29 November, 2011

One hundred years ago, Captain Robert Falcon Scott and his team set off for the South Pole as part of the Terra Nova Expedition. This was a scientific mission to collect data from this little known continent as well as realising an ambition to reach the South Pole.

Scientific data captured during Scott’s expeditions provided the first real knowledge about Antarctic weather, glacier movement as well as discoveries of fossils that would subsequently reveal Antarctica’s geological and climate history. Marine biological research led to new insight into the biodiversity of the Southern Ocean.

This and other ‘Heroic Age’ expeditions laid the foundations for scientific research that continues today. The legacy is profound and, 100 years on, scientists from all over the world strive to understand the important role that the polar regions play in regulating the Earth’s climate system, ocean and atmospheric circulation and understanding past, present and future climate change. Scientists are also looking into the likely impact of ice on future sea level rise and the management of a rich ecosystem that supplies food for the charismatic wildlife that lives there and for a hungry world.

To commemorate the Scott Centenary, British Antarctic Survey is working in partnership with several institutions to deliver world-class scientific projects and to engage the public in the legacy of Captain Scott’s remarkable mission.

Public engagement activities include the:

  • BBC blockbuster series Frozen Planet  – a landmark series about the frozen polar regions;
  • upcoming exhibition at the Natural History Museum in London called ‘Scott’s Last Expedition’;
  • Centenary Exhibition at the Plymouth Art Gallery and Museum; and
  • new Lawrence Oates Gallery at the Oates Museum in Selborne, Hampshire.

Other centenary events taking place nationally can be found on the following website: http://www.scott100.org/

Nations around the world are also marking the centenary year by organising various activities and events.

Read more about the centenary events taking place in Australia and in Norway.

Meanwhile our science and support staff are making the long journey south in pursuit of the answers to the big environmental questions facing society today.