2017 News

Update on the progress of the Antarctic Near-shore and Terrestrial Observation System

1 ANTOS DSC 05957 March 2017: Contributed by Vonda Cummings

The Antarctic Near-shore and Terrestrial Observation System (ANTOS) Expert Group has published its report from their 2016 meeting in Kuala Lumpur. At this workshop, ANTOS committee members reported on progress and deliverables from previous workshops that will direct the design and implementation of ANTOS, and attendees at the workshop discussed program “next steps”. Read the full report here.

Progress to date includes: (1) a preliminary version of a database management schema and user interface (UI) that will be the backbone of an ANTOS website. This has been developed by Soon Gyu Hong from the Korean Polar Research Institute (KOPRI). The website and database will provide a portal for data management and sharing among the international research community; (2) Action group committee members, led by Byron Adams (Brigham Young University, United States) and Emmanuelle Sultan (Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle, France) have designed an online survey to poll the international community to designate suitable, high-priority sites that should be included in the ANTOS network; (3) Action group members have reviewed technical aspects of site instrumentation (e.g., sensor networks, telemetry, remote data transfer) and have drafted technical guidelines for standards for a 3-tier system to guide investment in ANTOS site infrastructure by national programs; (4) Peter Convey (British Antarctic Survey, BAS) presented results from a BAS supported workshop to create an Atlas of Ice-Free Areas of Antarctica to identify prospective terrestrial ice-free sites that should be prioritized to be included in the ANTOS network.


The ANTOS action group has successfully identified a need for international collaboration to measure and understand continent-wide, long-term trends in Antarctic biology and environmental parameters, and has begun to design a framework for a coordinated international effort to address these issues. As such, the ANTOS action group applied to gain designation as a SCAR expert group by early 2017, which was granted. As ANTOS shifts to an expert group, next steps include a cost-benefit analysis of SCAR investment in ANTOS, conducting the survey to identify candidate ANTOS sites, implementing the database design and user interface to create an ANTOS data portal website, developing a working relationship with COMNAP to communicate why it is necessary national programs invest in such an effort, and providing technical details of the three measurement tiers to guide national funding agencies and research programmes.