U.S. Antarctic Program, 1998-1999



Sites of major activities

U.S. Antarctic Program, 1998-1999


Long-term ecological research

Environmental research

Geology and geophysics


Ocean and climate studies

Aeronomy and astrophysics

Technical projects

U.S. Antarctic Program, 1998-1999

In Antarctica, the U.S. Antarctic Program will support 142 research projects during the 1998-1999 austral summer and the 1999 austral winter at the three U.S. stations (McMurdo, Amundsen-Scott South Pole, and Palmer), aboard its two research ships (Laurence M. Gould and Nathaniel B. Palmer) in the Ross Sea and in the Antarctic Peninsula region, at remote field camps, and in cooperation with the national antarctic programs of the other Antarctic Treaty nations. Many of the projects that make up the program, which is funded and managed by the National Science Foundation (NSF), are part of the international effort to understand the Antarctic and its role in global processes. NSF also supports research that can be best or only performed in Antarctica. The scientists who will conduct the projects described in this book come primarily from U. S. universities and have won NSF support in response to Antarctic Research Program Announcement and Proposal Guide. Operational resources in Antarctica are also used to support scientists from other Federal agencies. Highlights of this year's austral summer program include:

  • continued geological work at Cape Roberts near McMurdo Station
  • long-term ecological research in the McMurdo Dry Valleys and in the Palmer Station region of the Antarctic Peninsula
  • recovery of a 1,000-meter ice core from Siple Dome in West Antarctica

  • interdisciplinary study of atmospheric forcing, ocean hydrography, sea-ice dynamics, primary productivity, and pelagic-benthic coupling in the southwestern Ross Sea
  • a U.S.-French-Australian collaboration to study katabatic winds along the coast of East Antarctica
  • continued support of the Center for Astrophysical Research in Antarctica at the geographic South Pole
  • measuring, monitoring, and studying atmospheric trace gases associated with the annual depletion of the ozone layer above Antarctica.

Science teams will also make use of a continent-wide network of automatic weather stations, a network of six automated geophysical observatories, ultraviolet-radiation monitors at the three U.S. stations, and a high-altitude, long-duration balloon that will circumnavigate the continent and carry instruments for two projects--a study of cosmic microwave background radiation and an optical investigation of the genesis of solar activity.

Logistics resources to support these research projects include heavy-lift, ski-equipped C-130 airplanes operated by the U.S. Navy and the New York Air National Guard, ski-equipped Twin Otter airplanes chartered from a Canadian firm, and C-141 and C-5 airplanes provided by the U.S. Air Force between New Zealand and McMurdo Station. Contract helicopters are headquartered at McMurdo Station to provide operational and close science support. Ground vehicles are operated and maintained by an NSF contractor (Antarctic Support Associates), which also provides specialized science support and other services. Annually, a U.S. Coast Guard icebreaker opens a channel to McMurdo Station and provides additional science support. A tanker and a cargo ship, operated by the Military Sealift Command, bring fuel, cargo, and equipment each January.

This book, which is intended to keep scientists and others informed about the U.S. antarctic research program, is arranged in scientific discipline order, except for one section focused on multi-investigator, multi-disciplinary long-term ecological research projects and a short list of technical projects. The order reflects the organization of the Antarctic Sciences Section of NSF's Office of Polar Programs, which funds projects in biology, medical research, ocean sciences, climate studies, geology and geophysics, glaciology, aeronomy, astronomy, and astrophysics.

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

  • Press releases issued by the Foundation's Public Affairs Office to describe specific research progress. See the NSF World Wide Web page at https://www.nsf.gov or call 703-306-1070.
  • Antarctic Journal of the United States review issues, which contain short reports by investigators about research recently performed in Antarctica. These issues are online (https://www.nsf.gov/od/opp/antarct/journal) and are available in print from the Office of Polar Programs (dfriscic @nsf.gov).
  • A Library of Congress bibliography covers the world literature back to 1951. Principal products are the monthly Current Antarctic Literature--online at http://www.crrel.usace.army.mil/ library/aware/antlit.htm--and annual Antarctic Bibliography--available from the Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C. 20402. National Information Services Corporation (410-243-0797 or sales@nisc.com) sells a CD-ROM holding this database and other polar bibliographies.