I felt like I was back in Florida last week with November temperatures in DC soaring above 80, so I cooled myself off by focusing on polar oceanography. One of our members, Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory (LDEO) helped me out with their congressional briefing on the challenges and opportunities for research in Antarctica. This briefing comes on the heels of the National Science Foundation (NSF)’s release of their Strategic Vision for NSF Investments in Antarctic and Southern Ocean Research.
Advances in polar oceanography are key to determining the extent of ice loss and other climactic changes occurring in polar landscapes – recent reports show Arctic sea ice to be at a record low. Scientists at the briefing drove home the global significance of Antarctica and why these changes matter to the rest of us, ranging from bottom-up food web disruptions to sea level rise affecting millions of residents of coastal North America. To understand the extent of these changes, we need infrastructure, such as research vessels, equipment to drill for sediment cores, and icebreakers, that allow us the access to observe and monitor ocean conditions and to conduct research in this remote area. For more details on the briefing, check out our full summary below. I’m thrilled that so many of COL’s members are involved in Arctic or Antarctic polar research and look forward to continuing to see the top-notch research coming from these institutions.
In other news, NSF published their updated Proposal and Award Policies and Procedure Guide. This document covers everything from proposal preparation to monitoring guidelines, so make sure to take a look.
RADM Jonathan W. White, USN (ret.); M.S.
President and CEO
Consortium for Ocean Leadership
NASA Collaboration Allows Citizen Scientists To Lend A Hand In Penguin Conservation
Tracking penguin populations in Antarctica is a critical component of understanding environmental changes in the region. Now, thanks to a collaboration between NASA and Stony Brook University, citizen scientists can lend a hand through the use of a new, interactive, and user-friendly website that tracks Antarctic penguin populations and provides information to scientists. The tool, known as the Mapping Application for Penguin Populations and Projected Dynamics (MAPPPD) and available at www.penguinmap.com, is the first of its kind to give citizen scientists a lens into the world of scientists working to understand how environmental change, fishing, and tourism may be affecting Antarctica’s iconic birds.