Antarctic scientists gather in Christchurch

Emperor Close Up
25 July 2023

There’s an avalanche of Antarctic researchers in Ōtautahi this week, with scientists from around the globe gathering in the gateway city for back-to-back international conferences that put a spotlight on climate change.

Antarctica New Zealand and the Australian Antarctic Division have teamed up for the 2023 New Zealand - Australia Antarctic Science Conference, Latitudes of Change. From Wednesday, the conference will showcase the latest findings from research programmes, and discuss research and policy imperatives.

Next week, the XIII SCAR Biology Symposium is also being held Christchurch.

“It’s great that researchers are once again able to meet, and this is a powerhouse gathering from both sides of the Tasman and around the world. We need urgent research to address the critical issues at hand,” says Antarctica New Zealand’s Chief Scientific Advisor, Prof Jordy Hendrikx.

The Australia-New Zealand Antarctic Science Conference is New Zealand’s biggest Antarctic science event, involving well-known researchers and seasoned Antarcticans. It will strengthen ties between the countries’ respective programmes, and bring more than 200 people together to improve understanding about current and future change.

Prof Hendrikx says Antarctica is a driver of climate patterns. “It’s part of global system that is intimately intertwined. Much of the science that we support aims to understand those dynamics in the atmosphere, oceans, and ecosystems, and to help better understand the connectivity between Antarctica, New Zealand, and the wider world.”

Australian Antarctic Division’s Chief Scientist, Prof Nicole Webster, said the countries’ neighbouring interests in East Antarctica and the Ross Sea provided outstanding opportunities for scientific and operational collaboration.

“While this meeting is primarily about scientists coming together to share their latest research findings, it is also an excellent opportunity to communicate our science knowledge to the public and to decision makers so that we can best support our Government’s climate and environmental policies.”

There will be a public event on Friday evening, with well-known comedian Te Radar hosting Antarctica After Dark. It features a series of talks covering everything from ground-breaking research and iconic Antarctic heritage, to the challenges of polar photography and the construction of a brand-new research facility in the highest, driest, windiest place on Earth!

  • Latitudes of change will run from 25-28 July, at the Majestic in Durham St, Christchurch. The full conference programme can be found here
  • Antarctica After Dark will be held at the same venue on 28 July, 7-9pm. Tickets are available here