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NSF, US Antarctic Program partners, working to restore Antarctic research season to the maximum extent possible
Date:10/29/2013

The process of recovery from the shutdown is ongoing and schedules still evolving, but as of Oct. 24, 2013, some 49 of the 77 scheduled projects in the McMurdo area will deploy this season, with some of those 49 deploying with reductions or modifications in scope, but in a way that allow them to meet the principal science goals for the season. Projects may include one or more investigators supported by separate grants.

Also as of Oct. 24, a total of 13 planned deployments in the McMurdo vicinity have been deferred for various reasons. A further 15 projects remain to be evaluated.

Although the program weathered a long federal government shutdown in the 1990's, the circumstances were different than this year's, because that shutdown occurred later in the fiscal year.

The unusual circumstances, unique in the Antarctic Program's more than 50-year history, have caused the cancellation of some large-scale research for the season, including most of the support for NASA's Long-Duration Balloon facility; a camp on Mt. Erebus, atop the world's southernmost active volcano; a field camp for the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) Divide project; and an over-ice traverse to support portions of the Whillians Ice Stream Subglacial Access Research Drilling (WISSARD) Project.

Principal investigators on deferred projects have been alerted to their status.

NSF's decisions about which projects it is able to support were based upon a range of factors, including:

  • a need to insure the continuity of long-term data sets
  • time-criticality of observations or studies,
  • potential effects on young or early-career investigators, and
  • international or interagency partnerships.

NSF maintains three year-round stations in Antarctica: McMurdo, Amundsen-Scott South Pole and Palmer. The effects of the shutdown were felt most among projects based from McMurdo Station, on Ross Island.

Although some effects will
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Contact: Peter West
pwest@nsf.gov
703-292-7530
National Science Foundation
Source:Eurekalert  

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NSF, US Antarctic Program partners, working to restore Antarctic research season to the maximum extent possible
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