June Update

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3 July 2020

Covid-19 impacts Platform funded research field season

Platform researchers and the leadership team support Antarctica New Zealand’s decision to modify the 20/21 season to ensure Antarctica remains Covid-19 free. These are unprecedented times and protecting Antarctica and the safety of those who visit Scott Base is vital. Teams are now working through the implications of a reduced field season. They are also working to mitigate other Covid-19 related impacts, which include adjusting to changes in the supply chain for critical equipment, as well as implications for international collaboration, graduate students and staff from overseas. However, the urgency of climate change research remains. For this reason, researchers are seeking innovative ways to continue to progress their important scientific work. Through international coordination, the teams are looking at existing samples and data and to prepare for seasons ahead to ensure vital research and timely advice to policymakers and communities continues.

International collaboration continues with online LIONESS workshop

Four Kiwi researchers, Jamey Stutz, Craig Stevens, Natalie Robinson and Stefan Jendersie attended the LIONESS workshop online on the 14th and 15th of May. The aim of the workshop, hosted and organised by KOPRI and involving around 50 Korean, Italian, American, Australian and Kiwi researchers, was to provide an overview of ongoing ice-ocean interaction research in the Western Ross Sea/ Terra Nova Bay and emerging research programmes in the Amundsen Sea/ Thwaites Glacier area. The workshop represents a rare opportunity to bring together international expertise to explore opportunities for future interdisciplinary vessel-based research on the Antarctic Ice Sheet and Southern Ocean.


“It never leaves our radar that Antarctica is a barometer in terms of New Zealand and the globe for climate change consequences. Solving such a complex problem as climate change requires multiple knowledges,” says Kāhui Māori Chair Sandy Morrison.

The first hui with the Kāhui Māori and Antarctic Science Platform was held via Zoom last month. It focused on fostering relationships and building a strong collective understanding of each others’ expertise going forward.

The Kāhui was excited to learn a lot more about the research that happens in Antarctica and foster understanding about the Antarctic Science Platform. The hui set the scene for robust discussions where Vision Mātauranga can weave into the world of Antarctic science going forward.

The next meeting is scheduled for August in Christchurch.

Antarctica’s ICEperts: a webinar series

This winter the Platform is hosting a series of public webinars covering a range of topics from the role Antarctica plays in global sea level rise, important research findings and heroic tales from last season on the ice. The webinar series is being held at lunchtime on Thursdays with the first episode featuring professor Tim Naish scheduled for the 9th of July at 12.30pm. A link will be available online next week, or contact Georgia Nelson for more information.