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Research Goals and Accomplishments

  1. Antarctic Research: Elements of a Coordinated Program.  National Academy of Sciences.  iv + 22 p.  1949.  Isaiah Bowman, Johns Hopkins, chaired an Academy Special Committee of 11 to prepare this report for the Department of State: “coordinated” in the title means international.  “While it is inspired mainly by scientific interest, the report provides indications of the high practical values that Antarctic research will yield. . . .  Some parts of the program require sustained observations in series for several decades.”  NAS reprinted the report in 1954 for the USNC IGY.

  2. Science in Antarctica. Part 1. The Life Sciences in Antarctica.  NAS Committee on Polar Research.  xiii+162 p.  1961. The purpose is to outline promising areas of research, indicate the value and interest of Antarctic studies to scientists, and suggest the importance of U.S. Antarctic research as a national effort.  Chapters: fossil plants, fresh-water algae, lichens, bryophytes, arthropods, seals, birds, marine algae, marine invertebrates, mollusks, fishes, ecology and physiology of fishes, whales, microbiology, animal bacteriology, geomicrobiology, medical microbiology, man. Antarctic Bibliography Record ID 71836.

  3. Science in Antarctica. Part 2. The Physical Sciences in Antarctica.  NAS Committee on Polar Research.  xiii+131 p.  1961.  The purpose is to outline promising areas of research, indicate the value and interest of Antarctic studies to scientists, and suggest the importance of U.S. Antarctic research as a national effort.  Section 1, heat and water budget: general, meteorology, oceanography, glaciology.  Section 2, Earth’s crust and core: earth sciences, geodesy and cartography, gravity, earthquake seismology, traverse seismology, seismological crustal studies, magnetics, history of Antarctic geology, problems in Antarctic geology and earth science, results of IGY earth sciences in Antarctica.  Section 3, upper atmosphere.Antarctic Bibliography Record ID 71837.

  4. Polar Research: A Survey.  NAS Committee on Polar Research.  204 p.  1970.  The report assesses scientific problems that should be studied in the next few years. It considers similarities and differences in research relating to each polar region and to the earth environment, and it touches on operations and international collaboration. It reviews needs and opportunities and makes recommendations to the agencies. Chapters deal with geology and solid-earth geophysics, oceans, glaciology, geodesy and cartography, meteorology and climatology, upper-atmosphere physics, astronomy, and biology and medicine.  The astronomy chapter is thought to be the first serious consideration in print of astronomy in Antarctica.

  5. Americans in Antarctica 1775-1948, by Kenneth J. Bertrand. Special Publication No. 39, American Geographical Society.  xvi + 554 p.  1971.  A professor of geography at Catholic University of America, funded by the National Science Foundation, wrote this authoritative history.  The emphasis is on discovery and scientific investigation.  “Americans have played a major role,” the author states. “American interest in the Antarctic is as old as the Nation itself.”

  6. Polar Programs Supported by the National Science Foundation from 1949 through 1974 and Future Plans.  NSF.  31 p.  1973.  Olin Teague, who chaired the Committee on Science and Astronautics, was “concerned about the apparent paucity of tangible results” in a 9 August 1973 letter asking NSF how much had been spent since 1949 on polar programs, what results had been achieved, and what the plans were.  NSF Director H. Guyford Stever wrote the Congressman on 18 October 1973, enclosing the report and noting, among other things, that the two central themes of NSF-funded polar science were polar influence on the global environment and assessing natural resource potential and its environmental factors.

  7. Guidelines for U.S. Antarctic Program planning, 1973-1983.  NAS Committee on Polar Research.  Five discipline-based booklets, 26 to 56 pages each.  1974.  Funded by NSF, these reports on the major Antarctic disciplines responded to a letter from Joseph O. Fletcher, head of OPP, asking seven questions such as, “Shall we continue at McMurdo Sound and Christchurch . . . or will future needs be too far from McMurdo, such as the Weddell Sea?” and “Should we develop capabilities for all-season operations?” Discipline-oriented panels wrote the reports.  The Committee on Polar Research distinguished them from the 1970 Polar Research: A Survey by stating it had been “a more general study that included both polar regions and covered a somewhat shorter time scale.”

  8. U.S. Antarctic Research Program Science Assessment 1976-77.  Office of Polar Programs, NSF.  250 p.  1977.  Division Director Robert H. Rutford in July 1976 tasked his Chief Scientist (nowadays Director, Division of Antarctic Sciences) to do a more detailed study than the Academy’s 1970 report – covering accomplishments in the last 19 years, where things stand, where we are going in the next 5 and 10 years, and successes and failures, along with seven other topics.  The Chief Scientist and his five program managers finished the report in July 1977.  “This document . . . is intended to provide both the framework and a detailed long-range science plan against which the day-to-day decisions, that in reality will finally determine the course which U.S. Antarctic research will take, can be measured.”

  9. An Evaluation of Antarctic Marine Ecosystem Research.  NAS Joint PRB/Ocean Sciences Board ad hoc Committee to Evaluate Antarctic Marine Ecosystem Research, 99 p.  1981.  Two research programs are recommended in the Southern Ocean to understand the basis for krill aggregation and the biological and physical processes involving the marine ecosystem at and near the pack-ice edge.

  10. Research Emphases for the U.S. Antarctic Program. Polar Research Board, National Research Council.  52p.  1983.  The report identifies “a small set of major scientific questions of outstanding importance in Antarctic research; recommends priorities [highest, very high, and high were the three levels]; and suggests large-scale integrated research projects and smaller, more specific projects.”  Highest priority was for extracting the climatic record from the Antarctic ice sheet and for studying marine life at the sea ice edge.  NSF funded the study.

  11. Polar Research: A Strategy.  Polar Research Board, National Research Council.  1981-1985.  Ten separate reports address these disciplines: Antarctic marine ecosystem, upper atmosphere and near-earth space, biomedicine, snow and ice, permafrost, climate change, solid-earth geosciences, oceanography, ice coring, and data analysis and education in biomedical research.

  12. U.S. Research in Antarctica in 2000 A.D. and Beyond—A Preliminary Assessment. Polar Research Board, National Research Council.  35p.  1986.  The document builds on the Academy’s 1983 report by outlining an optimal science plan, noting that rapid change in the nature and structure of science may alter Antarctic scientific priorities.  “The selection of large- and small-scale projects and the sequence of their initiation should be tied to the fundamental scientific questions and opportunities in Antarctic research, and the implementation of projects should be characterized by an innovative approach to logistics support and to the use of facilities and instrumentation.”  NSF’s directive for the report (an 18 February 1982 letter from Edward P. Todd, Director, DPP) was that the Board not consider alternative logistics or management and that it advise on a core program of research “that is appropriately balanced among the several scientific disciplines.”

  13. Antarctic Solid-Earth Sciences Research: A guide for the Next Decade and Beyond, Ad Hoc Committee on Antarctic Geosciences, Polar Research Board, National Research Council, National Academy Press, 40p. 1986. This document argues for comprehensive geophysical examination of defined zones complemented by broader reconnaissance to provide context.

  14. Recommendations for a U.S. Ice Coring Program, ad hoc Panel on Polar Ice Coring, Polar Research Board, National Research Council, 57p.  1986.  The report assesses U.S. scientific capabilities in ice core drilling and analysis, recommends balance among
    shallow, intermediate, and deep drilling, recommends core analysis techniques that could be developed in the United States, recommends a plan for drilling and analysis, and sets guidelines for international agreements for ice core programs, drill site selection, and science plan development.

  15. Role of the National Science Foundation in Polar Regions.  Committee on the NSF Role in Polar Regions, National Science Board (NSB 87-128). 57p.  1987.  Rita R. Colwell, later NSF Director, chaired a five-person NSB committee that in 12 months researched and wrote this report in response to a charge from the NSB chair.  They met seven times and consulted 48 experts in academia, Federal agencies, and NSF.  The 15 recommendations were to help NSF fulfill its polar responsibility for science and U.S. presence.  Recommendation #1: “Scientific needs and opportunities should determine the research conducted in both polar regions, with logistics deriving from and supporting the research rather than dictating it.”

  16. Long-Range Science Plan for the Office of Polar Programs.  National Science Foundation (NSF 90-48).  45p.  1990.  The Divisional Advisory Committee for Polar Programs wrote this report, drawing on two liaison members from academia and one from NASA Goddard, a long-range planning subcommittee of seven academics none of whom were Advisory Committee members, and the six science program managers plus head of the Science Section, Office of Polar Programs.  The report, which does not reference NSF’s charge, if there was one, states, “The Office of Polar Programs Advisory Committee prepared this science plan with the assistance of division staff members.”  It says, “the highest priority of the DPP Science Section should be accorded to increasing the funding of basic research in the disciplinary programs. . . . Next in importance is support for the development of new instruments.”  The plan does not address operational support.

  17. Directorate for Geosciences Long Range Plan FY 1994-98.  National Science Foundation (NSF 92-97). 64p.  1992.  The plan includes the Office of Polar Programs, which was part of NSF’s Geosciences directorate until 1993, when it was reassigned to the Office of the NSF Director and renamed the Office of Polar Programs.

  18. Directorate for Geosciences and Office of Polar Programs Long Range Plan, FY 1995-1999.  National Science Foundation (NSF 94-49).  62p.  1994.  For Antarctica, the report discusses ship-supported research, astrophysics, upper atmosphere studies, earth sciences, ice dynamics and coring, South Pole Station, LC-130s, Polar Duke replacement, satellites, instruments, and facilities to implement the Antarctic Treaty Environmental Protocol and NEPA.

  19. Montréal Protocol 1987-1997: Global Benefits and Costs of the Montréal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, Environment Canada (Inv. No. EPSM-361), 80 p.  1997.  NSF-supported ozone-hole research findings in the Antarctic in 1986 and 1987 were a key influence on the decision to adopt the Montréal Protocol.  Netfinancial savings(1987-2060) resulting from implementation of the Protocol’s measures to protect the ozone layer are valued at US$224-billion in reduced damage to fisheries, agriculture, and materials.  In addition, human health benefits are projected as 129.1-million fewer cataracts, 20.6-million fewer cases of skin cancer, and 333,500 fewer skin cancer fatalities. Without the Montréal Protocol, CFC consumption would have risen to 3 million tons by 2010 and 8 million tons by 2060, depleting 50 percent more of the ozone layer by 2035.

  20. Stratospheric Ozone Assessment, Appendix G, The Benefits and Costs of the Clean Air Act 1990-2010, EPA Report to Congress, EPA-410-R-99-001, November 1999.  Recovery of the ozone hole (see above item) and the stratospheric ozone layer will save 6.3 million lives, avoid 299 million cases of nonfatal skin cancer, and avoid 27.5 million cataracts cases in the United States between 1990 and 2165 and will avoid a 7.5 percent decrease in American crop harvests by 2075.

  21. Enhancing NASA’s Contribution to Polar Science: A Review of Polar Geophysical Data Sets, Committee to review NASA’s polar geophysical data sets, Polar Research Board, National Research Council, National Academy Press, 124p. 2001. The report makes recommendations related to satellite-derived data sets applicable to study of the polar regions.

  22. Astronomy and Astrophysics in the New Millenium, Astronomy and Astrophysics Survey Committee, National Research Council, National Academy Press, xxiv + 246p.  2001.  The report surveys ground- and space-based astronomy and recommends priorities for the decade following 2000.  Of the recommended 21 initiatives, a telescope at the South Pole would carry out submillimeter-wavelength surveys that, owing to the extremely low opacity of the Antarctic atmosphere, are possible nowhere else on Earth.

  23. Vision for the International Polar Year 2007-2008, U.S. National Committee for the International Polar Year 2007-2008, Polar Research Board, National Academies Press, xiv+96p.  2004.  The book discusses rationale and goals for the IPY.

  24. Polar Science special section, Science vol. 315, p. 1503-1504, 1508-1510, 1513-1540, 16 March 2007.  To get a better picture of where the Arctic and Antarctica have been and where they are going, and how changes at the poles might affect humanity’s temperate perches, scientists from dozens of nations earlier this month launched a 2-year research initiative called the International Polar Year (IPY). This special issue helps raise the curtain on the IPY with an exploration of some of the more vibrant research under way at the ends of the Earth.  Introduction, two Perspectives, seven News articles, three Reviews, one Research Article, one Report.  Additional online content at Science Careers.

  25. Intellectual structure of Antarctic science: a 25-years analysis, by Prabir G. Dastidar and S. Ramachandran, in Scientometrics, Vol. 77, No.3 (2008), 389-414.  From 1980 to 2004 scientist from 80 countries published 10,942 Antarctic papers, with the number per year rising over the period.  While the number of treaty consultative parties roughly doubled from the original 12 to 28 nations, published Antarctic papers with authors from two or more nations went up by nearly 13 times – from 15 in 1980 to 190 international papers in 2004.  Citation rates for the international papers were higher than for single-nation papers.  U.S. scientists were lead (or sole) authors of 26.7 percent of the 10,942 papers.  The USA was found to be the most networked country in Antarctic science.

  26. Structure and development of polar research (1981-2007): a publication-based approach, by Dag W. Aksnes and Dag O. Hessen, Arctic, Antarctic, and Alpine Research (41): 2, 155-163, May 2009.  The number of U.S. Antarctic papers grew from 237 in 1981-1983 to 1,065 in 2005-2007, but the U.S. proportion of the total declined from 34 percent to 24 percent as other nations increased their research.  U.S. polar research papers were cited 28 percent more than the world average.

  27. Final Report—U.S. National Committee for the International Polar Year 2007-2008, Polar Research Board, National Academy of Sciences, 99p.  April 2010.  The report summarizes and compiles submissions received from Federal agencies after the IPY field program drew to a close.