Our focus is on delivering a science programme that is high quality, and has a high impact with the public, the scientific community and policy makers. We are motivated to tackle the big questions relating to climate change, such as:

  • What processes will influence how fast the ice sheets melt?
  • How will Antarctic ecosystems respond to a changing environment?
  • How will climate change in Antarctica influence the rest of the planet?

The answers to these questions will help us to navigate our way into the future.

For a small country, the science effort that New Zealand produces is impressive. Our initiative, ingenuity and boldness sees New Zealand leading the way in Antarctic research at a global level.

Our Commitment to Science

The New Zealand Antarctic science programme is undergoing significant change and growth. The programme is focussed on answering the most pressing questions about the vulnerability of ice and biota in Antarctica and connections between Antarctica and the rest of the world. In order to best answer these questions, research needs to be conducted in places where change will be most apparent; where the ice meets the land such as the Siple Coast, and where the ocean meets the continent such as Cape Adare in the northern Ross Sea. In the 2015/16 season, we provided logistical support to three major deep field projects between 300 and 1000kms from Scott Base that required fixed-wing and traverse support from Scott Base.

We are investing in new infrastructure to support the changing needs of the science community. The Hillary Field Centre at Scott Base is undergoing a major upgrade, including the development of dedicated science laboratories and a modular system whereby shipping containers modified into specialist laboratories can be 'docked' into the Hillary Field Centre. We are also developing traverse capability to provide a more efficient and cost-effective means of transporting field camp, science and fuel supplies over-ice to remote locations. The tractor-sled system will be capable of travelling up to 100kms per day and will come online for the 2018/19 season.