The world of Antarctic science will be focused on New Zealand this Easter when Queenstown hosts 80 leading Antarctic scientists, policy makers, environmental leaders and visionaries – including ten prominent New Zealanders.
The inaugural Antarctic and Southern Ocean Horizon Scan 'A View Beyond the Horizon: Future Directions in Antarctic Science' will attempt to identify the most important research questions facing the continent in the next twenty years.
The invited participants include 25 members of the event's International Steering Committee and 30 experts selected from 800 world-wide nominations of 500 individuals. The event is led by the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR).
The aim of the Horizon Scan is to identify the top 100 most important scientific questions that will or should be addressed by research in the southern polar regions over the next two decades.
"Antarctica is the keystone and most vulnerable part of global ocean and climate systems," said Mahlon (Chuck) C. Kennicutt II, Chair of the Horizon Scan International Steering Committee and past president of SCAR.
"It is incredibly important, therefore, that some of the world's best Antarctic scientists and leaders collaborate to identify the most important scientific questions that we should focus on in the next 20 years," he said.
More than 750 suggestions were received when scientists from around the world were invited to submit questions to be considered by the Horizon Scan. A second round was held to identify gaps and to challenge the science community to submit truly futuristic "forward-leaning" questions.
These questions will be the raw material that will fuel the discussions at the Horizon Scan event.
"The scale of this event and the quality of the participants reflects the importance of Antarctica to the whole world," said Peter Beggs, CEO of Antarctica New Zealand.
"It is a real privilege for New Zealand to host the inaugural Horizon Scan.
"This is, in part, a reflection of New Zealand's global leadership in Antarctica environmental protection," he said.
The Antarctic and Southern Ocean Horizon Scan is the first of at least eight major events that New Zealand will host in 2014 that are significant to the future thinking, science, policy and management of Antarctica.
These include SCAR's biennial Open Science Conference, the Council of Managers of National Antarctic Program's (COMNAP) Symposium and AGM and New Zealand IceFest.
The Horizon Scan will be held at the Millbrook Resort in Queenstown, from Monday April 21 through to Wednesday, April 23.
For further information, please contact:
Peter Dwan, Chambers
Mobile: +64 (0)21 888 290