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Day 2 morning plenary 2

Title: Fuel spill remediation: A holistic approach to remediation and risk assessment on Macquarie Island

Presenters: Greg Hince and Lauren Wise

Australian Antarctic Division

Authors: G. Hince, D. Wilkins, L. Wise, J. Rayner, C. King, I. Snape, R. McWatters, J. vanDorst, J. Wasley, T. Mooney, T. Winsley, G. Lagerewskij
Australian Antarctic Division, Tasmania, Australia,


There are a number of fuel contaminated sites associated with Australian activities in the Antarctic and sub-Antarctic region. These sites are being remediated using technologies that have been tested and optimised for Antarctic and sub-Antarctic conditions. The decision to remediate, selection of remediation technology to be used, and when to cease active remediation is determined by a site specific assessment of environmental risk.

Active site remediation has been underway on Macquarie Island since 2008/2009. A site specific integrated risk assessment has recently been presented to the Tasmanian Government. The risk assessment presents a site specific decision making framework which evaluates the risk posed by residual fuel contaminants. It includes physical and chemical risk modelling of fuel migration, evaluation of the response of a range of biota to contamination, and a species sensitivity distribution model to predict appropriate protective concentrations for ecosystem recovery.

Title: Secrets from the past: Using Antarctic ice cores to unlock detailed information on climate variability over the last 2000 years.

Presenter: Mark Curran

Australian Antarctic Division
Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre

Authors: Mark Curran1,2, Tasman van Ommen1,2, Tessa Vance2, Christopher Plummer2,3, Andrew Moy1,2, Jason Roberts1,2

1 - Australian Antarctic Division,
2 - Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre

3 - University of Tasmania


One of the knowledge gaps highlighted in IPCC AR4 was that Southern Hemisphere climate reconstructions are limited by sparcity and quantity of well resolved paleoclimate records over the last 2000 years. Ice cores drilled in Antarctica provide excellent archives of snowfall history back through time. Various measurements of chemicals contained in this snow can provide information on past climate states and variability. Recently Australian researchers from the Australian Antarctic Division and the ACE CRC have completed a detailed study on the last 2000 years of the Law Dome ice cores, ~100km inland from Casey station. The record provides climate information on better than annual resolution and has been dated with an error of
+- 4years at -18 CE using annual layer counting. This has been used to date and assess sulphate fluxes for the major volcanic eruptions during this time period; provide temperature changes through measurements of stable isotopes of oxygen; provide snow accumulation measurements to link with rainfall variations in SWWA; using variations in the seasonal concentrations of sea salts to link with ENSO and Australian rainfall patterns; provide the history of Antarctic sea ice extent through measurements of biogenic sulphur. The Law Dome 2000 year record has been incorporated with other paleoclimate records to produce a global temperature reconstruction, with a focus on each continent through links with the PAGES project. Future drilling at Aurora Basin North (ABN) will add an important 2000 year record to the Antarctic array.

Title: Climatic variability in the Ross sea region of Antarctica and its potential influences on marine ecosystems

Presenter: David Bowden

National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research

Authors: David A Bowden1, Nancy AN Bertler2, Philip W Boyd3,4, Sam M Dean1, M Pinkerton1, Graham J Rickard1, Michael JM Williams1

1 - National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA), Wellington, New Zealand,

2 - Antarctic Research Centre, Victoria University of Wellington, Wellington, New Zealand

3 - NIWA Centre of Chemical & Physical Oceanography, Department of Chemistry, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand

4 - Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, University of Tasmania, Private Bag 129, HOBART TAS 7001


Climate change will affect marine environments of the Ross Sea region in the coming century. Understanding ecosystem response to climate variability is of fundamental importance to precautionary management in the region, but linkages between the physical environment and ecosystem dynamics remain poorly understood. We describe planned research which aims to explore likely future changes in the physical environment of the region and potential consequences of these for marine ecosystems. Advances in understanding of atmospheric and oceanic circulations, sea ice, and energy flows through food webs, afford an opportunity to build an ecologically-focused synthesis to address these aims. The research has four parts. Part one develops a fine-scale regional ocean model to study physical processes including circulation, water mass formation, sea-ice dynamics, and ocean chemistry. We then use climate and sea-ice records to evaluate IPCC AR5 global climate models in the Ross Sea region and use projections from the best of these to constrain the regional model, generating a number of future environmental envelopes. Part two analyses existing shallow ice and snow-pit core data to generate a chronology of climate and marine productivity variability over recent centuries, providing context in which to assess the implications of predicted future variability. Part three adds the planktonic food web to the regional model, to examine effects of environmental changes on primary production. Part four builds on existing trophic models of the Ross sea food web together with outputs from earlier objectives to explore linkages between the physical environment and the higher ecosystem.

Title: Reducing environmental impacts at Antarctica NZ’s Scott Base

Presenter: Mick Abbott

Lincoln University

Authors: Assoc Prof Mick Abbott1, Simon Lockrey2, Prof Karli Verghese2, Dr Eric Walton3

1 - Landscape Design lab, Lincoln University

2 - Centre for Design, RMIT, Melbourne

3 - University of Otago


A study examining environmental impacts associated with food, energy use, water use and built infrastructure was undertaken at Scott Base (2011-12). Researchers from Lincoln University/University of Otago and RMIT formulated whole of systems models that integrated Life Cycle Analysis with an understanding of human factors that both directed, and were constrained, by operational systems. This work is based on prior studies, and methods developed, during research by the team with Air NZ and and NZ’s Ministry of Science and Innovation to reduce waste and weight on the airline’s long-haul catering service. This presentation reports on key findings including: comparison of environmental impacts associated with sea and air freight when provisioning Scott Base, drivers for food waste and impact levels, building performance, and water usage. Opportunities to develop an environmental footprinting tool for research events, and ways to integrate environmental performance with communication, education and outreach requirements are also discussed.

Latest news

  • Conference prize winners
    27 Jun 2013

    The Strategic Science in Antarctica conference concluded yesterday and two days of workshops have commenced. Congratulations to those who were awarded prizes for their contributions to the conference.

  • Watch the welcome message from Australia's Environment Minister
    24 Jun 2013

    In a welcome message via video from Canberra, Australia’s Environment Minister, Tony Burke, reflected on the foresight of earlier decision-makers who agreed to set aside an entire continent for scientific research.

  • Last minute information for attendees
    20 Jun 2013

    There's not too long to wait until the start of the Strategic Science in Antarctica conference, and we hope you’re as excited as we are! Read on for more information about the final program, registration, Twitter, presenters, posters and social functions.

More news…

Key dates

  • 11th June 2013
    Registrations close
  • 21st June 2013
    Registrations at the AAD open for staff
  • 24th June 2013
    Registrations at the venue open
  • 24th June 2013
    Conference commences
  • 26th June 2013
    Conference concludes

More key dates…

This page was last modified on 7 June 2013.