Science

Antarctica

Scientists have been researching Antarctica since the days of the first explorers, drawn by the extreme environment, unique species and pristine nature of the continent.

These days, a major focus of Antarctic research is how the continent and its ecosystems will be impacted by climate change, and how those changes will influence the rest of the planet. Changes in Antarctica will drive global sea level rise, ocean circulation and weather patterns.

Aotearoa New Zealand's Science Strategy

The Aotearoa New Zealand Antarctic and Southern Ocean Research Directions and Priorities 2021-2030 document establishes themes and priorities for New Zealand Antarctic science. It focuses on four key research areas:

New Zealand’s Research in Antarctica

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.

We facilitate the research of New Zealand scientists and their international collaborators in Antarctica. We are focused on delivering a science programme that is high quality and has a high impact with the scientific community, policy makers and the public. New Zealand’s Antarctic researchers are working hard to tackle the big questions relating to climate change. The answers to these questions will help us to navigate our way into the future.

  • 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?

Working Together

New Zealand’s research efforts in Antarctica are becoming increasingly collaborative, both within the New Zealand scientific community, and at a global level through the involvement of international scientists. There has been a shift towards projects that bring together research teams with multiple areas of expertise, and New Zealand draws on logistical support from other national Antarctic programmes.

Collaborative and multidisciplinary approaches are vital for us to address the big science questions relating to climate change on the continent.
Much of the science that is conducted in and on Antarctica provides valuable guidance for policy and management. We facilitate and encourage dialogue between scientists and policy makers to ensure scientific efforts are delivering robust and useful information wherever possible.

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