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pdf SCAR XXVIII 26: Proposal for a SCAR Scientific Research Programme on Subglacial Antarctic Lake Environments (SALE)


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SCAR XXVIII 26: Proposal for a SCAR Scientific Research Programme on Subglacial Antarctic Lake Environments (SALE)
XXVIII SCAR Delegates Meeting
3-8 October 2004, Bremerhaven, Germany

SCAR XXVIII 26: Proposal for a SCAR Scientific Research Programme on Subglacial Antarctic Lake Environments (SALE)

Working Paper: 26
Agenda Item: 5.5

Program Executive Summary

It is proposed to form a Scientific Research Program (SRP) entitled “Subglacial Antarctic Lake Environments (SALE)” to serve as the international focal point of SCAR’s activities to promote, facilitate, and champion cooperation and collaboration in the exploration and study of subglacial environments in Antarctica. SALE will be constituted for a period of eight years with twelve members’ representative of the disciplines and expertise fundamental to subglacial lake exploration

SALE will:

  • guide the development and implementation of the SRP’s activities including changes in course as indicated by events and progress;
  • encourage and facilitate communication and collaboration between scientists and technologists involved in subglacial lake environment exploration and research;
  • advise the international community through SCAR on scientific and technology issues including addressing environmental concerns and proposing safeguards;
  • promote partnerships, collaboration, data and sample access, common data management protocols and data sharing to facilitate and expedite the advancement of Antarctic science and knowledge;
  • summarize and report results to the wider scientific community, policy makers, and the lay public in available venues;
  • encourage adherence to the agreed guiding principles for subglacial environment stewardship, exploration, research, and data management;
  • advocate subglacial lake environments exploration and research to National Committees, scientific communities, policy makers, and the lay public;
  • establish scientific liaisons and logistics cooperation with other Antarctic entities and activities in close partnership and coordination with COMNAP;
  • respond to requests from SCAR for expert advice in a timely manner including convening of expert groups when needed;
  • maintain an up-to-date inventory of subglacial lakes, develop a standard identification scheme, and maintain a current bibliography;
  • provide advice on minimization of contamination for entry, sensor package deployments, and sampling technologies and engage independent third party experts as needed for objective advice and guidance;
  • organize and conduct workshops, scientific sessions, and symposia;
  • provide a web site with links to activities related to subglacial lake environments including national programs, meetings, reports, and data repositories;
  • convene and conduct scientific, methodological and technology workshops;
  • provide a centralized focus for outreach efforts including promotional materials, an available speaker and topic list, creation of interactive tools for educating the public, meeting reports, regular press releases, and contact information for the media; and
  • develop and promote common protocols and standards for data management to ensure access, quality and comparability across programs including the development of a portal to data repositories held by others.

The overarching scientific objectives of SALE are:

  • To understand the formation and evolution of subglacial lake processes and environments.
  • To determine the origins, evolution and maintenance of life in subglacial lake environments.
  • To understand the limnology and paleoclimate history recorded in subglacial lake sediments.

The proposed SRP for SALE supports SCAR’s mission, vision, and goals as outlined in the “First SCAR Long Range Strategic Plan” by providing a venue to ensure SCAR leadership in leading-edge interdisciplinary Antarctic exploration and science. SALE will facilitate and coordinate research among interested nations to develop greater scientific understanding of the nature and evolution of the Antarctic region and its processes, the role of Antarctica in the Earth System with particular reference to changing climate, and provide a basis for understanding the effect of global and human change by deciphering the past evolution of the continent and life over millions of years. The new knowledge gained about the workings of the Earth System will be communicated to policy makers and the lay public in understandable formats. SALE will be an advocate for environmentally sound subglacial lake environment exploration and research. While environmental, logistical and technological challenges are many, SALE will closely coordinate it efforts with COMNAP, national committees, and the ATCM to ensure that the best available knowledge is brought to bear on the varied issues that must be addressed. The SALE network will allow countries to participate at a level commensurate with available national resources while benefiting from a team effort intended increase the capacity of all of its members by sharing of collective expertise, experiences, and knowledge. Subglacial lake environments have already generated great public interest and SALE will capitalize on this interest with a vigorous outreach program that will assist in incorporating Antarctic sciences into the education process from “K-Gray” and communicate findings to the public.

Subglacial lake environments are emerging as a major new frontier theme of the International Polar Year in 2007-2009. The designation of SALE as a SRP will position SCAR to be a leader in the International Polar Year (IPY) in this topical area. SALE provides an international focal point for the exploration and study of subglacial lake environments. Initial plans have been agreed to form an international network of exploration and research programs under the auspices of SALE to coordinate activities during the IPY 2007-2009 and after.