, based around the Southern Ocean core collections in the IODP and Oregon State University core repositories. An official announcement with more information and details for how to apply is forthcoming after we receive final confirmation of funding for US participation from the IODP US Science Support Program.

We have already secured funding for international participants from the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research Past Antarctic Ice Sheet Dynamics (SCAR-PAIS) program.

The primary goals of this IODP-PAIS Antarctic School are to:


  • Train students and early career scientists to describe and interpret the stratigraphy of Antarctic marine sediment cores in the context of ice, climate, and source-to-sink processes to improve our understanding of past and future Antarctica.
  • Prepare these scientists for upcoming Antarctic expeditions and for their future research.

Those who are sailing on upcoming expeditions will benefit the most, but the school will be open to everyone. We are planning for approximately 10 U.S. and 10 international attendees, with an application process to determine participation. The school is planned for the week before AGU to allow those traveling internationally to combine travel to save time and money.


For more information, please contact Denise Kulhanek or Trevor Williams. An official announcement and application procedure will be distributed as soon as funding is finalised. 


The IPCC has selected the author teams that are now preparing the Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate (SROCC). The selected experts took on roles of Coordinating Lead Authors (who draft each individual chapter) and Review Editors, who ensure that comments by experts and governments are given appropriate consideration as the report develops. The teams are working together to produce the Special Report, set to be finalized in September 2019.


The full list of Coordinating Lead Authors, Lead Authors and Review Editors is available here. If you have a contribution for this initiative, it must be submitted by 15 October 2018; contact the working group for more information.



Milky way over Scott Base. Photo: Jonny Harrison.
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.