Science in Antarctica began over 100 years ago when the first explorers were drawn to the extreme environment, strange creatures and the pure, clean continent.
Climate change In recent years, scientists in Antarctica have focused on climate change and two major questions:
How will Antarctica be impacted?
How will change in Antarctica influence the rest of the planet?
Scientists think that, once they understand how things work in Antarctica, they can use this knowledge to make predictions about the impacts of climate change elsewhere. New Zealand’s current scientific focus can be grouped into these themes:
Antarctica's past can tell us about our future By studying ancient ice and sediments, scientists can predict what our future planet might look like. Antarctica's biology provides an early warning signal Antarctic life is sensitive to changes in the environment. By measuring changes in the life history and behaviour of plants, microbes and animals, scientists will see early warning signs of a changing world.
Antarctica drives the planet’s climate system The world’s oceans and atmosphere spin around Antarctica, transporting heat across the planet. This means that changes in Antarctica will be felt around the world. Changes in the amount of ice in Antarctica will affect global sea level.