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Letter from Dr. Karl Erb to the Office of Polar Programs Advisory Committee

May 3, 2004

Dear Colleagues,

This notebook contains background material for discussions at our meeting on May 10-11, 2004. The meeting will begin at 8:30 a.m. Monday and end mid-afternoon on Tuesday, so that you will be able to get to area airports by 5:00pm.

OAC Chair Dr. Josh Schimel and I have developed the enclosed detailed agenda. Josh will be contacting you individually to identify members who will take the lead for the Committee in discussions of various agenda items. The enclosed draft agenda identifies the OPP or NSF staff member designated to serve as the resource person for each topic so that you can consult with him or her as you organize your session prior to the meeting. A list of telephone numbers and e-mail addresses for OPP staff is included with this letter.

There are a number of new subjects of considerable importance on which we need your guidance and advice. One concerns preparations for International Polar Year research activities in 2007 and 2008 and another is planning for future infrastructure needs, both terrestrial and in ice-covered waters. We would also like to bring the committee up to date and invite discussion on a number of ongoing activities, such as the IceCube Observatory at South Pole Station; Environment, Safety, and Health in polar activity; the new OPP post-doctoral program and OPP responses to last fall's Committee of Visitors review.

Finally, I want to call your attention to the need to convene a Committee of Visitors to review Antarctic Research Support, Operations, and Logistics this summer or fall. NSF policy requires such a review once every three years. We in OPP rely on theses reviews to identify areas for improvement, validate areas of excellence, and to provide an independent assessment of how we are doing. The Committee of Visitors is a subcommittee of your Committee and their work will be conducted under your auspices.

For those of you who have requested paper background material you will find it in this briefing book. Otherwise the book provided web addresses where the material can be found, and paper copies in cases where electronic formats weren't available.

I always find our meetings stimulating and I look forward to our meeting this spring. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.


Karl A. Erb
Director, Office of Polar Programs
National Science Foundation

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