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IASC appoints new Executive Committee and welcomes Austria as a new member country

10 April 2014

On 8 April, at its meeting during the Arctic Science Summit Week 2014 in Helsinki, IASC Council elected a new President and three Vice-Presidents. The new IASC President is Susan Barr, Norwegian Directorate for Cultural Heritage. Susan Barr has been working on the IASC Executive Committee as a Vice-President since 2010 and she is now taking over the Presidency from David Hik, whose 4-year term came to an end. David Hik will, however, continue to work with the Executive Committee in his function as the Chair of the 3rd International Conference on Arctic Research Planning (ICARP III).

IASC Council re-elected Vice-President Naja Mikkelsen, Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland, for another 4 years. Larry Hinzman, International Arctic Research Center, Fairbanks AK, and Vladimir Pavlenko, Russian Academy of Sciences, were elected new Vice-Presidents. The Executive Committee is complemented by the fourth Vice-President Huigen Yang, Polar Research Institute of China, and the Executive Secretary Volker Rachold.

IASC Council also approved the Austrian application for IASC membership and welcomed Austria as the 22nd IASC member country. Austria will be represented in IASC through the Austrian Polar Research Institute (APRI).

The NZ IceFest website is now live!

9 April 2014

Flyer for the New Zealand IceFest 2014, 'Bringing Antarctica to the World'

New Zealand IceFest is coming – mark your calendar for 26 September to 12 October 2014, to celebrate all things Antarctic. Check out the website to see a sneak preview of what is on offer.

NZ IceFest website

Southern Ocean satellite data survey

9 April 2014

What are your requirements for Southern Ocean satellite data? Are your data needs being met? Take this quick online survey now!

This joint initiative of Southern Ocean Observing System (SOOS), Climate and the Cryosphere (CliC), and World Meteorological Organization Polar Space Task Group (WMO PSTG) aims to identify the satellite data requirements for the Southern Ocean (across all temporal/spatial scales) and to compile this information into a community report of Southern Ocean satellite data requirements.

This is a great opportunity to voice your needs, and feed information directly into the strategic planning for future missions. Provide feedback on current data streams, issues with data access, validation issues, gaps in data products, spatial and temporal coverage etc. This survey is open to all Southern Ocean data users, across all data types (air-sea flux, sea ice, biological, physical, etc).

If you have any questions please contact Louise Newman ( or Jenny Baesmann ( Survey closes 30 May 2014.

Take the Southern Ocean Satellite Data Requirements Survey

Obituary: Martha T Muse

19 March 2014

Martha T. Muse SCAR and the Selection Committee for the Martha T Muse Prize for Antarctic Science and Policy join the Tinker Foundation in mourning the passing of Martha T Muse on 9th February 2014. Martha was a founding director of the Tinker Foundation. She served as its president for 27 years and its chairman for 33 years, retiring in 2008. It was under her direction that the Foundation became a leading funder of Latin American-related activities, providing support for educational, environmental, security, economic, legal and governance issues. One of her final directives to the Tinker Foundation was incorporating Antarctica-related subjects under its funding mandate. Her passion for Antarctica was recognised with the Tinker Foundation establishing the Muse Prize for Science and Policy in Antarctica, an award for mid-career Antarctic scientists and policy makers, recognised as leaders of tomorrow. The First Martha T Muse Fellows Colloquium will be held in her honour, in conjunction with the Antarctic and Southern Ocean Horizon Scan, in April 2014 in New Zealand.

Martha received her undergraduate degree from Barnard College in 1948 and a master's degree in political science from Columbia University in 1955. In 1981, she received an honorary doctorate from Georgetown University. She was the first woman elected as a trustee to Columbia University and was among the first women named to the Board of the New York Stock Exchange and the Council on Foreign Relations.

A memorial service will be held in New York City in the late spring. Letters of inquiry and condolence may be sent to the Tinker Foundation, 55 E. 59th St., New York, NY 10022.

For a detailed obituary, please see the New York Times website.

Korea's 20th International Symposium on Polar Sciences

24 February 2014

We are pleased to announce that Korea Polar Research Institute will hold the 20th International Symposium on Polar Sciences in Songdo, Incheon, Republic of Korea on May 27-29, 2014.

KOPRI's International Symposium on Polar Sciences, born with the launch of Korea's Antarctic research programme, provided opportunities to stay abreast of the current trends in polar research, and to plan for future efforts among international colleagues. Celebrating its 20th anniversary at the same time as KOPRI's 10 year anniversary as an independent institute, this year's symposium is appropriately entitled "Our Collective Journey to Connect the Past and Future from the Antarctic", to frame a pivotal perspective on the road we have paved for ourselves as well as on the future outlook of Antarctic research.

The Second Circular has just been released and further information is available on the Symposium website.

New Antarctic map decades in the making

5 February 2014

Detailed geological map of Southern Victoria Land at 1:250,000 A new geological map of southern Victoria Land in Antarctica shows the area in more detail than ever before.

Covering 84,600sq km, including the largest ice-free area of Antarctica, it replaces a 1962 map generated by New Zealand geologists Bernie Gunn and Guyon Warren. It features the area between Ross Island and the Polar Plateau, in a region where New Zealand earth scientists have made their largest contribution to Antarctica.

Published by GNS Science at 1:250,000 scale, the southern Victoria Land map has involved a compilation of information from about 500 scientific papers and 190 maps, some dating back nearly a century. In addition, geologists undertook new fieldwork and studied satellite data and aerial photos in areas that were poorly known. More than a dozen external reviewers also provided input. All geological data used to make the map is held in a Geographic Information System, available in digital format on request.

Lead author, Simon Cox of GNS Science, said that "the map is arguably the most comprehensive digital geological map of a defined area of Antarctica."

The mapping of Antarctica is by no means finished for GNS Science. Geologists are now working towards a map that shows a much larger area of the Transantarctic Mountains. This will be a 1:2 million scale map and will be available in 2018.

For more information, see the GNS Science media release or go to the Southern Victoria Land Map page of the GNS Science website.

InBev-Baillet Latour Fellowship

5 February 2014

Since 2008, the €150,000 InBev-Baillet Latour Antarctica Fellowship has provided young scientists with the opportunity to conduct research in East Antarctica operating out of the Princess Elisabeth Antarctica research station.

The call for proposals for the 2014 - 2016 InBev-Baillet Latour Antarctica Fellowship is now open!

Young researchers interested in conducting research in the atmospheric sciences, glaciology, geology and microbiology (excluding marine microbiology) at, or near, the Princess Elisabeth Antarctica are encouraged to apply. The deadline for applications is Thursday April 10, 2014.

A joint initiative of the InBev-Baillet Latour Fund and the International Polar Foundation, the €150,000 research grant aims to promote scientific excellence in Antarctica and underscores the crucial role polar science plays in furthering our understanding of the Earth and how it functions.

For more information, see the InBev-Baillet Latour Antarctica Fellowship website.

Antarctic Science International Bursary Call for Proposals

23 January 2014

The Antarctic Science International Bursaries are awards of up to £5000, made annually to support the development of the careers of promising young scientists, working in any field of Antarctic science. The purpose of the award is to broaden the scope of an existing research project, especially for postdoctoral studies, through:

  1. funding extra field or laboratory work,
  2. purchasing/contributing towards the cost of a key piece of equipment, or
  3. funding international collaboration

For more information on the Bursaries and how to apply, see the Antarctic Science website.

Papers invited for "The current status on the ecosystem of Antarctic Peninsula"

20 January 2014

Papers are invited for a forthcoming special issue of the journal Advances in Polar Science (APS), entitled "The current status on the ecosystem of Antarctic Peninsula".

The issue will provide a forum summarizing the recent advances on expeditions and research based or focused on the ecosystems of the Antarctic Peninsula. Scientific articles stressing the following research themes may fit well within the scope of this special issue:

  1. Past and present biodiversity across terrestrial, limnological, glacial and marine environ-ments;
  2. Past and present environments;
  3. Interactions between organisms and environments;
  4. Interactions between organisms and organisms;
  5. Alien species;
  6. Global change and human activities on ecosystem effects.

This special issue is scheduled to be published in March of 2015, commemorating the 30th anniversary of the foundation of the Chinese Great Wall Station. The deadline for the submission of papers is 31 June 2014.

APS is an international, peer-reviewed, quarterly journal jointly sponsored by the Polar Research Institute of China (PRIC) and the Chinese Arctic and Antarctic Administration. Article publishing in APS is free of charge thanks to generous funding from PRIC.

For more information, please see the Invitation to Submit, or visit the APS website.


New website for Polar Educators International

10 December 2013

Logo of Polar Educators International

Polar Educators International (PEI) have launched a new website at

PEI is a vibrant network promoting polar education and research to a global community. By fostering dialogue and collaboration between educators and researchers, PEI aims to highlight and share the global relevance of the polar regions with the broader community.

New Director of the International Permafrost Association (IPA)

29 November 2013

Congratulations to Karina Schollän, who has been appointed as IPA Executive Director. She started working for the IPA Secretariat on November 15, 2013.

Karina was selected from a large number of candidates and convinced the selection committee with her enthusiasm for the position and the rigour with which she identified the challenges ahead. She studied Geography at the University of Bonn, obtaining a Masters focusing on dendrochronology in 2009. She is about to complete her PhD at the GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences. She had several extended stays abroad during her studies, which helped her to develop skills in English and French. She also developed administrative expertise through work in the private sector as well as through the organisation of international conferences.

A new wall map of Antarctica

19 November 2013

Norwegian Polar Institute map of Antarctica

The Norwegian Polar Institute has recently published a new topographic wall map presenting the Antarctic region at scale 1:10.000.000.

For more information about the map, please see the news item on the Norwegian Polar Institute website.

Antarctic glaciology webinar - 5 November 2013

31 October 2013

The Association of Polar Early Career Scientists (APECS) invites you to participate in the Antarctic glaciology webinar, highlighting recent glaciological studies in Antarctica, on 5 November 2013 at 16:00 GMT. To reserve a spot in the webinar, please follow the link to Webinar Registration.

This webinar is a follow-up of the first International Workshop on Antarctic Ice Rises held in Tromsø in late August this year, with support from SCAR, Climate and Cryosphere Project (CliC), APECS, British Antarctic Survey and the Norwegian Polar Institute's Center for Ice, Climate and Ecosystems. Presentation video, slides, posters and Frostbytes are available on the workshop web-site.

For more information on the Antarctic glaciology webinar, see the APECS website.

Dr Gerlis Fugmann is the new Director of APECS

16 September 2013

Dr. Gerlis Fugmann will be starting as the new APECS Director on 1 October 2013. As the sole full-time employee of APECS, Gerlis will be in charge of guiding the development and administration of the organization, along with overseeing and managing all APECS activities, finances and events, recruiting volunteers and members, and interacting with APECS members, mentors, advisors and supporters. Last year, SCAR and IASC renewed their Memorandum of Understanding to support APECS in their work.

For further details on Gerlis's appointment, please see the news item on the APECS website.

Greenland ice lubricant

5 September 2013

The Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets both possess hydrological systems that allow water accumulating from the melting of surface ice to be transported to the base of the ice sheet. If that water, when it reaches the ice-bedrock interface, is distributed over large areas, it will lubricate rapid ice sheet flow toward the sea. In the journal Science, Bamber et al. report the existence of a large, 750-km-long subglacial canyon in northern Greenland, which may act as a channel for the transport of basal meltwater to the margin of the ice sheet and thus influence overall ice sheet dynamics.

For more information, please read the full article in Science.

Free GIS package 'Quantarctica' released

7 August 2013

The Norwegian Polar Institute has released a new GIS package for Antarctica called 'Quantarctica'. Working on free GIS software Quantum GIS, it is freely available for non-commercial use.

Quantarctica is:

The base package is about 7 GB and available from the Quantarctica website; downloading the base package typically takes 2-3 hours.

The developers are eager to take Quantarctica further as a community effort, so please download and contribute.

We hope that Quantarctica will be widely used for education, research, and operations in Antarctica. If you have questions or suggestions, please email

For more information, please view the short introductory video clip on YouTube or visit the Quantarctica website.

Vulnerability of Polar oceans to anthropogenic acidification

A comparison of Arctic and Antarctic seasonal cycles

5 August 2013

Polar oceans are chemically sensitive to anthropogenic acidification due to their relatively low alkalinity and correspondingly weak carbonate buffering capacity. In a paper to Nature, Shadwick et al. compare unique CO2 system observations covering complete annual cycles at an Arctic (Amundsen Gulf) and Antarctic site (Prydz Bay). The Arctic site experiences greater seasonal warming (10 vs 3°C), and freshening (3 vs 2), has lower alkalinity (2220 vs 2320 μmol/kg), and lower summer pH (8.15 vs 8.5), than the Antarctic site. Despite a larger uptake of inorganic carbon by summer photosynthesis, the Arctic carbon system exhibits smaller seasonal changes than the more alkaline Antarctic system. In addition, the excess surface nutrients in the Antarctic may allow mitigation of acidification, via CO2 removal by enhanced summer production driven by iron inputs from glacial and sea-ice melting. These differences suggest that the Arctic system is more vulnerable to anthropogenic change due to lower alkalinity, enhanced warming, and nutrient limitation.

For more information, please see the original article in Nature - Scientific Reports.

IASC Medal Award 2014

5 June 2013

The International Arctic Science Committee invites nominations for the 2014 IASC Medal.

IASC Medals are awarded in recognition of exceptional and sustained contributions to the understanding of the Arctic. A maximum of one award is made each year, assuming that there is a nominee of appropriate quality. The award of medals is normally by the President of IASC during the Arctic Science Summit Week (or exceptionally at another major international meeting) following the ratification of the award.

Nominations for the IASC Medal 2014 can be submitted to the IASC Secretariat until 31 December 2013. The Medal Awards Committee, composed of Carlo Barbante (Chair), Karin Lochte and Thorsteinn Gunnarsson, will consider the nominations received and the medal will be awarded at the Arctic Science Summit Week 2014 in Helsinki, Finland (April 2014). A medal nomination form is available on the IASC website. For more information, please contact the IASC Secretariat (

Antarctica exhibition shows off architects' ice work

24 May 2013

The British Council is to launch 'Ice Lab', the first major international touring exhibition on buildings designed to allow human beings live, work, and relax safely in the coldest place on earth. It is no coincidence that many of the buildings in this first exhibition on architecture in Antarctica, shaped like caterpillars or icebergs, on stilts or stubby legs, will look like science-fiction illustrations – the storms, blizzards, extremes of temperature, darkness and howling winds they have been designed to withstand are so extreme that conditions have been likened to those on Mars.

For more information, see the item on the Guardian - Art & Design website or go to the British Council website.

Belarusian satellite for geological surveys in Antarctica

13 May 2013

The Belarusian satellite has been involved in research in Antarctica. Belarusian polar explorers were taking measurements when the satellite was passing over Antarctica.

According to the head of the Belarusian Antarctic expedition, Aleksei Gaidashov, the capabilities of the Belarusian satellite are of great interest for researching Antarctica. The resolution of the satellite will allow the use of images of Antarctica in the future to determine reserves in coastal waters and will help in determining the geological structures of the icy continent.

During the fifth Belarusian Antarctic expedition, scientists took part in calibrating the optical instruments that the Belarusian satellite uses. "The surface of Antarctica is an ideal testing ground for calibrating this kind of equipment," said the head of the expedition.

Mikhail Korol, a member of the expedition and research officer of the B.I. Stepanov Physics Institute of the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus, said that they calibrated the optical instruments of the satellite using the devices they had brought. Some of them were placed directly near the living premises and some were placed in specific areas of snow, images of which were taken by the satellite.

For more information on the Belarusian Antarctic expedition, please see the official Belarusian website. For more information on the use of the satellite, please see the Belarusian Telegraph Agency website.

Earliest satellite maps of Arctic and Antarctic sea-ice

29 April 2013

The earliest satellite maps of Arctic and Antarctic sea-ice have been assembled by scientists. They were made using data from NASA's Nimbus-1 spacecraft, which was launched in 1964 to test new technologies for imaging weather systems from orbit.

The satellite's old pictures have now been re-analysed to determine the extent of the marine ice at the poles in the September of that year. Regular mapping from space did not begin until 1978. One key finding is that marine floes around the White Continent in the 1960s were probably just as extensive as they are today.

The new snapshot, published in The Cryosphere journal, therefore helps put current ice conditions into a longer-term context, say researchers at the US National Snow and Ice Data Centre (NSIDC).

It is also just a fascinating story of how old scientific data can be given a new lease of life.

For more information, please see the item on the BBC News - Science and Environment website or read the full article in The Cryosphere.

AMAP International Conference on Arctic Ocean Acidification

24 April 2013

The Arctic ocean is rapidly accumulating carbon dioxide, leading to increased ocean acidification. This will influence a fragile Arctic ecosystem already weakened by higher temperatures and melting sea ice. The AMAP (Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme) International Conference on Arctic Ocean Acidification will present findings from the Arctic Ocean Acidification assessment in Bergen, Norway from 6th to 8th May 2013.

A provisional conference programme has been issued and registration is open until 6th May. More information is available on the conference website.

Postgraduate Certificate in Antarctic Studies includes Antarctic field trip

10 April 2013

The Postgraduate Certificate in Antarctic Studies (PCAS), run by the University of Canterbury in New Zealand, is a fifteen-week, in-depth, multi-disciplinary programme of study that critically examines contemporary scientific, environmental, social and political debates focused on Antarctica and the Southern Ocean. Jointly developed by the University of Canterbury and Antarctica New Zealand, this unique summer programme includes a ten-day field trip to Antarctica, taking students to experience life in the Antarctic at first hand where they undertake a mix of analytical and interpretive field projects and environmental monitoring projects in the vicinity of Scott Base.

By providing a unique Antarctic experience, this programme is valuable for future Antarctic researchers, employees and managers within National Antarctic programmes, employees within government agencies involved in Antarctic policy or environmental management, school teachers and university lecturers and Antarctic enthusiasts. It can be used as part of a Masters Degree.

Scholarships are available for participants from National Antarctic Programmes. Applications for this year close on 1 August 2013.

For more information, please see the PCAS brochure and visit the course website.

First joint issue of AFoPS will be published in Advances in Polar Science

30 January 2013

Cover of the Chinese journal Advances in Polar Science (APS), published in english

The journal Advances in Polar Science (APS) is planning a special issue focusing on the latest Asian Forum for Polar Sciences (AFoPS) Meeting, held in Delhi, India in August 2012. They are now calling for papers for this special issue, to be published by the end of 2013.

Logo of AFoPS, the Asian Forum for Polar Sciences

The special issue will provide a forum summarizing recent advances from Asian polar expeditions and research during 2012 and before. The non-Asian Arctic or Antarctic achievements from cooperation programmes with Asian countries are also welcome. Research themes may include Geological Sciences, Life Sciences and Physical Sciences.

Publishing in APS is free of charge, thanks to generous funding from the Polar Research Institute of China. The submission deadline is 30 May 2013. Before submission, authors should carefully review the journal's Author Guidelines. APS accepts four types of manuscript:

  1. Reviews - summarize representative results and achievements in a particular topic or area, comment on the current situation, and advise on research directions. Author opinions and related discussions are invited.
  2. Articles - report important original results in all areas of polar science.
  3. Letters - briefly present novel and innovative findings related to polar science.
  4. Trends - report important scientific news, information, and academic affairs, as well as major international programmes or conferences in all areas of polar science.

Manuscripts can be submitted online via the manuscript submission website.

For more information on Advances in Polar Science, please see the journal's website.

IPI Website

7 January 2013

A new website for the proposed International Polar Initiative (IPI) is now available. This website will form a focal point for information on the IPI concept.