Tuesday, 6 February 2018

SCAR – celebrating 60 years of Antarctic Science and international collaboration

This week, the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR) marks six decades of successful international collaboration and of drawing world’s attention to the importance of Antarctic research. Since its first meeting in The Hague on 3-5 February 1958, SCAR has grown an international network of thousands of scientists who share a common ambition to carry out Antarctic science for the benefit of society.

Antarctica and the Southern Ocean have a fundamental role in regulating processes such as climate and carbon uptake, and research in the Antarctic is crucial to understanding processes of global significance and to advancing science. Additionally, rapid changes are occurring in parts of Antarctica that could open the continent to a new level of activities in the coming decades. Antarctic governance, administration and environmental protection must be based on scientific data.

Understanding the wide-ranging regional and global effects of change in Antarctica and the Southern Ocean is the task of Science. Antarctic scientists have been providing information about the state of the continent and its surrounding seas since polar exploration began. That work was in particular in the focus during the International Geophysical Year of 1957-58. Realizing the importance of continuing international Antarctic collaboration at the end of the International Geophysical Year, SCAR was established to facilitate and coordinate it.

With a membership representing the scientific communities of 43 countries, SCAR is instrumental in initiating, developing and coordinating high quality international scientific research in the Antarctic and the Southern Ocean. As an inter-disciplinary committee of the International Council for Science (ICSU) SCAR provides objective and independent advice to international bodies such as the Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meetings, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Belgium is full member of SCAR and Belgian scientists are well represented in various working groups.

More information you can find on the websites of SCAR, or of the Belgian National Committee on Antarctic Research (BNCAR). Further, SCAR will celebrate its 60th year at its 35th Meeting and the Open Science Conference (POLAR2018) at Davos in Switzerland from June 15-26 June 2018.