December 1997 Volume XXXII--Number 4


U.S. Antarctic Program news Science notebook--News from Antarctica and beyond Initial results of geologic investigations in the Shackleton Range and southern Coats Land nunataks, Antarctica by Frederick E. Hutson, Mark A. Helper, Ian W.D. Dalziel, and Stephen W. Grimes

Laboratory observations of ice-floe processes made during long-term drift and collision experiments by Susan Frankenstein and Hayley Shen

National Science Foundation 1998 appropriations include funding for South Pole Station construction

Antarctic Treaty notes: CCAMLR's Working Group on Ecosystem Monitoring and Management meets in San Diego

Foundation awards of funds for antarctic projects, 1 June through 30 September 1997


Carried aboard the SeaStar spacecraft, the new orbiting satellite instrument SeaWiFS (the Sea-viewing Wide Field-of-view Sensor Project), views every square kilometer of cloud-free ocean every 48 hours. With each pass, it charts ocean color, which enables it to quantify the concentration of microscopic marine plants called phytoplankton. The color in most of the world's oceans varies with the concentration of chlorophyll and other plant pigments in the water--the more phytoplankton present, the greater the concentration of plant pigments and the greener the water. By charting water color against the Coastal Zone Color Scanner (CZCS), shown in the key with the image, SeaWiFS can derive chlorophyll concentrations and from them determine phytoplankton concentrations. The oceanographic community uses these data about the abundance of phytoplankton and other primary producers--that is, the algae and bacteria at the bottom of the food chain that use sunlight and chemicals, rather than other organic material, as sources of energy--to study ocean processes on a global scale. The information can also be used to assess the ocean's role in the global carbon cycle and the exchange of other critical elements and gases between the atmosphere and the ocean. The SeaWiFS mission is part of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's "Mission to Planet Earth" project, whose goal is to help scientists and researchers gain understanding of the Earth as a functioning system by viewing it from space. (Image provided by the SeaWiFS Project, NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center.)

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The Antarctic Journal is a medium for information about, and related to, the U.S. Antarctic Program. NSF welcomes ideas for improvement. Send comments to Winifred Reuning at (e-mail) or Editor, Antarctic Journal, Office of Polar Programs, National Science Foundation, 4201 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, Virginia 22230 (703-306-1033).

The Antarctic Journal invites contributions from members of the antarctic science, logistics, and policy communities who want to communicate their work and ideas to an audience of specialists and scientifically literate nonspecialists. The Antarctic Journal is not peer reviewed. It provides reports on U.S. activities in Antarctica and related activities elsewhere and on trends in the U.S. Antarctic Program. The September 1997 online issue contains author guidelines for submitting manuscripts to the review issue, as well as information about submitting materials for the monthly online issues.