Skip to main content Accessibility help

Delivering 21st century Antarctic and Southern Ocean science


The Antarctic Roadmap Challenges (ARC) project identified critical requirements to deliver high priority Antarctic research in the 21st century. The ARC project addressed the challenges of enabling technologies, facilitating access, providing logistics and infrastructure, and capitalizing on international co-operation. Technological requirements include: i) innovative automated in situ observing systems, sensors and interoperable platforms (including power demands), ii) realistic and holistic numerical models, iii) enhanced remote sensing and sensors, iv) expanded sample collection and retrieval technologies, and v) greater cyber-infrastructure to process ‘big data’ collection, transmission and analyses while promoting data accessibility. These technologies must be widely available, performance and reliability must be improved and technologies used elsewhere must be applied to the Antarctic. Considerable Antarctic research is field-based, making access to vital geographical targets essential. Future research will require continent- and ocean-wide environmentally responsible access to coastal and interior Antarctica and the Southern Ocean. Year-round access is indispensable. The cost of future Antarctic science is great but there are opportunities for all to participate commensurate with national resources, expertise and interests. The scope of future Antarctic research will necessitate enhanced and inventive interdisciplinary and international collaborations. The full promise of Antarctic science will only be realized if nations act together.


2016.This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike licence (, which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the same Creative Commons licence is included and the original work is properly cited. The written permission of Cambridge University Press must be obtained for commercial re-use.

Corresponding author


Hide All

Author contact information and contribution are provided in Table S1 in the supplemental material found at



Hide All
Aitken, A.R.A., Roberts, J.L., van Ommen, T.D., Young, D.A., Golledge, N.R., Greenbaum, J.S., Blankenship, D.D. & Siegert, M.J. 2016. Repeated large-scale retreat and advance of Totten Glacier indicated by inland bed erosion. Nature, 533, 385389.
Barnes, D.K.A. 2015. Antarctic sea ice losses drive gains in benthic carbon drawdown. Current Biology, 25, R789R790.
Berger, B., Peng, J. & Singh, M. 2013. Computational solutions for omics data. Nature Reviews Genetics, 14, 333346.
Bersanelli, M., Mosca, E., Remondini, D., Giampieri, E., Sala, C., Catsellani, G. & Milanesi, L. 2016. Methods for the integration of multi-omics data: mathematical aspects. BMC Bioinformatics, 17, 10.1186/s12859-015-0857-9.
Church, J.A., Clark, P.U., Cazenave, A., Gregory, J.M., Jevrejeva, S., Levermann, A., Merrifield, M.A., Milne, G.A., Nerem, R.S., Nunn, P.D., Payne, A.J., Pfeffer, W.T., Stammer, D. & Unnikrishnan, A.S. 2013. Sea level change. In Stocker, T.F., Qin, D., Plattner, G.-K., Tignor, M., Allen, S.K., Boschung, J., Nauels, A., Xia, Y., Bex, V. & Midgley, P.M., eds. Climate change 2013: the physical science basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 11371216.
Chown, S.L., Clarke, A., Fraser, C.I., Cary, S.C., Moon, K.L. & McGeoch, M.A. 2015. The changing form of Antarctic biodiversity. Nature, 522, 427434.
Christoffersen, P., Bougamont, M., Carter, S.P., Fricker, H.A. & Tulaczyk, S. 2014. Significant groundwater contribution to Antarctic ice streams hydrologic budget. Geophysical Research Letters, 41, 20032010.
Constable, A.J. & Doust, S. 2009. Southern Ocean Sentinel – an international program to assess climate change impacts on marine ecosystems: report of an international Workshop, Hobart, April 2009 ACE CRC, Commonwealth of Australia, and WWF-Australia. Accessed 31 May 2016.
DeConto, R.M. & Pollard, D. 2016. Contribution of Antarctica to past and future sea-level rise. Nature, 531, 591597.
Greenbaum, J.S., Blankenship, D.D., Young, D.A., Richter, T.G., Roberts, J.L., Aitken, A.R.A., Legresy, B., Schroeder, D.M., Warner, R.C., van Ommen, T.D. & Siegert, M.J. 2015. Ocean access to a cavity beneath Totten Glacier in East Antarctica. Nature Geoscience, 8, 294298.
Gutt, J., Bertler, N., Bracegirdle, T., Buschmann, A., Comiso, J., Hosie, G., Isla, E., Schloss, I.R., Smith, C.R., Tournadre, J. & Xavier, J.C. 2015. The Southern Ocean ecosystem under multiple climate stresses – an integrated circumpolar assessment. Global Change Biology, 21, 14341453.
Hay, C.C., Morrow, E., Kopp, R.E. & Mitrovica, J.X. 2015. Probabilistic reanalysis of twentieth-century sea-level rise. Nature, 517, 481484.
Joughin, I., Smith, B.E. & Medley, B. 2014. Marine ice sheet collapse potentially under way for the Thwaites Glacier basin, West Antarctica. Science, 344, 735738.
Kennicutt, M.C., Chown, S.L., Cassano, J.J., Liggett, D., Massom, R., Peck, L.S., Rintoul, S.R., Storey, J.W.V., Vaughan, D.G., Wilson, T.J. & Sutherland, W.J. 2014. Polar research: six priorities for Antarctic science. Nature, 512, 2325.
Kennicutt, M.C., Chown, S.L. Cassano, J.J. & 72 others. 2015. A roadmap for Antarctic and Southern Ocean science for the next two decades and beyond. Antarctic Science, 27, 318.
Krupnik, I., Allison, I., Bell, R., Cutler, P., Hik, D., López-Martínez, J., Rachold, V., Sarukhanian, E. & Summerhayes, C. eds. 2011. Understanding Earth’s polar challenges: International Polar Year 2007–2008. Edmonton, AB: CCI Press, Canadian Circumpolar Institute, 719 pp.
Makinson, K., Pearce, D., Hodgson, D.A., Bentley, M.J., Smith, A.M., Tranter, M., Rose, M., Ross, N., Mowlem, M., Parnell, J. & Siegert, M.J. 2016. Clean subglacial access: prospects for future deep hot-water drilling. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, A374, 10.1098/rsta.2014.0304.
Matsuoka, K., Hindmarsh, R.C.A., Moholdt, G., Bentley, M.J., Pritchard, H.D., Brown, J., Conway, H., Drews, R., Durand, G., Goldberg, D., Hattermann, T., Kingslake, J., Lenaerts, J.T.M., Martin, C., Mulvaney, R., Nicholls, K.W., Pattyn, F., Ross, N., Scambos, T. & Whitehouse, P.L. 2015. Antarctic ice rises and rumples: their properties and significance for ice-sheet dynamics and evolution. Earth-Science Reviews, 150, 724945.
National Research Council. 2007. Rising above the gathering storm: energizing and employing America for a brighter economic future. Washington, DC: National Academies Press, 592 pp.
National Research Council. 2011a. Future science opportunities in Antarctica and the Southern Ocean. Washington, DC: National Academies Press, 230 pp.
National Research Council. 2011b. Scientific ocean drilling: accomplishments and challenges. Washington, DC: National Academies Press, 158 pp.
National Research Council. 2012. Legacies and lessons of the International Polar Year 2007–2008. Washington, DC: National Academies Press, 137 pp.
Sánchez, R.A. & McIvor, E. 2007. The Antarctic Committee for Environmental Protection: past, present, and future. Polar Record, 43, 239246.
Sánchez, R.A., Njaastad, B. 2014. Future challenges in environmental management of National Antarctic Programs. In Tin, T., Liggett, D., Maher, P.T. & Lamers, M., eds. Antarctic futures: human engagement with the Antarctic environment. Dordrecht: Springer, 287306.
Schroeder, D.M., Grima, C. & Blankenship, D.D. 2016. Evidence for variable grounding-zone and shear-margin basal conditions across Thwaites Glacier, West Antarctica. Geophysics, 81, 10.1190/geo2015-0122.1.
Siegert, M.J., Ross, N., Li, J., Schroeder, D., Rippin, D., Ashmore, D., Bingham, R. & Gogineni, P. 2016. Controls on the onset and flow of Institute Ice Stream, West Antarctica. Annals of Glaciology, 10.1017/aog.2016.17.
Siegert, M.J., Clarke, R.J., Mowlem, M., Ross, N., Hill, C.S., Tait, A., Hodgson, D., Parnell, J., Tranter, M., Pearce, D., Bentley, M.J., Cockell, C., Tsaloglou, M.-N., Smith, A., Woodward, J., Brito, M.P. & Waugh, E. 2012. Clean access, measurement, and sampling of Ellsworth Subglacial Lake: a method for exploring deep Antarctic subglacial lake environments. Reviews of Geophysics, 50, 10.1029/2011RG000361.
State of the Environment Committee. 2011. Australia state of the environment 2011. Chapter 7 Antarctic Environment. Independent report to the Australian Government Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities. Canberra: DSEWPaC, 2011. Accessed 31 May 2016.
Summerhayes, C.P. 2015. Earth’s climate evolution. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 416 pp.
Sutherland, W.J., Fleishman, E., Mascia, M.B., Pretty, J. & Rudd, M.A. 2011. Methods for collaboratively identifying research priorities and emerging issues in science and policy. Methods in Ecology and Evolution, 2, 238247.
Sutherland, W.J., Freckleton, R.P., Godfray, H.C.J., Beissinger, S.R., Benton, T., Cameron, D.D., Carmel, Y., Coomes, D.A., Coulson, T., Emmerson, M.C., Hails, R.S., Hays, G.C., Hodgson, D.J., Hutchings, M.J., Johnson, D., Jones, J.P.G., Keeling, M.J., Kokko, H., Kunin, W.E., Lambin, X., Lewis, O.T., Malhi, Y., Mieszkowska, N., Milner-Gulland, E.J., Norris, K., Phillimore, A.B., Purves, D.W., Reid, J.M., Reuman, D.C., Thompson, K., Travis, J.M.J., Turnbull, L.A., Wardle, D.A. & Wiegand, T. 2013. Identification of 100 fundamental ecological questions. Journal of Ecology, 101, 5867.
Thompson, D.W.J., Solomon, S., Kushner, P.J., England, M.H., Grise, K.M. & Karoly, D.J. 2011. Signatures of the Antarctic ozone hole in Southern Hemisphere surface climate change. Nature Geosciences, 4, 741749.
Vance, T.R., Roberts, J.L., Moy, A.D., Curran, M., Tozer, C.R., Gallant, A.J.E., Abram, N.J., van Ommen, T.D., Young, D.A., Grima, C., Blankenship, D.D. & Siegert, M.J. 2016. Optimal site selection for a high-resolution ice core record in East Antarctica. Climate of the Past, 12, 595610.
Xu, G., Shen, W. & Wang, X. 2014. Applications of wireless sensor networks in marine environment monitoring: a survey. Sensors, 14, 16 93216 954.


Related content

Powered by UNSILO
Type Description Title
Supplementary materials

Kennicutt supplementary material
Table S1

 PDF (347 KB)
347 KB

Delivering 21st century Antarctic and Southern Ocean science


Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed.