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SCAR XXXIII WP09: Report of the SCAR Standing Scientific Group on Geosciences (SSG-GS)
XXXIII SCAR Delegates Meeting
1 - 3 September 2014, Auckland, New Zealand

SCAR XXXIII WP09: Report of the SCAR Standing Scientific Group on Geosciences (SSG-GS)

Working Paper: 9
Agenda Item: 4.2.3
Posted/Revised: 31 Aug 2014

Executive Summary

Title: Standing Scientific Group on Geosciences Report to the Delegates Authors: W. Berry Lyons, Jesús Galindo-Zaldivar, Naresh C. Pant


GS continues to play a role in SCAR science both at the disciplinary and multidisciplinary level. GS scientists from many nations are involved and take leadership roles in two of SCAR’s ongoing SRPs: Past Antarctic Ice Sheet dynamics (PAIS) and Solid Earth Response and Influence on Cryosphere Evolution (SERCE). Our interdisciplinary activities include in the Expert Group (GNSS Research and Application for Polar Environment) GRAPE. Demo GRAPE, an initiative of GRAPE, will begin within the next months involving new contributions from South Africa and Brazil to the original program. ADMAP continues to be a productive program as a special issue of the journal Tectonophysics comprised sixteen papers updating ADMAP’s contributions to geomagnetic studies of the Antarctic regions. ANTPAS also continues to produce important scientific results including an overview of permafrost conditions in the Antarctic Peninsula and an inventory of paleoclimatic records from the McMurdo Dry Valleys. A special issue of the journal Geomorphology is currently being prepared for publication. Also the GIANT, IBCSO and CGG groups have relevant results. New activities include the development of a Geo-Heritage action group that will aid in helping to develop criteria for the protection of special geological features in the Antarctica. The Antarctic volcanism expert group also will aim to study different aspects and interactions of volcanic activity. The geological mapping update of the Antarctica will be focused in the integration of all the available geological data, mainly in Transantarctic mountains. The XII International Symposium on Antarctic Earth Sciences (ISAES) is currently being planned for the summer of 2015 in Goa, India. Proceedings of the symposium are likely to be published by the Geological Society of London in their Special Publication Series.

Important Issues or Factors: 
A new observing system is being proposed “Antarctic Near-Shore and Terrestrial Observing Systems” –ANTOS. This is an interdisciplinary program that will involve all three SSGs.

Wider recognition of sites of geological significance in Antarctica can be achieved by development of a geo-conservation register, to promote and recognize intrinsically valuable geological and geomorphological sites. This is being attempted within the SSG-GS group and it has got a boost with the recognition of Stornes Peninsula as an ASPA of geological significance.

One new Expert Group (Antarctic volcanism) and two new Action Groups (Geo-Heritage and geological mapping update of Antarctica) are being proposed.

Recommendations/Actions and Justification: 

  1. Continuation of the SSG GS Expert Groups
    1. GIANT
    2. ADMAP
    3. ANTPAS
    4. IBCSO
  2. Continuation of Action Group
    1. CGG
  3. Discontinuation of Action Group
    1. Multibeam Data Acquisition
  4. Establishment of new SSG GS Expert Group
    1. Antarctic Volcanism
  5. Establishment of new SSG GS Action Group
    1. Geoheritages in Antarctica
    2. Geological Mapping update of Antarctica
  6. Endorsement of Dr. Phil ’OBrien as SSG GS representative to SCATS
  7. Requesting endorsement by SCAR for UN resolution on Global Geographic Informations Management regarding the rule of importance of Global Geodetic Reference Frame development and sustainibility;
    1. that SCAR shall take into account the UN GGIM resolution and shall be involved in UN GGRF WG activities and SCAR president will send a letter of support to UN initiative.
    2. Further, we recommend that SCAR SSG GS GIANT EG will be involved in the collaboration with UN GGRF WG.
  8. Approve the establishment of the ANTOS program and the creation of an EG/AG to oversee its development, implementation and its interdisciplinary nature.

Expected Benefits/Outcomes: 

Active groups have been recommended for continuation while one group (Multibeam Data Acquisition) is being recommended for discontinuation on the suggestion of its leader.

New Expert Groups and Action Group have been proposed following the ideas emerging from Horizon Scan.

Partners: SSG GS that continues to be active have linkages with other scientific groups through programs such as ANTPAS and GRAPE. The new group Geoheritages in Antarctica will have linkages with Antarctic Conservation and LS conservation groups. In addition Volcanology of Antarctica will have possible linkages with a wide variety of groups in LS and PS.

Budget Implications: Current budget needs are expected to be similar for the existing scientific groups within GS-SSC

  1. We request funds as per following details
    1. USD 20,000 towards support for the XII ISAES (as projected earlier).
    2. To approve USD 29,500 for the year 2015 and USD 31,000 for the year 2016 for EG and AG activities.
    3. To reallocate unspent amount of SSG GS for the period 2013-14 from EG and AG for travel support for XII ISAES 2015.