Some of the world's leading scientists have spent the last three days in Queenstown to agree on the most important questions facing the continent in the next 20 years.
"As we always say, what happens in Antarctica actually has global implications" explained Professor Chuck Kennicutt, a US Oceanographer and Chair of the Horizon Scan International Steering Committee
"We want to identify the very top, most impactful, most exciting Antarctic science questions that will be relevant 20 years from today,"
55 scientists from 24 countries narrowed down more than 800 questions to just 80.
Professor Kennicutt says they are debating "questions like ice sheet mass balance, how's that going to affect global sea level rise; shifts in ecosystems both in Antarctica and globally; changes in the heat balance; changes in weather patterns".
Scientists say sea level rise caused by Antarctic ice melt and increased acidity in the Southern Ocean are likely to be major issues for New Zealand.