Above photo by Drew Lohrer (Nov 2018, K080-A)

Funding was announced in Budget 2017 for a new Strategic Science Investment Fund (SSIF) platform for Antarctic science. The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment subsequently invited Antarctica New Zealand to jointly develop a new Antarctic Science Platform. The Antarctic Science Platform will provide stable funding for underpinning, longer-term Antarctic science critical to maximising scientific and strategic benefits for New Zealand.

The purpose of the Antarctic Science Platform is to conduct excellent science to understand Antarctica’s impact on the global earth system, and how this might change in a +2°C (Paris agreement) world.

Antarctica is fundamentally important to the global climate system. We know too little about the physical and biological processes that happen in Antarctica, and the implications that changing environmental conditions will have for Antarctica, for New Zealand, and for the rest of the planet. Targeted research in Antarctica and the Southern Ocean is imperative to fill gaps in knowledge and improve our capability to detect, predict and adapt to changing environmental conditions.

The Antarctic Science Platform will enable research focus and collaboration at a level not previously experienced in New Zealand. This investment comes at a time when strong foundations have been established: the research community is highly regarded and influential internationally, and New Zealand has effective relationships with international researchers and other National Antarctic Programmes. At the same time, society is demanding better predictive capability as the implications of climate change become more apparent. The Antarctic Science Platform will capitalise on New Zealand’s existing capability in Antarctic research and the societal need for information to support a research community that will advance our understanding of the impact of Antarctica on the global earth system.

More information about the Antarctic Science Platform can be found here