7 August, 2006 News stories

At the XXIX meeting of the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR) in Hobart the Delegates elected Prof Chris Rapley CBE, Director BAS as SCAR President. The appointment took effect from the 19th July and is for four years.

SCAR is a Special Committee of the International Council of Science, and it is charged with initiating, developing and coordinating high quality international scientific research in the Antarctic region, and on the role of the Antarctic region in the Earth system. It also provides objective and independent scientific advice to the Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meetings, and other organizations, on issues of science and conservation affecting the management of Antarctica and the Southern Ocean.

Prof Rapley said “I am thrilled and honoured to have been elected President of SCAR. Following the hugely successful modernisation programme of the last six years, SCAR is widely perceived to have re-established itself as the authoritative source of scientific information and advice on the Antarctic and Southern Ocean, and to have successfully streamlined its organisation and working practices. But there are further improvements to be achieved, not least in encouraging even greater active participation in SCAR–sponsored science by the smaller SCAR nations and the Antarctic science community more generally, and raising yet further the profile of science in the Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meetings. The International Polar Year 2007-2008 provides a fantastic opportunity for achieving this, and it is my aim that SCAR will play a special role in maintaining the IPY ‘legacy’ in the years beyond.

More than that, I plan to seek much closer working linkages with the International Arctic Science Committee (IASC), with the Earth System Science Partnership of World Climate Research Programme (WCRP), International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme (IGBP), DIVERSITAS, and the International Human Dimensions Programme (IHDP), as well as the Scientific Committee on Oceanic Research (SCOR) and the various ICSU Unions with an interest in the Antarctic. Although we practicioners understand it well, the special importance of the polar regions, scientifically and geopolitically, is often not sufficiently appreciated more widely, and this I aim to address.

In addition, the Third SCAR Open Science Conference and XXX SCAR Delegates meetings to be held in St Petersburgh  and Moscow and respectively in 2008, will provide the opportunity to celebrate 50 years of SCAR science and action – a chance to showcase the efforts and outcomes of countless “Antarcticans”, who collectively have cast a unique light on the nature and state of our planet. “