How the COVID-19 pandemic signaled the demise of Antarctic exceptionalism

This paper explores how the COVID-19 pandemic affected science and tourism activities and their governance in the Antarctic and Southern Ocean. The pandemic reduced the ability of Antarctic Treaty Parties to make decisions on policy issues and placed a considerable burden on researchers. Tourism was effectively suspended during the 2020–2021 Antarctic season and heavily reduced in 2021–2022 but rebounded to record levels in 2022–2023. The pandemic stimulated reflection on practices to facilitate dialog, especially through online events. Opportunities arose to integrate innovations developed during the pandemic more permanently into Antarctic practices, in relation to open science, reducing operational greenhouse gas footprints and barriers of access to Antarctic research and facilitating data sharing. However, as well as the long-term impacts arising directly from the pandemic, an assemblage of major geopolitical drivers are also in play and, combined, these signal a considerable weakening of Antarctic exceptionalism in the early Anthropocene.


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Authors: Liggett, Daniela, Frame, Bob, Convey, Peter ORCIDORCID record for Peter Convey, Hughes, Kevin A. ORCIDORCID record for Kevin A. Hughes

On this site: Kevin Hughes, Peter Convey
1 March, 2024
Science Advances / 10
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