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SPRI Review 2006: Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR)

Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR)

SCAR, the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research, coordinates scientific research taking place in the Antarctic region. SCAR was formed in 1958 by the International Council for Science (ICSU) to continue this coordination, which began during the International Geophysical Year (IGY) of 1957-58. The need for such coordination has grown as the role of Antarctica in the global system has become apparent as we approach the International Polar Year of 2007-2008, in which SCAR is playing a leading role. In 2006, SCAR gained two new Associate Members (Denmark and Portugal) and one new Union Member (INQUA, the International Association for Quaternary Research); in addition, two Associate Members gained Full Member status (Bulgaria and the Ukraine). SCAR now has 30 Full National Members, 4 Associate National Members, and 8 ICSU Union Members.

During 2006, SCAR continued its focus on five major Scientific Research Programmes (SRPs): Antarctica and the Global Climate System (AGCS), a study of the modern ocean-atmosphere-ice system; Antarctic Climate Evolution (ACE), a study of climate change over the past 34 million years since glaciation began; Evolution and Biodiversity in the Antarctic (EBA), a study of the response of life to change; Subglacial Antarctic Lake Exploration (SALE), a study of the chemistry and biology of long-buried lakes beneath the ice sheet; Interhemispheric Conjugacy Effects in Solar-Terrestrial and Aeronomy Research (ICESTAR), a study of how the Earth's outer atmosphere responds to the changing impact of the solar wind at both poles.

SCAR's XXIXth meeting and 2nd Open Science Conference, hosted by the Australian Antarctic Division in Hobart in July 2006, attracted some 850 participants from 32 countries. The SCAR President presented the first SCAR medals: to Peter Barrett (NZ) for outstanding achievement in Antarctic Science; to Paul Mayewski (USA) for excellence in Antarctic research; and to David Walton (UK) for international scientific coordination. Professor Julian Dowdeswell, Director of SPRI, attended the SCAR meeting as the Alternate Delegate to SCAR from the United Kingdom. SCAR also provided scientific advice during the year to the Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting in Edinburgh (12-23 June), the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources meeting in Hobart (23-26 October), and the Advisory Committee to the Agreement on Albatrosses and Petrels, in Brasilia (5-8 June).

SCAR's activities are supported by a full time Secretariat based at SPRI, staffed by Executive Director Dr. Colin Summerhayes, Executive Officer Dr. Marzena Kaczmarska, and Administrative Assistant Karen Smith.

Colin Summerhayes (Executive Director)