News Picks : Funding cuts threaten Australia’s leadership in Antarctic science
Sydney Morning Herald: A group of Australian scientists has warned that recent cuts to budgets and science programs could adversely affect the country’s leadership in Antarctic research. The cuts are particularly ill-timed because of Antarctica’s growing importance in the study of climate change. The continent comprises one-tenth of Earth’s land surface, nearly 90% of Earth’s ice, and 70% of its fresh water, according to a Nature article in which leading scientists outline the six most pressing priorities for Antarctic science. One of the scientists, Steven Chown of Monash University, has emphasized the need for increasing international collaboration and funding to ensure against gaps in long-running research and loss of key researchers in the field. He also points out that “science leadership in the region is the key to political influence” and, hence, to determining whether Antarctica's future will focus on environmental stewardship or resource exploitation.