the origins of the universe and the nature of the solar system owing in part to the remarkable clarity and stability of the atmosphere above the high Antarctic plateau. In the coming decades, Antarctica and the Southern Ocean will continue to be a place where new discoveries are made.

The types of research questions that are studied in Antarctica and the Southern Ocean are often broad and multifaceted, which necessitate collaborations among scientists from differing disciplines, backgrounds, and nations. In addition, because of the harsh environmental conditions and remoteness of the region (see Box 1.1), conducting science in Antarctica and the Southern Ocean presents special logistical challenges. Overcoming these challenges has led nations to collaborate with one another in their support of science in this region. Technological innovations have always aided in the support of science in the Antarctic environment, and it will be important to continue to take advantage of new technologies as they emerge in the future. Last, it takes specific training on how to do scientific research in Antarctica and the Southern Ocean, and the education of the next generation of Antarctic scientists will continue to be a critical issue. Choices that are made about these issues—collaborations, technology, and education—will have a large influence on the capacity to conduct scientific research in this part of the world in the future. If opportunities are exploited wisely, they have the ability to extend the reach and the quality of the scientific work conducted in this region.

In the United States, the U.S. Antarctic Program (USAP) within the National Science Foundation (NSF) holds the primary responsibility for supporting science in Antarctica and the Southern Ocean. USAP is also at a unique time in its history. The last review of this program was 15 years ago (Augustine et al., 1997; Executive Office of the President, 1996). A major outcome from that review process was the reconstruction of the South Pole Station, which has solidified the U.S. presence on the continent. That reconstruction of the South Pole Station, which required a major investment of resources, has recently been completed. Now is the time to examine the program and look forward to the future directions for science in Antarctica and the Southern Ocean.


At the request of the NSF Office of Polar Programs, in coordination with the Office of Science Technology Policy and the Office of Management and Budget and under the auspices of the National Research Council, the Committee on Future Science Opportunities in the Antarctic and Southern Ocean was asked to identify the important scien-

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