U.S. Antarctic Program, 1997-1998

The 175 research projects that the U.S. Antarctic Program will field during the 1997-1998 austral summer and the 1998 winter are this year's U.S. contribution to the international effort to understand the Antarctic and its role in global processes and to support other research that can be best or only performed in Antarctica. This book, which describes each project, is intended by the National Science Foundation (NSF), as funding and management agency for the program, to keep scientists and others informed about research progress.

Most of the research described here is performed by teams of investigators from U.S. universities who have won NSF financial support of their work in response to Antarctic Research: Program Announcement and Proposal Guide (NSF 96-93), which describes research goals generally. Scientists from other Federal agencies also are supported by the operational resources in the Antarctic that are maintained by the Foundation.

These resources consist principally of the year-round research stations McMurdo­a coastal station and operational hub at 78°S at the southwest corner of the Ross Sea; Amundsen-Scott South Pole at 90°S in the antarctic interior; and Palmer on Anvers Island along the west coast of the Antarctic Peninsula at 64°S. The research icebreaker Nathaniel B. Palmer supports investigations in sea ice areas around the Antarctic, and a new ice-strengthened research and support ship­Laurence M. Gould­will debut during the 1997-1998 season to replace Polar Duke, in the program since 1984.

Heavy-airlift mobility comes from ski-equipped C-130 airplanes operated by the New York Air National Guard and the Navy's Antarctic Development Squadron 6. Smaller ski-equipped planes (Twin Otters under charter) and a fleet of contract helicopters headquartered at McMurdo also provide air support, and various ground vehicles are in use. A Coast Guard icebreaker provides operational and research support, and the U.S. Air Force Air Mobility Command provides airlift between New Zealand and McMurdo. The NSF contractor Antarctic Support Associates provides operations, maintenance, specialized science support, and other services.

With one exception, this book arranges the research projects in scientific discipline order. The order recalls the organization of the Antarctic Sciences Section of NSF's Office of Polar Programs, which funds projects in biology, environmental research, ocean sciences, climate systems, geology and geophysics, glaciology, aeronomy, astronomy, and astrophysics. The exception is the interdisciplinary southern ocean component of the Joint Global Ocean Flux Study, supported by the Office of Polar Programs and the Division of Ocean Sciences.

Projects that are not primarily scientific research are not described here. Such projects include those to integrate research and education, to enable representatives of the media to report on the program, and for artists and writers to help record the Nation's antarctic heritage. Maintenance and engineering infrastructure projects also are not addressed.

Related information products that are produced or funded by NSF include:

Short "highlights" e-mails can be sent to you when each month's Current Antarctic Literature and Antarctic Journal is posted. To be placed on the list contact dbeverst@nsf.gov.