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SPRI Review 2010: Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR)

Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR)

SCAR’s mission is to be the leading non-governmental, international facilitator and advocate of research in and from the Antarctic region, to provide objective and authoritative scientific advice to the Antarctic Treaty and other bodies, and to bring emerging issues to the attention of policy makers. In August 2010, SCAR held its Business meetings, Open Science Conference and Delegates’ Meeting in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The Open Science Conference attendance was over 800 and it was particularly gratifying to see a large number of students and early career researchers attending. During the 2010 SCAR meetings, the new Scientific Research Programme (SRP), Astronomy and Astrophysics in Antarctica (AAA) began officially. AAA will provide a focus for this growing scientific community within SCAR. Four new Programme Planning Groups were also approved with the aim of proposing the next generation of SCAR SRPs: (i) Solid Earth Responses and Influences on Cryospheric Evolution (SERCE), (ii) Antarctic Ecosystems: Adaptations, Thresholds and Resilience (AntETR), (iii) State of the Antarctic Ecosystem (AntEco), and (iv) Past and Future Change of the Antarctic Environment (PACE).

During 2010, SCAR continued to work on its commitment to produce annual updates of the Antarctic Climate Change and the Environment (ACCE, http://www.scar.org/publications/occasionals/acce.html) to be provided to the Antarctic Treaty Parties and other policy makers. The Ice Sheet Mass Balance and Sea Level: A Science Plan (ISMASS, http://www.scar.org/publications/reports/Report_38.pdf) was finalized. ISMASS is co-sponsored by SCAR’s sister organization the International Arctic Science Committee (IASC). As part of its commitment to the IPY legacy, SCAR, in partnership with the Scientific Committee on Oceanic Research (SCOR), finalised the draft Southern Ocean Observing System Science and Implementation Plan (http://www.scar.org/soos). The final version of the SOOS plan will be published early in 2011. A SOOS Secretariat is also being established in Hobart, with financial support from Australia. Another major contribution to the IPY has been the Census of Antarctic Marine Life (CAML, www.caml.aq), which has identified more that 1000 new species, one quarter of which are common to the Arctic.

From an administrative viewpoint the SCAR Secretariat, which is hosted by the SPRI, underwent some changes with the retirement of Colin Summerhayes and his replacement as SCAR Executive Director by Michael Sparrow. Renuka Badhe became the new SCAR Executive Officer.

Dr Mike Sparrow (Executive Director)