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U.S. Antarctic Program, 1999-2000


During the 1999-2000 austral summer and the 2000 austral winter, the U.S. Antarctic Program will support more than 800 researchers and other participants in the U.S. Antarctic Program at three year-round stations (McMurdo, Amundsen-Scott South Pole, and Palmer), aboard 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. These projects, 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 (NSF 99-93; Operational resources in Antarctica also are used to support scientists from other Federal agencies.

Highlights of this year's austral summer research include:

the first year of the 5-year multi-disciplinary International Trans-Antarctic Expedition, which integrates meteorology, remote sensing, ice coring, glaciology, and geophysics to learn more about West Antarctica's role in the global change

a 52-day Antarctic Pack Ice Seal research cruise to study how changes in the environment cause fluctuations in the abundance, growth patterns, life histories, and behavior

a study of microbes found in snow samples from the South Pole to determine if they are indigenous to the interior of Antarctica and to learn more about their biology and ecology

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.

the third year of drilling and related geological work at Cape Roberts near McMurdo Station by a team of scientists from the United States, New Zealand, Italy, Australia, the United Kingdom, and Germany

long-term ecological research in the McMurdo Dry Valleys and in the Palmer Station region of the Antarctic Peninsula Science teams also will use networks of automatic weather stations, automated geophysical observatories, ultraviolet-radiation monitors, and a high-altitude, long-duration balloon that will circumnavigate the continent and carry instruments for an optical investigation of solar activity.

Eight teachers from U.S. elementary, middle, and high schools will join researchers on eight projects this austral summer as part of NSF's Teachers Experiencing Antarctica (TEA) project. TEA immerses teachers in research as part of their professional development and to create a polar learning community of teachers, students, school districts, and researchers. U.S. Antarctic Program investigators volunteer to include TEA participants in their field parties; NSF selects the teachers competitively.

The Antarctic Artists and Writers Program provides opportunities for painters, photographers, writers, and others to use serious writing and the arts to increase understanding of the Antarctic and America's heritage there. The 1999-2000 austral summer includes a novel on science and scientists for middle-grade children; a photographic book; natural sound recordings; and underwater photography in McMurdo Sound.

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

Continuing the modernization and improvement of Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station, crews will prepare the foundations for a replacement laboratory that will be built on supports above the icey plateau and will begin the exterior of a new power plant, the interior of which will be completed over the austral winter. The South Pole Safety and Environmental Project (a $25-million undertaking) and the South Pole Station Modernization Project (a $128-million initiative) will replace the existing 24-year-old station by 2005.

This book is arranged by scientific discipline, except for sections focused on multi-investigator, multi-disciplinary research projects and a short list of technical projects in the table below. 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 pro-duced 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 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 ( and are available in print from the Office of Polar Programs (


Technical projects supporting the
1999–2000 USAP antarctic field program

Project title   Project manager, affiliation
Polar Ice Coring Office (PICO)
Hot-water drilling at the South Pole,
the AMANDA project (TA-150-A)
  Karl Kuivinen,
University of Nebraska
PICO ice-core drilling at Siple Dome (TI-150-B)   Karl Kuivinen,
University of Nebraska
Automatic Geophysical Observatory (AGO)—
servicing and installation (TO-296-O)
  Jay Burnside,
Antarctic Support Associates
Synthetic Aperture Radar project; (TO-308-O)   Steve Currier,
NASA Wallops Flight Facility
McMurdo Sound Metsat Station—
refurbishment of Terascan satellite reception & processing system at Palmer Station (TO-312-O)
  Robert Whritner,
Arctic and Antarctic Research Center, Scripps Institution of Oceanography
UV-monitoring network (TO-513-O)   Charles Booth,
Biospherical Instruments, Inc.
    Artists and Writers Program projects,
1999–2000 U.S. Antarctic Program
Project title   Participant
Novel for middle-grade children on
science and scientists (WO-007-O)
  Lucy Jane Bledsoe,
Berkeley, California
Photography book documenting the
U.S. Antarctic Program (WO-009-O)
Stuart Klipper,
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Natural sound recordings (WO-004-O) Douglas Quinn,
Petaluma, California
Underwater photography,
McMurdo Sound (WO-317-O)
Norbert Wu,
Pacific Grove, California
    U.S. Antarctic Program, 1999-2000
Sites of major activities
    Map: U.S. Antarctic Program, 1999-2000, sites of major activities
    Number of projects to be supported
during 1999-2000
    Graph; Number of projects to be supported during 1999-2000
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