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Antarctic And Ocean Science Strategy Launched

Wednesday 18 August

Antarctic And Southern Ocean Science Strategy Launched

Antarctica New Zealand in tandem with the New Zealand science community has developed a new science strategy, which will guide New Zealand’s Antarctic and Southern Ocean research for the next five years.

The strategy was launched in Wellington today by the Hon Marian Hobbs, Minister for the Environment, and divides Antarctic and Southern Ocean research into three interdisciplinary themes: Antarctic physical environments, Antarctic ecosystems and Southern Ocean research. Antarctica New Zealand CEO Lou Sanson said a key issue facing all nations is the impact of climate change on our environment. “Antarctica is a global barometer for the rest of the world. This strategy holds the key to unlocking vital information about the Antarctic and Southern Ocean, which will help us to better understand global climate change.”

The strategy also builds on the Government’s Statement of Strategic Interest in Antarctica (2002), the Ross Sea Region 2001; A State of the Environment Report for the Ross Sea Region of Antarctica as well as other key documents related to Antarctic research. “The strategy encourages scientific collaboration across different Antarctic disciplines and sets the compass for the course ahead. It draws together all the scientific strands and focuses New Zealand’s strategic interests in the Ross Sea region,” said Dr Dean Peterson, Science Strategy Manager for Antarctica New Zealand.

New Zealand is a world leader in Antarctic science. Successes such as the Cape Roberts Project has seen Antarctica New Zealand become the project operator for the ANDRILL project, a multinational drilling programme, which investigates the climatic history of Antarctica over the last 40 million years. Other research projects include the Latitudinal Gradient Project, which investigates ecosystems and the effects of environmental change on these systems along the Victoria Land coastline.

The science strategy will be used by Antarctica New Zealand to determine logistics support priorities and by the Foundation for Research Science and Technology to prioritise funding. It will be implemented in accordance with the international principles and protocols that New Zealand endorses as a signatory to the Antarctic Treaty.

The science strategy will also be used in the formulation of New Zealand’s commitment to the International Polar Year in 2007/08. New Zealand is currently investigating working with Australia, Japan, France and Italy on a marine census in the Southern Ocean.

ENDS

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