National Research Council (NRC) Seeking Input on Science Priorities

The National Research Council (NRC) Committee to Advise NSF Science Priorities for Antarctic and Southern Ocean Research is seeking your input.

This committee is charged to articulate a strategic vision for NSF’s investments in Antarctic and Southern Ocean research– anchored by community engagement and input, and building upon the broad vision of key scientific questions identified in the 2011 NRC report “Future Science Opportunities in the Antarctic and Southern Ocean“, as well as other relevant efforts such as the SCAR Horizon Scan currently underway.  The goal of this study is to develop consensus recommendations on priorities for compelling research that could feasibly be undertaken in the coming decade or so, and outline practical steps forward to implement this research.  Our scope stretches across topics as diverse as geology and geophysics, terrestrial and aquatic biology, glaciology and ice core studies, ocean and atmospheric sciences, astrophysics and space weather, as well as cross-cutting areas such as education, public engagement, and data management.

As input for this study, the committee would like to draw widely on the expertise and experience of people across the Antarctic and Southern Ocean science communities.  We are planning a series of outreach events to be held at various locations across the country, where you may have an opportunity to share your thoughts and ideas in person (dates and locations will be circulated once the plans for these events are further solidified).   In addition, we’ve set up an online “Virtual Town Hall” at the link given below, where you are invited to submit your ideas in writing.

This NRC study presents an important opportunity to help shape the future of Antarctic and Southern Ocean research, and we do hope you will choose to take advantage of this opportunity.   The committee welcomes and values your ideas.  The window for input will remain open for the next several months (until November 1, 2014), so you should have ample time to contribute.

Please feel free to share this email and the link with any of your colleagues who you think may be interested.  Questions can be directed to Lauren Brown at the NRC:

Thanks in advance for your input,
Robin Bell, Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University, Committee Co-Chair
Bob Weller, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Committee Co-Chair

Forthcoming Events: April 2014 Conferences

Arctic Science Summit Week (ASSW) 2014

7 – 12 April 2014, Helsinki, Finland

ASSW 2014 will include the 2nd Arctic Observing Summit (AOS). For more information, please visit the ASSW website.

[pdf] Second Circular

10th Annual Polar Technology Conference

15 – 17 April 2014, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana, USA

The primary purpose of this conference is to bring together Polar Scientists and Technology Developers in a forum to exchange information on research system operational needs and technology solutions that have been successful in polar environments. This exchange of knowledge helps to address issues of design, implementation, and deployment for systems that are to achieve their research goals in the Polar Regions.

Past participants have come from the private sector, state and federal agencies, non-governmental organizations, and academia. Presentations generally cover system requirements for proposed research along with descriptions of systems and approaches that have been proven in polar deployments. Typical hardware and software topics have included weather stations, robotics, power systems, telemetry, and remote communications. The scale of systems ranges from the autonomous data collection towers to large scale research stations. Polar venues represented include under, on, and above the ice, tundra, or sea.

We are pleased to have support from the National Science Foundation’s Office of Polar Programs as an endorsement of the concept of bringing together providers and consumers of these technologies in hopes of benefiting from that synergy.

For more information and to submit an abstract or to register, please visit the Conference website.

Obituary: Martha T. Muse

SCAR and the Selection Committee for the Martha T Muse Prize for Antarctic science and policy join the Tinker Foundation in mourning the passing of Martha T Muse on 9th February 2014. Martha was a founding director of the Tinker Foundation. She served as its president for 27 years and its chairman for 33 years, retiring in 2008. It was under her direction that the Foundation became a leading funder of Latin American-related activities, providing support for educational, environmental, security, economic, legal and governance issues. One of her final directives to the Tinker Foundation was incorporating Antarctica-related subjects under its funding mandate. Her passion for Antarctica was recognised with the Tinker Foundation establishing the Muse Prize for Science and Policy in Antarctica, an award for mid-career Antarctic scientists and policy makers, recognised as leaders of tomorrow. The First Martha T Muse Fellows Colloquium will be held in her honour, in conjunction with the Antarctic and Southern Ocean Horizon Scan, in April 2014 in New Zealand.

Martha received her undergraduate degree from Barnard College in 1948 and a master’s degree in political science from Columbia University in 1955. In 1981 she received an honorary doctorate from Georgetown University. She was the first woman elected as a trustee to Columbia University and was among the first women named to the Board of the New York Stock Exchange and the Council on Foreign Relations.

A memorial service will be held in New York City in the late spring. Letters of inquiry and condolence may be sent to the Tinker Foundation, 55 E. 59th St., New York, NY 10022.

For a detailed obituary, please follow link below:

Details of the Martha T Muse Prize for Science and Policy in Antarctica:

Details of the Antarctic and Southern Ocean Horizon Scan, and the 1st Martha T. Muse Fellows Colloquium (“What will Antarctica and the Southern Ocean look like in 2065?)

Obituary: Philip M. Smith

The Polar world and SCAR have lost a great friend.

Phil Smith, known to SCAR members as the leader of the review that led to major restructuring of SCAR in the early 2000s, passed on February 16, 2014.

Phil began his involvement in the Polar Regions when, as a young US Army Lieutenant, he was sent to Greenland as a navigator for the heavy tractor “swings” then traversing the Greenland Ice Sheet. Phil was trained by Major Palle Mogenson and Captain Bert Danielson for his work in Greenland.

When his tour of duty in the Arctic was completed, Phil made the decision to volunteer to join the US efforts in the International Geophysical Year 1957-1958 (IGY) in Antarctica, and there he joined with Bert Crary and others utilizing heavy tractors to haul materials for the construction of the US bases established as part of IGY.

After returning to the US, Phil became an early member of the Office of Polar Programs that was established in the National Science Foundation to continue the scientific efforts begun as part of the IGY. Bert Crary was the Chief Scientist and Phil served as the Deputy Director of OPP for a number of years.

His abilities were soon recognized by his colleagues in Washington, DC, and in following years he spent time in the Office of Science and Technology Policy and the Office of Management and the Budget, followed by over a decade of leadership in the National Academy of Sciences and the National Research Council.

In the late 1990s Phil was asked by the then president of SCAR to conduct a review of that organization. At that time, SCAR was operating on the same “plan” that was instituted when it was formed in the late 1950s, and the increase in size and activities were not reflected in the SCAR system of operation, leading to pressure to change from some quarters. After some reflection, he agreed to lead a review committee, and it is as a testimony to his wise and skillful chairmanship that reforms which might well have been controversial met with wide approval. Indeed, SCAR as we see it today is largely a result of that review. More recently he was asked, and agreed to chair, a “review of the review” for a fine tuning of the operation of SCAR. He was elected as an Honorary Member of SCAR to recognize his contributions to SCAR.

Anyone who has worked with Phil knows that he was a unique individual. Outstanding leadership skills, the ability to get diverse groups to work together, but most importantly, he had the ability to see years ahead and to have an understanding of what was to come. He has been called a “futurist” by some.

Phil’s contributions to the continued growth and development of SCAR as an important organization in the international arena cannot be ignored. SCAR members owe a great debt to Phil and those of us who knew him well, some for over 50 years, will miss his skills, humour, and leadership. SCAR today is a far better and more relevant organization due largely to the efforts of Phil Smith.

Antonio Rocha-Campos, SCAR President 1994-1998

Robert Rutford, SCAR President 1998-2002

Jorn Thiede, SCAR President 2002-2006

Chris Rapley, SCAR President 2006 – 2008

Mahlon “Chuck” Kennicutt II, SCAR President 2008-2012

Jerónimo López-Martínez, SCAR President 2012-2016

Workshop to develop an Antarctic Near-Shore and Terrestrial Observing System (ANTOS)

The Antarctic Near-Shore and Terrestrial Observing System (ANTOS) is proposed as a Life Sciences Expert Group which will survey the impact of change on Antarctic life. A workshop, aimed at developing an implementation framework for ANTOS, will be held in Auckland, New Zealand on Friday 22 August 2014, immediately prior to the start of the XXXIII SCAR meetings.

For more information, see the workshop leaflet:

SCAR Medals: Deadline for nominations approaching

An important SCAR activity is recognition of excellence in Antarctic and Southern Ocean science and outstanding service to the international Antarctic community, both of which are critical to advancing SCAR‘s vision and mission. Peer-recognition rewards and highlights those who exemplify the best of the Antarctic community and serve as models for the next generation of scientists and researchers. SCAR created the Medals to provide this recognition: the Medal for Excellence in Antarctic Research and the Medal for International Scientific Coordination.

The deadline for nominations for the 2014 medals is 15th March 2014.
Information on the nomination and selection process, including full details on how to make a nomination, are available on the Medals page of the SCAR website: