The Antarctic continent and surrounding oceans are key parts of the Earth System through the entire history of the Earth. The basement core of Antarctica comprises a suite of crustal blocks that were parts of various supercontinents (e.g. Rodinia, Gondwana). Their outcrops provide important insights into Earth processes. Sedimentary records on and around Antarctica also provide important insights into the history and natural variability of the earth's environments. The geological record can provide key insights into the evolution and processes of change in the Antarctic environment and the biota dependent on it. The geology of the ice sheet bed strongly influences ice behaviour and the development of the ice sheet from its inception. Geodetic and geophysical observatories can furnish a fundamental contribution to the study of geodynamics processes across the continent. The challenge of the next phase of Antarctic science will be to integrate all branches of science into a holistic understanding of Antarctica and its trajectory of change.
Geoscience Scientific Research Programmes:
This Scientific Research Programme aims to improve understanding of the sensitivity of East, West, and Antarctic Peninsula Ice Sheets to a broad range of climatic and oceanic conditions and to improve confidence in predictions of ice sheet and sea level response to future climate change and ocean warming. PAIS ends this year.
This Scientific Research Programme aims to advance understanding of the interactions between the solid earth and the cryosphere to better constrain ice mass balance, ice dynamics and sea level change in a warming world. SERCE ends this year.
The Ant-ICON SRP will answer fundamental science questions (as identified by the SCAR Horizon Scan), relating to the conservation and management of Antarctica and the Southern Ocean and focus on research to drive and inform international decision-making and policy change.
The INSTANT SRP will address a first-order question about Antarctica’s contribution to sea level. It encompasses geoscience, physical sciences and biological sciences, of the way in which interactions between the ocean, atmosphere and cryosphere have influenced ice-sheets in the past, and what expectations will be in the future with a special focus on quantifying the contributions to global sea level change. They aim to quantify the Antarctic ice sheet's contribution to past and future global sea-level change.
Geoscience Action and Expert Groups:
This Expert Group aims to compile and integrate all existing Antarctic near-surface and satellite magnetic anomaly data into a digital database.
This Action Group aims to develop a continent‐wide, age‐depth model of Antarctica’s ice using the internal layers and surfaces imaged by radar‐sounding and use this to determine the stability of the Antarctic Ice Sheets over past glacial cycles.
This Expert Group aims to establish a biologically focussed, integrated and coordinated Antarctic-wide observation system, to identify and track environmental variability and change at biologically relevant scales, and to use this information to inform biological, physical, and earth science studies. This group is co-sponsored by SCAR's Life Sciences, Physical Sciences and Geosciences Groups.
This Expert Group aims to develop an internationally coordinated, web-accessible database and monitoring system on Antarctic permafrost and soils.
This Expert Group aims to promote the study of Antarctic volcanism, facilitate regional correlations and work towards establishing Antarctica as a high profile site for studying volcanic processes, especially but not solely petrology and glaciovolcanism.
This Action Group aims to identify highest-priority areas where lineaments and/or apparent tectonic block boundaries intersect with outcrops, provide improved geological maps, improve connections to adjacent continents within Gondwana/Rodinia and project the knowledge of these into Antarctica, and identify worthy drill sites for basement recovery and connect to other Antarctic drilling communities.
This Expert Group aims to oversee the development of geodetic infrastructure across the Antarctic Continent to facilitate the monitoring of its physical processes and help coordinate various infrastructure associated with earth monitoring techniques such as the Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) and gravity meters, as well as the installation of tide gauges to monitor sea level change.
This Action Group aims to develop a Code of Conduct for research, protection and ongoing management on and in areas of geological and geomorphological significance within the Antarctic.
This Action Group aims to facilitate an international effort to gather both rock and surficial deposit information and compile it into a GIS framework that will underpin studies of glacial dynamics and climate change.
This Expert Group aims to build and coordinate a robust network of international collaborations to address a variety of weather and space weather related needs at high latitudes and the polar regions (Arctic and Antarctica), through ad hoc data sharing and models development. This group is co-sponsored by SCAR's Geosciences and Physical Sciences Groups.
This Expert Group aims to design and implement an enhanced digital database that contains bathymetric data available south of 60S latitude, leading to the design of a consistent bathymetric chart of the Southern Ocean