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OPP Office Advisory Committee

Minutes
XXVII Meeting of the Advisory Committee for the Office of Polar Programs (OPP)

October 27 -28 , 2005 • Arlington, VA

Members Present

James Swift, Chair, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California—San Diego
Sridhar Anandakrishnan, Department of Geosciences & EMS Environment Institute, Pennsylvania State University
Brian Bershad, Computer Sciences, University of Washington
Kelly Falkner, Chemical Oceanography, College of Oceanic and Atmospheric Sciences, Oregon State University
Beverly Hartline, Heritage University
James Hollibaugh, Marine Biology, University of Georgia
Martin Jeffries, Glaciology, University of Alaska, Fairbanks
Deanna Paniataaq-Kingston, Anthropology, Oregon State University
Paul Mayewski, Glaciology, Climate Change, Glaciochemistry, University of Maine
Thomas McGovern, Archaeology, Hunter College of City of New York
Marilyn Raphael, Geography, University of California, Los Angeles
Joshua Schimel, Past Chair, Ecology-Biology, University of California, Santa Barbara
Paul Shepson, Purdue University


Members Absent

John Ruhl, Cosmology and Astrophysics, Case Western Reserve University
Peter Schlosser
, Earth and Environmental Sciences, Columbia University

OPP Senior Staff Present

Karl Erb, Director, Office of Polar Programs
Michael Van Woert, Executive Officer
Erick Chiang, Head, Polar Research and Support Section
Scott Borg, Head, Antarctic Sciences Section
Sue La Fratta, Senior Staff Associate

The fall meeting of the Office of Polar Programs (OPP) Advisory Committee (OAC) was held at the National Science Foundation (NSF) in Arlington, VA, on October 27-28, 2005.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Welcome and Introductions

Dr. James Swift called the meeting to order at 8:40 a.m. on October 27, 2005. The minutes from the May 2005 meeting were approved in substance, with minor corrections to be provided at a later date.

Office of Polar Program Director's Report

Dr. Erb welcomed the OAC and discussed recent OPP staff changes. Drs. Roberta Marinelli, Program Director, Biology and Medicine and Janet Intrieri, Associate Program Manager, Arctic System Science (from NOAA) are additions to OPP. Ms. Pam Toschik, Environmental Specialist (to NOAA), Ms. Altie Metcalf, Budget & Planning Officer, Drs. Katy Flint, AAAS Fellow and Thomas Pyle, Section Head for the Arctic Section have departed. Some changes include Ms. Kimiko Bowens-Knox, Budget Officer, Ms. Sue LaFratta, Deputy PRSS detailed to Senior Staff Associate, Mr. Brian Stone, Science Support Manager detailed to Deputy PRSS and Ms. Elena King, detailed to NSF Director’s Office. OPP is in the process of forming the Environment, Health and Safety Section.

Dr. Erb then discussed the FY06 Budget Request to Congress that called for an overall reduction of 1.6% in OPP’s budget and a transfer of $48M from the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) to NSF to pay for polar icebreaking services. NSF is currently under a Continuing Resolution so new starts are not possible, but this will not impact release of the IPY solicitation. There is an impact on the transfer of $48M from the USCG, since Homeland Security does not have the money in its budget and NSF does not yet have its budget. NSF and USCG agreed that the Healy would return to the U.S. from Tromso and that the Polar Sea would go into dry dock for repairs in order to be ready for 2007. Dr. Swift asked whether this work would proceed even if the agency is under a Continuing Resolution, and Dr. Erb responded yes, that NSF will repay the USCG when NSF’s appropriation is final. The Commandant and the Vice Commandant assured the Director that work on the Polar Sea would be completed in time for the vessel to do the McMurdo break-in next year. Furthermore, that if NSF committed to the dry dock activity, the Polar Sea would not only operate in 2007 but also in 2008 without additional major repairs, unless something unexpected happened.

In response to Senate and House directives, OPP negotiated a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with the USCG. The essence of the MOA is that NSF annually convenes a meeting of all interested users and, based on what is learned, OPP tasks the USCG to develop a program plan. The program plan is evaluated by OPP on behalf of the Agency.

Noting language in the MOA that restricts unilateral changes to staffing, Dr. Falkner referred to the Committee’s previous discussions about flexibility and efficiency, and the Committee asked generally whether it was essential to maintain two full crews even if only one ship would be operating in any given year. Dr. Erb noted the possibility of reducing expenses substantially if only one ship is staffed, and stated that the USCG is looking to transfer crew members from the ship that is not operating that year to other duties within the USCG. As developments take place, OPP may want to organize a telephone conference to get the OAC’s advice.

Arctic Sciences Update — Dr. Michael Van Woert, (Acting) Section Head

Dr. Van Woert spoke on Arctic warming, addressed in NSF Press Release 05-093, “Arctic Warming May be a Factor in Demise of Lakes.” Other topics included the King Island Cultural Geography Project, the expansion of the science data sets using children and schools to assist, and the infrastructure of the Oden and the Healy. Dr. Van Woert also discussed the Bering Ecosystem Study, IPY and SEARCH-type activities that were highlighted in the Arctic research program solicitation, NSF 05-618. Also discussed were innovative activities such as E-Town meetings that give the community a voice and large teleconference forums with on-line presentation capabilities to keep us well connected to the community. Workshops and retreats also bring different communities together.

Dr. Schimel asked why NSF had not publicized Terry Chapin’s recent paper, and asked whether NSF was aware of the paper. Dr. Swanberg answered that notice was received but not in time for NSF to issue a press release. Dr. Erb requested that OAC members encourage their institutions’ public affairs offices to notify NSF of outstanding accomplishments.

Antarctic Sciences Update — Dr. Scott Borg, Section Head

Dr. Borg briefly discussed some recent events, including the WAIS meeting, CReSIS, the LARA Workshop, the IRIS/UNAVCO Remote Instrumentation Workshop, the South Pole All PIs meeting and what is currently happening with Southern Ocean GLOBEC Synthesis, ANDRILL, IceCube and the Palmer LTER. Other topics included the DISC Drill development, recent data on the structure of the inner core of the earth showing earthquakes in the Arctic, renewal of the Graduate Training Course in McMurdo – “Integrative Biology and Adaptation of Antarctic Marine Organisms” – the diverse background of proposers to the Antarctic Artists and Writers Program, and progress and future plans for completion of the South Pole 10 meter Telescope (SPT).

Dr. Erb added that Mr. Laurent Augustin from IPEV would, after Intellectual Property issues had been resolved, be detailed to work on the DISC drill at ICDS at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Dr. Falkner asked about the long-term funding profile for IceCube. Dr. Erb commented that OPP is beginning to focus on the need for funding the research that will use IceCube, which could begin as early as the beginning of the 2007. Operations, maintenance and science will cost approximately $10-12M per year, with funds from NSF (OPP and MPS), and non-U.S. partners.

Dr. Swift asked whether OPP had considered making the Artists and Writers Program a “bipolar” activity. Dr. Erb responded that OPP does not have the same authorization in the Arctic as it does in the Antarctic; namely, to manage all aspects of the USAP on behalf of the US government, but that OPP is doing similar things in the Arctic with other resources and through working with NSF’s Office of Legislative and Public Affairs.

IPY Education —Dr. Don Thompson, Assistant Director for Education and Human Resources (EHR)

Dr. Thompson discussed EHR’s role in the integration of education and research and the opportunity to work with OPP to educate people about the Polar Regions and their importance to the global system as this will be a significant legacy of IPY. Some proposal characteristics are leveraging the inherent appeal of the Polar Regions to teach people of all ages about scientific research and the relevance of Polar Regions to the earth system; engage and educate diverse and underrepresented communities; attract and develop the next generation of polar researchers; link scientific research with education; enhance and create science education resources that impact a broad public audience; provide research experiences for teacher professional development and translation into K-12 classrooms or for graduate and undergraduate students; and to include an appropriate evaluation plan. There are three focus areas:

  1. Polar Formal Science Education: teacher professional enhancement and undergraduate and graduate students
  2. Polar Informal Science Education: how to infuse education and science, and
  3. Coordination of Communication: the need for coordination and information dissemination about IPY education activities to a broad audience.

Dr. Thompson agreed with Dr. Falkner’s suggestion that involving TEA alumni would be a way of getting IPY out into their communities, and Dr. McGovern added that graduate and undergraduate students that participated in various public research experience programs would be very effective as ambassadors for polar science. EHR has a good relationship with the science curriculum groups in the U.S., and Dr. Swift noted that this relationship could be used to develop some long lasting curriculum developments related to IPY. Dr. Falkner added that there are oceanography curriculums and kits that could be used. Dr. Thompson also agreed that polar research principal investigators should include an aggressive education and outreach component in their proposals.

Dr. Hartline asked whether Dr. Thompson had advice for researchers on how to enhance the “ed” part of their proposals. Dr. Thompson answered that principal investigators could work with various groups to integrate an effective educational component into their research proposals. For example, principal investigators could work with an informal science group, e.g., museums, because they would know how to reach out to people and how to deal with children, parents and school systems. Principal investigators could look at larger K-12 systems (because of “No Child Left Behind”, a number of smaller systems have focused on math and reading and not on science). Principal investigators could link with or work with an association because they have outreach components that reach back to schools. Lastly, Principal investigators could link with their university’s ed school.

Members noted that it was difficult to keep students engaged because they are so far removed from the polar regions. Dr. Paniataaq-Kingston commented that there should be a way to make what is happening in the polar regions relevant to people in the “lower 48”, perhaps by encouraging a sister school program with monthly internet “meetings”. Dr. Erb commented that film producers had expressed interest in getting funding from NSF to produce a NOVA-like program. OLPA’s major thrust is to develop a website which can link to young people in particular. The challenge is for OPP to capture the attention of society just as the IGY did in 1957-58. Drs. Bershad and Shepson expressed the need to tell the story in a way the audience can relate to and understand.

NSF’s International IPY Activities —Dr. Kathryn Sullivan, (Acting) Director of the Office of International Science and Engineering (OISE)

Dr. Sullivan briefed the OAC on OISE’s responsibilities and IPY planning from OISE’s perspective. OISE will be working with OPP to support NSF’s and U.S. Government’s IPY goals. The focus is on the advancement of science for the next generation of scientists and engineers as well as broadening participation. The research community can use existing mechanisms such as summer institutes, PASIs (Pan-American Advanced Studies Institute), PIRE (Partnership for International Research and Education), post doctoral programs, planning visits and workshops to submit proposals. OISE will release a “Dear Colleague Letter” to capture these concepts and encourage the community as they are thinking about IPY. OISE will also be developing new opportunities such as having a greater emphasis on K-12 for teachers and students, sending kids to summer camps and working with underrepresented groups. NSF’s international activities are B.Y.O.B. (bring your own budget) — NSF funds the U.S. portion, and foreign counterparts bring their own resources; an exception might be made for a partner that is a developing country. OISE is supporting OPP in the IPY effort by bringing their insights and networks into the activity. Dr. Cassandra Dudka is the IPY point of contact for OISE.

ARRV Status and Research Goals — Ms. Holly Smith, Geosciences Directorate

Ms. Smith presented information on the Alaska Region Research Vessel (AARV). She discussed the Alaska region ocean science challenges, the need for ecosystem research in Alaskan waters and the education and diversity opportunities. The decline of perennial ice coverage from 1979-2001 is at an average rate of 9% per decade and was also projected out to 2075 at the same rate of decline. This critical loss of perennial ice coverage will have global impacts and requires further study. The ARRV will be a useful platform to support this research and the other science challenges. The need for ecosystem research in Alaskan waters is critical for many reasons. Improved access to Alaskan waters on the ARRV would allow for increased shipboard capacity and improved communications technology. Through NSF (OCE and OPP) and multi-agency funding, the Hybrid Remotely Operated Vehicle (HROV) is currently under development at WHOI. This unique tool will enable increased research opportunities in the Arctic from the ARRV. Ms. Smith also covered the history of the Helix and noted some research activities performed on the Helix as well as comparisons between the Helix and the ARRV.

There has been significant UNOLS community participation with the vessel design process for AARV. The vessel will operate in the challenging seasonal ice covered Alaskan waters, expanding current capabilities for oceanographic research in the region. The vessel and contract design package is now complete. In June 2005, the National Science Board (NSB) identified this as a first priority item. It is currently planned for inclusion in the FY07 budget and if included in the Budget to Congress, a solicitation could be released in 2006 for proposals to build and operate the ARRV and the vessel could be on-line by 2010. Some unique vessel design features include: ABS Ice Class AB1 icebreaking ability (2.5ft level ice), double hull, Baltic room for weather protected instrument deployment, heated decks, excellent sea-keeping, shallow draft (18ft), dynamic positioning, acoustically quiet and access for the disabled. Some science capabilities noted were winches suitable for 10,000m cable, accommodation for 3-20ft ISO science vans, ice-hardened multi-beam sonar installation, ADCP, 75 kHz and 150 kHz, large diameter coring and long coring, undulating towed vehicle deployment, MOCNESS towing system, Ethernet based fiber optic LAN and 26 science berths. The estimated construction period is 18 to 24 months and the acquisition cost is approximately $92.9M. Additional details can be found at www.unols.org, which provides a link to www.sfos.uaf.edu/arrvl.

Ms. Smith will pass along Dr. Jeffries’ comment on overhanging bridge wings, a particularly useful feature for ice scientists. Dr. Swift asked if there was anything the OPP OAC could do to help push along this vessel. Ms. Smith commented that the OAC could push to find the science areas and keep up the proposal pressure. Dr. Schimel noted that the Helix had supported valuable oceanographic research but had been inadequate to the task. Therefore, it would be important for the OAC to go on record that the ARRV is an important replacement for the Helix.

Dr. Bill Wiseman, Program Manager, Arctic System Sciences, briefed the OAC on OPP science opportunities that would be enhanced by the ARRV, including biophysical mooring deployments, surveys, process studies and outreach.

Dr. Swift noted that with both GEO and OPP interested in using the ARRV, mechanisms for sharing and co-funding research will need to be developed, and that this may be a topic for OAC consideration in the future.

Report on Environmental Research and Education Advisory Committee

Dr. Schimel described two recent publications, one the result of a joint DOE/NSF workshop. Dr. Schimel noted that there is a need for on-going, NSF-wide support in the area of environmental research, that it is an integrated effort, and that NSF is moving towards this.

Dr. Schimel noted that as he rotates off the OPP OAC, a replacement will be needed to represent OPP on the ERE OAC. Dr. Tom McGovern volunteered to take on this responsibility.

Antarctic Logistics Update

Dr. Erb introduced Mr. Chiang’s talk by noting that in order to plan for IPY, it will be important to reserve resources at South Pole for this purpose. While there will be a natural reduction in personnel as construction tapers down, we are also looking at the possibility of delaying the construction schedule by one or two years to create capacity to support IPY.

Mr. Erick Chiang, Section Head for Polar Research Support, provided an update on the South Pole Station Modernization project. All of the subsurface facilities have been completed and the elevated structure is in place. Currently, the focus is on completion of the interior of the elevated portion of the station. Work on the communications and station operations areas, the multi-use facility and the final berthing phase for a 154-person station will be completed this coming season, as will transition of all remaining functions from the old station to the new. The estimated cost to complete remains at $142.7M, or $9.3M over the revised budget, representing a 7% increase that is within the GPRA guidelines of +/- 10%. Logistics and weather caused a two-year delay in the project, but this year the 109th AW committed to an additional 50 flights to reduce the cargo backlog. This will enhance our ability to stay on the current schedule for commissioning in January 2007 and final completion in FY08. Referring to planning for IPY, Mr. Chiang explained that we are considering delaying construction of the cargo arch in order to make beds available. This would increase final costs by approximately $300K.

The neutrino detector is being built and installed, and work on installation of the South Pole Telescope will commence at the beginning of next year.

Mr. Al Sutherland provided an update on McMurdo Station access for 2005-06. This year OPP will charter the Krasin for a second year and the Polar Star will remain on stand-by. A team of naval architects will be aboard the Krasin making measurements of the ice and checking progress against what would be expected at various levels of ice. Mr. Sutherland also provided statistics on the speed of progress through various levels of ice for the Krasin. Dr. Swift seconded the importance of getting data on another icebreaker Mr. Sutherland noted that the major difference between the Krasin and the Polar-class icebreakers is that the Polar-class icebreakers are relatively light-weight but very heavy on horsepower, and the Krasin is one and a half times heavier but uses 50% of the horsepower. In addition, the Krasin can, in principle, do the entire Antarctic operation without refueling. If the Polar Star proves to be needed this year, it will take her approximately 30 days to transit from Seattle to McMurdo Station. Dr. Mayewski warned that iceberg C-16 will likely still cause problems because it will prevent warmer ocean water from coming in and thus inhibiting a blow out of the ice.

Mr. George Blaisdell provided an update on the South Pole Proof-of-Concept Traverse. In 2002, OPP launched this project to connect McMurdo Station to South Pole with the primary purpose of developing an alternative way of getting materials between McMurdo Station and South Pole without having to rely entirely on aircraft. The project shows that this is feasible. Some major achievements include:

  1. A safe route connecting McMurdo Station to the Polar Plateau at 86° South Latitude has been established.
  2. A variety of equipment has been evaluated and design modifications have been made to reduce the amount of towing resistance, to change the way the terrain was prepared and the vehicles that are used, resulting in the ability to haul approximately twice the load.
  3. A number of tools were discovered and used to efficiently and safely check yet-to-be-pioneered terrain. These tools will also be used to monitor the health and behavior of the terrain as the trail drifts over a number of years.

There will be a comprehensive wrap-up workshop to decide on the best use of the traverse and the best suite of equipment, techniques, tools, and preparation methods before moving on to a production traverse. Alternative and contingency launch points, international collaborations and science project applications are also being explored.

In response to Dr. Swift’s question on cost of delivery, Mr. Blaisdell responded that it is difficult to compare, but air delivery costs approximately $1.50-$1.75 per pound and the traverse appears to be half that cost. Dr. Bershad asked whether the traverse would return from Pole full or empty, and Mr. Blaisdell answered that this was being explored. Dr. Jeffries asked whether the high price of fuel has prompted the Program to reduce reliance on fossil fuels, and Mr. Chiang noted that PRSS set goals for fossil fuel reduction of 10% at South Pole and 10% at McMurdo, and significant progress has been made in increasing independence from fossil fuels at remote field camps. OPP is working cooperatively with the New Zealand program to continue to study wind energy. Dr. Falkner noted that the Arctic side should look into aspects of this technology as well.

Dr. Anandakrishnan asked if the traverse would be used for science support. Mr. Chiang stated that the traverse will free up LC-130 flights, allowing for either LC-130s or the traverse to be used for science or for resupply.

Antarctic Resupply

Ms. Maria Uhle, National Research Council, Polar Research Board, provided an update on the National Academy of Sciences Study. The Study will be completed in late summer of 2006. The Statement of Tasks for the Committee on the Assessment of U.S. Coast Guard Polar Icebreaker Roles and Future Needs are as follows:

  • Task #1 — Describe expected future needs for Polar Class Icebreakers; Determine approximate number and types of polar icebreakers; Determine where and when these ships may operate to meet national priority concerns in the Polar Regions
  • Task #2 — Present and analyze feasible scenarios to continue icebreaker operations in Polar Regions; SLEP (Service Life Extension Program); Replacement; Alternatives to meeting needs; Ice-strengthened vessels; Foreign vessels; Non-Coast Guard services
  • Task #3 — Describe potential changes in the roles and missions of U.S. Polar Class icebreakers owing to Arctic environmental change; Amount and type of icebreaking to support marine operations in Northern Sea Route and Northwest Passage; Determine type of icebreaker ship needed for new roles
  • Task #4 — Review existing laws governing U.S. Coast Guard polar icebreaking operations; Present recommended changes based upon potential missions and new operating regimes

Dr. Swift provided an update on the Subcommittee Report. One thought that came from ARVOC was what the next generation of Antarctic research vessels may look like. As it turns out, the specifications to support the science of the next generation of Antarctic polar research vessels gets into the polar icebreaker category. What came to the immediate attention of the subcommittee was the tremendous amount of fuel used by the polar class icebreakers. One question to keep in mind is what icebreaker fleets are required to meet U.S. Antarctic needs. In the longer run, the OAC may be called upon to help OPP decide about its icebreaker fleet in general.

The logistics system itself is near its limit and the energy expenditure is near the maximum annual delivery by one tanker. The present system is overly vulnerable to risk in certain areas. Out of the total fuel offload at McMurdo Station, 10% goes to South Pole Station, 20% goes to McMurdo Station, 25% goes to refueling icebreakers, and 45% is for flights to the South Pole. There is a potential to redistribute fuel used in Antarctica if the loop could be broken on either the icebreaker refueling and/or the flights to the South Pole from McMurdo Station to deliver fuel. The subcommittee was asked to look at the spectrum of options for field support of Antarctic science and to identify a subset of those options that require further study. Another focus of the subcommittee was what it thought the Antarctic program should look like in the future, the types of support for future science envisioned by the community, and to continue to accelerate work done in remote locations.

One thing that occurred to the subcommittee was that the U.S. might need access to more of the continent for future Antarctic science than it has immediate access to from McMurdo and South Pole stations. Whatever recommendations the subcommittee made had to improve the chance that USAP science would continue despite the strong potential for a lapse in resupply either because of an icebreaker issue and/or a problem with the ice in the McMurdo Station area. Whatever mechanisms OPP uses must be efficient and able to sustain additional science without additional resource requirements, able to adapt to various changes in mission, and be friendly to the environment. Dr. Swift reviewed the recommendations as a reminder of what the subcommittee already recommended.

Dr. Erb expressed appreciation for the excellent work done by the subcommittee in a short amount of time, setting the stage to begin to develop a plan that will reduce vulnerability to events that threaten the program.

Mr. Chiang provided an update on the technical aspects of implementing the recommendations. Implementation of any of the recommendations affects some part of the others and will be the challenge of putting all of this together.

Icebreaking. OPP is starting to develop the characteristics of an icebreaking vessel: a vessel capable of completing the resupply mission without refueling in McMurdo Station, cost advantages of a commercially manned vessel, long-term charter but, more importantly, a charter for the period of the resupply support. OPP found that access to South Pole from McMurdo, other Antarctic sites, and off-continent sites would reduce reliance on the LC-130s and South Pole’s reliance on McMurdo Station, giving OPP the opportunity to look at how we might optimize McMurdo Station The feasibility studies have shown that a hard-surface runway at South Pole would support any heavy-lift wheeled aircraft. The challenge is to validate the applicability of foundation processing techniques to a hard surface runway. Dr. Falkner wondered whether a wheeled runway would bring an influx of tourists. Dr. Erb explained that we work with an organization of tour company operators for cruise ship visits to McMurdo Station, that the process works well, and that if necessary we would work similarly with South Pole visitors to reduce the chances of interference with research or of environmental degradation.

Traverse. OPP is examining alternate routes for the traverse. For those areas that cannot be reached with existing aircraft services or supplies that cannot otherwise be moved from McMurdo Station, OPP might utilize other nation’s resources as jumping-off points. A possibility being looked at is from the French station, Dumont d’Urville, to Dome C and then to South Pole; and a more promising possibility that has not yet been explored is from the Chinese Station, Zhongshan, to Dome A and then to South Pole. Dr. Erb asked whether changes in operations or in access points would be beneficial to the science community. Dr. Borg answered that his section had been having discussions with segments of the community, but that it is difficult to quantify the potential benefit because it would be defined by proposals. Dr. Erb recalled that the COV questioned whether proposals were not submitted because of perceived logistical constraints, and Dr. Swift noted that with the USCGC Healy, once built, many proposals were received.

Optimizing McMurdo Station. OPP is focusing on what is needed to optimize McMurdo station and to reduce the support footprint. The science community needs to be involved because it is not only the logistics hub but also the jumping-off point for 80% of the Antarctic science program. There was discussion on holding a workshop to bring together input from the science and the operational communities. The output from those reviews would provide the opportunity to take an in-depth look at the program. The long-range plan would be revisited and revised to reflect the new McMurdo station. Improvement in supply chain management is an example of an on-going review that can contribute to optimization.

Commercial Heavy-Lift, Intercontinental Aviation Services. Commercial providers have shown interest, but the cost and type of aircraft that the USAP needs from the commercial sector have not quite converged yet. The New Zealand Air Force has acquired Boeing 757s. Negotiations with the New Zealanders are currently in process to bring that aircraft into the USAP’s support system.

Lighter-than-Air (LTA) Craft. Mr. Blaisdell is starting to research and network to establish contacts for this type of support and to make the USAP’s needs known to the LTA community. Some conceptual ideas that the U.S. Army is exploring to move large amounts of people and things are noted under Tab 11 in the OAC book.

Dr. Erb discussed the focus of the Report to Congress and noted that the current method of accessing McMurdo station for resupply of South Pole and McMurdo stations may not be available within the next 2-3 years. The Polar Star and Polar Sea are no longer reliable or cost-effective, so OPP must find a different way. Congress has therefore asked the OAC to prepare a report for its use during the appropriations process. The NAS study will also come out and this report will also feed into congressional thinking but the focus of this report has to do primarily with the future of the USCG icebreaking capability. The focus of the OAC is on the science needs.

Drs. Erb and Swift will work on a draft and ask the OAC for comments. Some thoughts on what could be addressed in the Report are whether a ship should be a research platform or a Coast Guard ship; should it be manned by military personnel or should commercial crewing be used; is there is a commercial outfit that would meet the specifications of the science community and also other needs of the USCG, etc. Dr. Swift agreed that the OAC should try to go beyond the subcommittee report.

Committee Wrap-Up Discussion

Drs. Jeffries and Anandakrishnan agreed that a commercial ship would probably be more cost effective. Dr. Schimel added that as the USCG is under financial pressure, their mission has been pushed further from science support and it is difficult to see how NSF will operate with a USCG ship without running into this kind of conflict. NSF should control operation of its resupply mechanisms.

Dr. Bershad suggested that the subcommittee’s report be prefaced with an executive summary that highlights the importance of maintaining the current logistical support as well as addressing additional issues. Dr. Anandakrishnan stated that the OAC should make a recommendation as to how NSF should forward the report to Congress. A cover letter could include words to the effect that the right way to go forward is with a commercial model that would be cheaper, more efficient, etc.

Dr. Erb noted that OPP will proceed so that we have something for the Congressional committees when they ask what NSF is planning to do. The subcommittee has given a lot of information for OPP to work with. OPP is planning to issue a Request for Information to see if there is any private sector interest in helping with the icebreaker issue. If the OAC wants to encourage NSF to go in one direction or another, it would be helpful. Part of the strategy that OPP is actively pursuing is to try and find funds to deal with a bad year, for extra fuel storage, for example, which is another argument to be made with OMB and Congress that funds for that sort of thing would be well spent.

Dr. Swift noted that the discussion was interesting and needs to be discussed further, and he suggested that an unofficial off-line discussion be resumed.

The meeting adjourned for the day at 5:30 p.m.

Friday, October 28, 2005

The meeting reconvened at 8:30 a.m. on October 28, 2005.

Status of ICSU IPY Planning Efforts

Dr. Erb introduced Dr. David Carlson, International Council for Science (ICSU), via video teleconferencing. ICSU holds a General Assembly every third year and that Assembly involves the heads of the Union (19-20) and the national membership (80 nations). They go through a variety of international science business, review plans, changes of procedures, etc. The Assembly gave a strong final endorsement to IPY. ICSU has received more than 1,000 ideas to date and attempted to categorize the ideas into central themes. What the Joint Committee tried to do is to encourage international collaborations and linkages in efforts that would recruit new generations into science generally and specifically into polar science.

The website www.ipy.org shows the IPY planning chart and where the science is coming together. It also allows ICSU to identify gaps and determine where more coordination is needed. Dr. Carlson said the big themes in IPY are Climate Systems, Permafrost, Atmospheric Sciences, Biodiversity, and Northern Health. September’s proposal submissions showed a strong interest in Aerosol and Physical Oceanography in the South. There are additional programs that are bipolar such as climate machinery, integration through ocean circulation systems of the Polar Regions and individual proposals driven by the Canadian process.

In order to address holes or gaps in the science, a meeting with the major funding agencies around the world will be held around the spring or summer. This will be a good opportunity to call attention to critical resource shortages or critical science gaps, hopefully in time to allow for reallocation of resources if the national funding agencies agree that there is a gap. If the gaps have not been identified by early spring and responded to by the summer, it becomes logistically too late to do anything. The Canadians have always been a strong part of IPY. The Canadian coordination of proposals wraps up into obvious themes such as Northern Health and the Arctic Climate Systems. The Canadian contribution will spark other countries to announce, declare or secure their position in IPY. There are several proposals and efforts from both the science side and the education and outreach side that are specifically focused on follow-up work from IGY initiatives. ICSU wants to push towards an integrated system that will out-live IPY. IPY proposals show an interest in improving and passing the legacy of observing systems that were initiated during IGY to future generations. The World Data Centers are a legacy of IGY as well.

Dr. Jeffries was concerned that the ICSU process will somehow discriminate against the smaller investigator who is not part of the themes. Dr. Carlson commented that it is possible for any individual to put in their idea. The Joint Committee has said that a level of coordination is desirable, but that does not shut out the individual that has ideas that he or she could do locally. ICSU is happy to keep that process open to those that are not part of the larger themes. Dr. Falkner asked about ICSU’s role in keeping track of the data collected during IPY, and Dr. Carlson responded that there are many established data centers. IPY will not replace them, but will try to establish connections between them.

Dr. Erb ended by thanking Dr. Carlson for the extensive efforts he has been leading as things are taking shape.

IPY and Social Science Research

Dr. Peg Barratt, Division Director, Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences Directorate (SBE), provided an overview of SBE and IPY collaboration between SBE and the OPP Arctic Social Sciences Program. She discussed areas of conceptual overlap between social and behavioral sciences and polar broadly and the current joint-funded IPY-relevant projects. Also noted were Expressions of Intent that were submitted by U.S. scientists to work in ways that would involve social and behavioral sciences in IPY. Some larger hopes for IPY collaborations are documenting endangered languages, General Social Survey-International, human adaptations to the Polar Regions, Arctic Community Observing Network, and social-cultural aspects of infectious diseases.

Dr. David Lightfoot, Assistant Director, SBE, added that he was particularly interested in the project to document endangered languages that is being conducted with the National Endowment for the Humanities. At the moment, there are 70 languages that are being worked on, 9 of which are in the Arctic. There are about 7,000 languages and about half of them will disappear within a generation. The DEL project will use elaborate recording devices to produce a video of people speaking and recording muscle movement, which interacts with the Cyberinfrastructure initiative at the Foundation. There are three other major initiatives on documenting these languages around the world and SBE is trying to draw the four organizations together to coordinate the work as effectively as possible.

Dr. McGovern gave a presentation on projects funded by OPP that overlap with what SBE does, projects that have had long-term funding from NSF to carry out international programs in the North Atlantic in archeology, paleoecology and modern climatology. Trying to combine science with education and science with local development in the North Atlantic and his experience in working with people in the Faroes Islands, Iceland and Greenland; trying to bring in people from rural communities who are actively engaged in the land and environment; getting the rural community involved in the archeology and science; and finding ways for principal investigators to contribute to the community’s interest in developing their own set of networks to connect to island groups. The rural communities want to be connected because they see historical, cultural and environmental tourism as the wave of the future. Dr. Paniataaq-Kingston discussed the King Island Project that returns King Island elders to the island to document place names.

Dr. Erb mentioned that within the Biology Directorate (BIO), there is a partnership with NIH called Ecology of Infectious Diseases, which has the potential to work with SBE, OPP and BIO to get a better understanding of climate change, for example with the change in migration of wildlife. That change in the ecology could have a significant link to the spread of infectious diseases to which people have not developed immunity because they have not been exposed to those diseases. This is an exciting opportunity that OPP is beginning to look into. As Dr. Paniataaq-Kingston mentioned, it is a good way to put together western science and native science so that both can advance.

Dr. Anandakrishnan stated that he does not know how to generate interest in the polar field with urban poor and rural poor underrepresented communities because he believes that there is some sort of barrier. Dr. Schimel believes that this issue goes beyond polar and is an issue for environmental scholarship in general. A majority of urban students have never been backpacking and do not have a connection to the outside world. This includes not only urban and rural poor, but upper middle class and non-minority students. Dr. Erb commented that IPY could benefit from expertise developed in SBE on how to communicate into different parts of the culture.

Post Docs: Should OPP Initiate 4th Competition?

Dr. Borg discussed the Postdoctoral Fellowship program: goals and overview, cohort statistics for FY04 and FY05, and ways of meeting program goals. OPP invites Committee discussion on whether this program should continue beyond FY06.

Dr. Hartline commented that OPP should not terminate the program before IPY because it has not been going on long enough to evaluate its effectiveness. Dr. Kerttula noted that the Foundation has been working on what works best in post doc programs. OPP is trying to implement some NSF-wide best practices like travel grants, health insurance and issues in mentoring, recognizing that mentoring is key to career building. Dr. Wiseman added that OPP is trying to define a way to evaluate the applications and the mentoring program, which is written by a potential mentor. OPP is struggling with how not to penalize a fellow for a mentoring program that may not be as strong as one written by someone else. Dr. Bershad suggested that OPP should decide now on the metrics of success so that in 2-3 years there is data to aid the decision on whether the program should or should not continue. Dr. Jeffries suggested that OPP continue the program until 2010 to realize the benefits of IPY and that OPP should have an evaluation of the mentoring aspect of the post-doc submissions.

Dr. Mayewski noted that the program should be growing, and Dr. Shepson asked how we are disseminating the information. Dr. Erb noted that this program was designed to bring in young people who would not normally come into the field and concluded from these discussions that OPP needs to be more aggressive in bringing this to the attention of such people, that the program needs to keep going, but that it needs to get better at this. He also mentioned that OPP is not doing very well in bringing new members into the research establishment, particularly from underrepresented groups. He hopes this program will be a mechanism for doing this.

Science Infrastructure Planning in the Arctic

Dr. Neil Swanberg spoke briefly on the Arctic Observing System and SEARCH and the relationship between the science drivers or components and the infrastructure that may appear in the next few years. One of SEARCH’s foci is detecting change, which is the observing component. It is intended to work closely with the modeling community as science driven observations and not just monitoring. The areas that SEARCH intends to investigate are atmosphere, ocean and sea ice, terrestrial hydrology & cryosphere, terrestrial ecosystem, human dimensions and paleoclimate & paleoenvironment. The Europeans have developed a program called DAMOCLES, which is focused on the oceans, ice and atmosphere, and its focus is primarily on observation and modeling for long term studies. Their objective and goals are similar to SEARCH, so there is clearly an interest and a need to cooperate with them.

Dr. Paul Mayewski proposed that the OAC think seriously about having something like an Antarctic SEARCH. Dr. Erb agreed that this was an exciting and intriguing idea.

Mr. Simon Stephenson discussed science infrastructure planning in the Arctic and asked the OAC for comments on the Arctic planning process. The issues that OPP is facing are as follows: design, to make a model of something so disciplinary and working as a single network; data management, information about the data and what the network could do for the scientists; balance, what should the balance of funding be in a flat budget scenario; and, performance, a network has to perform for the science community.

Dr. Anandakrishnan noted that the infrastructure of an observing network is very much a technical engineering problem as well as a scientific problem, opening up an enormous opportunity in two ways:

  1. to go to other directorates, and
  2. to try and target some portion of the post doc program to bring in engineers, computer scientists or medical instrumentation people, etc.

This gives OPP the opportunity to bring in other communities or underrepresented groups. Dr. Paniataaq-Kingston commented that OPP should involve the local communities by offering training to operate machinery and then having the local communities operate it year-round. Dr. Schimel noted that the trend, with NEON for example, is to remove the human element. The discussion continued, with Dr. Falkner commenting that ultimately we might want to see an IPY legacy be the ready ability to link Arctic and Antarctic data; she is unclear about what OPP is doing in regards to data management. She requested that an overview of current data management activities and investments and possible future directions be on the agenda for the next OAC meeting.

Mr. Stephenson discussed the Barrow infrastructure. Discussions regarding the renewal of the Barrow facility began in the mid-90s with a broad review of Arctic logistics requirements. The current activity has been led by the native corporation of the village of Barrow, UIC, and is not an NSF-driven process but rather a discussion between UIC and their congressional delegates. The $62M facility is funded by NOAA and scheduled to be complete in Spring 2007, in time for IPY. NSF has been involved in the process, but somewhat on the periphery. Given where we are, what role does NSF play and what role does the NSF community play in the new facility? Mr. Stephenson noted that Dr. Bement visited Barrow and reiterated that NSF’s focus should be on research and research support directly driven by that research. Dr. Bement asked OPP and BASC to focus on IT and technology and instrumentation. OPP is currently working through BASC and UIC.

Dr. Erb commented that NSF would be looking for opportunities to take advantage of this structure to benefit the research community. OPP will be drawing off of existing community workshops, possibly holding new workshops to identify how OPP can make this facility useful to the science community in the traditional ways that NSF operates.

Dr. Swift noted that because he would be leaving prior to the conclusion of the meeting, he wanted to thank OPP staff, particularly Elena King, Kim Silverman, Brian Stone and Kimiko Bowens-Knox for their hard work. He also thanked the departing members of the OAC and asked Dr. Schimel to chair the afternoon session. Dr. Swift asked Dr. Schimel to discuss IPY matters and how to help NSF make it the best possible experience for the country, and the resupply memo in more detail. He asked committee members to send him input on the resupply memo and to also send names of potential new committee members to Dr. Erb.

Lunch with NSF Director, Arden Bement

Dr. Arden Bement, Director, NSF, reported to the OAC that the FY05 budget closeout was very successful, that FY06 is in conference, and that FY07 has been submitted to OMB. . He mentioned that the ARRV has been given a very high priority by the National Science Board for an FY07 start. ICSU has reported an enormous amount of interest among countries that were not expected to have an interest in participating in IPY. One thing NSF really wants to leverage is education and outreach. The media has written about the waning interest in science and engineering education among our young people, which has become a national concern and a major concern within the Foundation. The major global competition over the next decade is going to be to try to acquire educated scientists and engineers from wherever they are produced. NSF is going to be in that global competition. IPY is a wonderful opportunity to bring the Antarctic and Arctic and research activities into the living rooms and into the classrooms. NSF intends to devote enough resources to make that happen and to coordinate with other agencies to get the largest impact that we can.

Dr. Bement thanked Dr. Swift and the subcommittee for an outstanding report on Antarctic Resupply. The most important impact that the report can have is to bring to the attention of the Appropriators and Authorizers that there are options for dealing effectively and cost effectively with the resupply requirements in the Antarctic. NSF hopes to retain maximum flexibility in the final conference language with regards to the USCG and icebreakers.

BASC’s plan for Barrow is extremely ambitious, and NSF will probably not be able to support it to the extent that they want. NSF does feels that it has an obligation to ensure that the science community is well served in that part of the world, and will be looking to make significant investments, perhaps in developing a library, computational support, observational support, etc., in response to proposals.

Dr. Bement continued by noting that Cyberinfrastructure planning is a very active arena. NSF is fully engaged with DARPA in their high productivity computing system program in terms of working with them on existing code analysis, execution time models, etc., and developing a spectrum of execution benchmarks based on the interest of NSF communities, supporting the high-end computing university research initiative and also working with them on acquisition strategies. The solicitation to acquire a high performance system was released. In developing that solicitation, NSF is using the DARPA guidelines for portability, sustainability, etc., so that NSF can align future acquisitions with the most successful vendors that come out of DARPA’s program.

Dr. Swift was concerned that there would be a massive proposal and coordination effort for IPY that will put a workload on OPP and asked if NSF as a whole could temporarily allocate resources to assist OPP. Dr. Bement replied that there are three limitations:

  1. NSF cannot initiate activities that NSF cannot fund.
  2. NSF cannot support activities that cannot be supported safely and the environment is of paramount concern.
  3. NSF cannot entertain proposals that cannot be supported logistically.

He suspects in the final analysis that NSF is going to have to be selective and select out the most important science that would meet those three criteria. Dr. Erb added that there is a corollary to the observation Dr. Swift made and that is the danger that success rates will be very low and the community will invest a lot of effort in writing proposals that will not bear fruit, essentially a wasted effort. It is going to be hard to perform triage to ensure a reasonable success rate. Dr. Bement reiterated that NSF is going to have to be very selective and very focused, and may have to limit the number of submissions from various institutions because there is nothing worse than getting workload that one cannot handle well with high quality.

The Board recently reviewed NSF’s merit review process and submitted their report to Congress. Their recommendation for further improvement dealt with more transparency and more quality. The transparency can be dealt with internally, but quality is a community issue. NSF will continue to focus on that and asks for the Advisory Committees’ advice. NSF certainly wants to maintain its high standards as we get into IPY.

Dr. Hartline commented that with the interest in broadening participation to include underrepresented groups in science who are also underrepresented in OPP, CEOSE (Committee on Equal Opportunities in Science and Education) is very concerned about improving proposal success rates. The possibility that an institution may choose their principal investigators based on the strongest track record would mean fewer opportunities for the underrepresented groups. She noted that CEOSE would ask that NSF be conscious of that potential unintended consequence. Dr. Bement responded that he has been mindful of increasing NSF’s success rates and that NSF cannot have conflicting objectives by setting a high priority on broadening participation while at the same time taking actions that thwart it. NSF will continue to push to manage the internal portfolio so that some real gains in success rates can be seen.

Dr. Bement expressed that NSF should raise enough public interest to set the stage for legacy investments that would sustain whatever happens in FY07 and FY08 for the next 50 years. NSB has put out a vision document that was called for by last year’s appropriation’s bill and will be released for public comment after the December meeting. There has been close cooperation between the OD and the Board to align strategic planning activities with the vision document. The strategic plan needs to be completed before the next budget cycle. The change NSF is trying to bring about compared to the last cycle is to make it much more inclusive and transparent. NSF is using the last plan as a way of soliciting comments on how that might be improved for the next plan. He asks the OAC to provide feedback.

Response to the 2004 PRSS COV Report

Mr. Erick Chiang briefed the OAC on Integrated Project Planning, which stemmed from the COV recommendation related to how PRSS deals with cost and resource allocations. The integrated program goals were tied back to some of the discussions with the COV and what the Polar Research Support Section (PRSS) wants to achieve. The goals are

  1. build flexibility into the budgeting and resource allocation process to enable longer range planning and forecasting. Part of what is driving this is particularly at South Pole Station where it was found that commitments were made that were perhaps overly ambitious, where PRSS was struggling not only to accommodate what was in the plan, but also to make room for new projects. Part of the goal of this process is to avoid this situation in the future;
  2. work with the Antarctic Sciences Section (AntSci) to develop the process and methodology for cost and resource allocations and planning; and
  3. look at more detailed planning at the proposal stage, balancing the workload put on researchers submitting proposals.

AntSci and PRSS held a two-day retreat and developed ways to identify total resource requirements for proposals for upcoming years. Integrated Project Planning may be applied to this year’s round of proposals and then long-term commitments would be folded in.

Recommendations from the staff retreat included:

  1. To better understand all costs prior to award; this was not done in the past because PRSS was reviewing support packages well after proposals were funded.
  2. An agreement between AntSci and PRSS on how support will be met to be clear on what comes out of the resource pot on the science side and what comes out on the support side through Raytheon.
  3. Rational project plan with PI buy-in to avoid post-award costs or support. This involves making sure that the PI is included in the process so it becomes a three-way discussion with NSF, Raytheon and the PI.
  4. Create a framework for managing post-award changes.
  5. Begin discussions on emerging science plans and the need to find a way to incorporate new ideas into the process.
  6. Better understanding of the balance between science support and infrastructure needs.

Mr. Chiang also spoke about goals for the proposal phase, i.e. focusing on information needed for scientific merit review and estimates of field support, project support costs and USAP resources needed to support the project (ship, helo, etc.). In addition, goals for the post merit-review phase, i.e. developing careful project plans for all years of a project, identifying the support needed and confirming that with NSF, RPSC and the PI. Careful documentation of project scope at award will be used for benchmarking purposes, decommissioning plans and the process for flexibility or change management. In the implementation phase, the program officer’s team, made up of members of PRSS and the Antarctic Science Section staff, will make recommendations for how to partition costs between the Antarctic Science Section and PRSS. Mr. Chiang ended by reviewing the timeline for the current process versus the desired timeline. One member of the committee commented that this is a good response to the COV report and is good in the long run. There were questions on the responsibility placed on the PI to do a better job in estimating the cost of doing research, e.g., materials and supplies, and on not knowing whether to include these in the budget or not. Dr. Borg commented that OPP would need to get a better handle on how to estimate those things so that we could understand what our capacities are.

Dr. Erb noted that the system needs to be more transparent and clear and that not only is there a cost issue, but there is also a workload issue that has to be minimized. Dr. Anandakrishnan added that there should be guidelines for proposers on the level of details and transparency from whomever is doing the estimating so that there is consistency. Dr. Borg commented that OPP would need to define what will be requested from principal investigators Mr. Stone added that OPP is really targeting the materials and supplies that are needed to do the science aspect of fieldwork. The complexity of work that the principal investigators are doing now is such that OPP and Raytheon do not necessarily understand all aspects of what it takes to do that type of work. PRSS is focusing on chemicals, lab supplies and consumables so that the estimated cost is enough to support a project. Dr. Erb commented that OPP needs to develop a draft form that specifies at a high level the information being sought and to seek feedback from principal investigators and the community on questions such as how burdensome it would be, would it capture the information that PRSS needs for their planning, how much iteration between the principal investigators and the contractor would be needed afterwards, etc. OPP needs something concrete to develop a level of comfort with the process.

Dr. Anandakrishnan commented that this a valuable exercise to go through having been through the resupply exercise on the subcommittee, where there was talk about bringing the science community and logistics community together to hash out questions. Mr. Chiang noted that the “process timeline” is a matter of increasing the efficiency of how PRSS goes about getting the information, which is by way of the planning support group that Mr. Stone is involved with at Raytheon. This group’s job is to focus on proposals, to look at plans including out-year plans, to take out-brief information and projections, and to update estimates that they may already have on the books. This group is in its third-year and getting experience and getting better at what they are doing.

Dr. Anandakrishnan commented that there are two positive outcomes of this:

  1. for those proposals that are unsuccessful the first time, this transparency in procedures would allow the PI to get feedback that would help the second time around and
  2. OPP’s workload would be reduced the second time around because the only thing that would need to be evaluated would be the changed parts.

Mr. Stone noted that this system would also help bring in people who have good science ideas, but would need help with the logistics and the planning portion. Active engagement up-front between the proposer, OPP and RPSC would assist in moving the project forward. Dr. Anandakrishnan added that the idea of a workshop between the science and the support side would be very valuable.

Mr. Brian Stone discussed user committee management and the recommendations that came from the COV. The McMurdo, Palmer, and South Pole user committee meetings were held during the summer. NSF participated in meetings either directly or via video conference. PRSS advised committee chairs of the COV’s recommendations and PRSS’s plans for standardizing the charters, membership rotation, and action item tracking and follow-up. All of the committee reports that were submitted have been posted to www.usap.gov. From this point forward, PRSS will focus on committee recommendations rather than on detailed minutes, and PRSS intends to use www.usap.gov for posting and distributing recommendations and follow-up action taken. PRSS also outlined plans for a standard reporting framework and process. The proposed process will generally take approximately nine weeks.

In response to a question about how ARVOC fits into the process, Mr. Stone noted that the process for ARVOC, although it is different from some of the other user committee structures, works very well. Dr. Erb commented that the concept of posting the recommendations and subsequent NSF responses to the web is an important thing to achieve for ARVOC as well.

NSF Strategic Planning Process

Dr. Erb discussed the NSF Strategic Planning process. NSF is required to review and revise the strategic plan every five years. The current plan is based on four fundamental concepts: People, Ideas, Tools and Organizational Excellence. NSF wants to be sure to capture the important elements that should be focused on in the new plan. He asked the OAC to provide input so that he can feed it back into the process in the agency. Dr. Schimel commented that the draft makes each of the categories equal, whereas Cyberinfrastructure is the means of getting to Advancing the Frontier. Partnership and Management Excellence is another example of a means to an end, rather than an end. There are only one or two ultimate goals and that is Advancing the Frontier and Educating and Engaging Public. Dr. Mayewski asked about adding a new line for Vision and Legacy, that it is important for NSF to demonstrate to people who join in the process what has been accomplished so far. Dr. Erb added that Advancing the Frontier could be one element and Broadening Participation could be another that is listed in the “Vision” category.

Committee Wrap-Up Discussion

Dr. Erb briefly discussed the purpose of COVs. The committees provide input to agency-wide evaluations done in response to requests from the Administration called PART and to a Congressionally-mandated report called GPRA. In addition, the COVs provide valuable feedback to management and program officers on how we are doing. All NSF programs must be reviewed every three years. The COVs are subcommittees of the OACs and thus the OAC should have a liaison to each of OPP’s COVs. Dr. Schimel suggested that there should be one official COV with two separate subcommittees, one for each polar region. This concept would probably be better because combining them would be a huge amount of work. The consensus was for this concept. Dr. Schimel noted that OPP needs two liaisons for the COV and one for ERE and asks that those who are continuing on the OAC think about what they are willing and interested in volunteering for. Dr. McGovern volunteered to be the ERE liaison and Dr. Paniataaq-Kingston volunteered to be the liaison for the Arctic Sciences Section (ArcSci) COV.

Returning to the Antarctic resupply report, Dr. Schimel noted that the key points to note in the cover letter [to Congress] are the need for a flexible mechanism to ensure reliable access to a quality ship with an experienced crew at an affordable price. Dr. Erb commented that in the short term, flexibility is very important while the best way to secure the long-term ship solution is determined. Dr. Anandakrishnan noted that in the long-term, a ship solution is needed. Dr. Erb also added that the cover letter should have a sentence about the Healy being a very good research platform upon which the science community depends heavily.

Dr. Erb suggested that there would be a need to advertise for an IPA in order to assist with the IPY proposal activities and to coordinate with other agencies. Dr. Borg asked the OAC to provide recommendations on how OPP might consider implementing the changes to the AntSci/PRSS review process.

Dr. Hartline suggested that the Chair of the OAC send a letter of appreciation to Ms. Altie Metcalf for her fine service to the OAC over the years.

Dr. Erb thanked the OAC, particularly those members that have devoted 3-4 years to the committee. He thanked Dr. Schimel for chairing the OAC in the past and again at the conclusion of the present meeting. He thanked Dr. Anandakrishnan for chairing the OAC effectively in the past as well, for having agreed to serve another year on the OAC and for having served on the Resupply Committee. Dr. Schimel thanked all for their contributions and thanked Dr. Erb and the staff of OPP. Dr. Anandakrishnan thanked Elena King for all of her assistance. Dr. Erb thanked Drs. Hartline, Jeffries, Mayewski, Shepson and Ruhl for serving as this is their last session with the OAC.

The meeting concluded at 2:35pm.

See Agenda for this meeting.

Last Updated

May 2006

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