The Federal Government has kicked off its commitment to deliver a 20-Year Australian Antarctic Strategic Plan which will deliver investment and jobs for Tasmania.
The Plan will be headed by ACE CEO Dr Tony Press and will draw on a panel of experts in relevant fields and involve consultation with a wide range of stakeholders and the general public.
Environment Minister Greg Hunt, during a visit to the Australian Antarctic Division headquarters in Hobart, unveiled the Terms of Reference for the Plan and tasked Dr Tony Press to begin work. (Full media release here
Hobart is already a major hub of Antarctic research. Dr Press will recommend options to build on this and further stimulate economic, social, research and policy benefits deriving from Tasmania’s status as an Antarctic gateway.
Dr Press is due to complete the report by July next year.
Australia is already playing a leading scientific role in Antarctic research. This year’s Australian Antarctic program involves a range of world class science projects, including a major multi-nation project which will reveal Antarctic climate records.
Dr Mark Curran, from the Australian Antarctic Division and the ACE CRC, will lead a team of 15 partner organisations from Australia, China, Denmark, France, Germany and the United States to drill a 2000 to 3000-year ice core at Aurora Basin in east Antarctica.
Over six weeks, beginning December 2013, 24 scientists will drill a 400 metre-long ice core at the remote site, 550 kms from Australia’s Casey station.
A further two shorter cores of about 120 m and covering the last 1000 years will also be drilled for further studies on climate and ice properties.
This project has been several years in the planning and requires considerable logistics to move accommodation and equipment to support the team.
In all, around 26 tonnes of camp and drilling equipment will be carried on an overland traverse by heavy vehicles, across 1300 kms of the icecap.
The traverse, to be joined by the Australian Antarctic Division’s head of Climate Processes and Change, Dr Tas van Ommen, will be managed by a 14-strong team of colleagues from the French station Dumont d’Urville. Dr Van Ommen is also leader of the ACE CRC's Cryosphere Program.
More information on the Aurora Basin project here