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Future Directions for Antarctic Science

  1. Frontiers in Polar Biology in the Genomic Era, Committee on Frontiers in Polar Biology, Polar Research Board, National Research Council, National Academy Press, 166p. 2003. This document outlines opportunities for advancing knowledge in biology of the polar regions that are enabled by new methods in genetics research. 

  2. Exploration of Antarctic Subglacial Aquatic Environments: Environmental and Scientific Stewardship, Committee on Principles of Environmental Stewardship for the Exploration and Study of Subglacial Environments, Polar Research Board, National Research Council, National Academy Press, 152p. 2007. Recommends approaches for exploration and study of subglacial aquatic environments that will reduce forward and reverse contamination and best preserve the subglacial aquatic environments.

  3. Contribution of Working Group I to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate ChangeSolomon, S., D. Qin, M. Manning, Z. Chen, M. Marquis, K.B. Averyt, M. Tignor and H.L. Miller (eds.).  Cambridge University Press, 996 p.  2007.  This authoritative international report identifies key uncertainties that require polar research for their resolution.  The following list is not intended to be complete.  Snow, Ice, and Frozen Ground:  There are insufficient data to draw any conclusions about trends in the thickness of Antarctic sea ice {4.4}.  Uncertainties in estimates of glacier mass loss arise from limited global inventory data, incomplete area-volume relationships and imbalance in geographic coverage {4.5}.  Mass balance estimates for ice shelves and ice sheets, especially for Antarctica, are limited by calibration and validation of changes detected by satellite altimetry and gravity measurements {4.6}.  Limited knowledge of basal processes and of ice shelf dynamics leads to large uncertainties in the understanding of ice flow processes and ice sheet stability {4.6}.  Sea Level:  Global average sea level rise from 1961 to 2003 appears to be larger than can be explained by thermal expansion and land ice melting {5.5}.  Paleoclimate:  The degree to which ice sheets retreated in the past, the rates of such change and the processes involved are not well known {6.4}.  Understanding and Attributing Climate Change:  Incomplete global data sets for extremes analysis and model uncertainties still restrict the regions and types of detection studies of extremes that can be performed {9.4}.  Lack of studies quantifying the contributions of anthropogenic forcing to ocean heat content increase or glacier melting together with the open part of the sea level budget for 1961 to 2003 are among the uncertainties in quantifying the anthropogenic contribution to sea level rise {9.5}.

  4. Antarctic Incoherent Scatter Radar Facility: Transformational Solar-Terrestrial Research in the High South.  Antarctic ISR Workshop, 8-9 August 2008.  39p.  2008.  Answers to science questions that can be solved only by an incoherent scatter radar in Antarctica would lead to fuller understanding of energy exchange between the solar wind and the Earth and of the effect of space weather on ground- and space-based technological systems.  These understandings could lead to development of ways to mitigate or avoid the substantial impact of a severe geomagnetic storm.

  5. New Frontiers and Future Directions in Antarctic Research, by Professor Mahlon C. Kennicutt II (Professor, Department of Oceanography, Texas A & M University; President, Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research), Antarctic Treaty Summit, Plenary 4, 1 December 2009.  Antarctic science is evolving rapidly; this talk provides examples.  Questions being asked by science and society are complex and require integrated and interdisciplinary approaches.  The importance of Antarctic science to global issues has never been greater.  Access to all corners of the continent will be desired if not required.  These endeavors will require international cooperation and partnership.

  6. Antarctic Climate Change and the Environment.  Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research.  155 p.  2009.  The first comprehensive, international review of the state of Antarctica’s climate and its relationship to the global environment addresses policymakers’ questions about melting, sea level rise, and biodiversity.  Findings are highlighted in 85 key points.

  7. Some Reasons to Perform Scientific Research in the Antarctic, NSF, 2009.  The world’s largest ocean current, 88 percent of the world’s ice, global atmospheric background levels, an unusual biota, and the ozone hole are a few reasons to study Antarctica, as discussed in this annotated list.

  8. Workshops relevant to NSF support of polar researchWorkshops influence program goals, investigators' proposals, and funding decisions. This list contains dates, locations, NSF award numbers, and web sites of 177 workshops over the last several years that the Office of Polar Programs funded.  Not listed here are workshops supported by other parts of NSF—or performed without NSF support—which also can be highly relevant to Office of Polar Programs decisions.

  9. National Science Foundation Strategic Plan.  NSF invests in the best ideas generated by scientists, engineers, and educators working at the frontiers of knowledge and across all fields of research and education. The mission, vision, and goals are designed to maintain and strengthen U.S. science and engineering.