“The future of polar research in Antarctica is in danger due to the funding bill for 2023”

LThe funding bill for 2023 indicates that the subsidy paid by the Ministry of Higher Education and Research (MESR) to the French Polar Institute Paul-Emile Victor (IPEV) for 2023 would be renewed at the same rate as that of 2022, which already it was insufficient. Given the increase in logistics costs, such a budget threatens the existence of polar stations, which are essential for French and international polar research.

Polar research plays an important role for climate sciences, the environment, biodiversity, and the human and social sciences. At the poles, climatic processes are crucial. They bring into play the interactions between the atmosphere, the ocean, the sea ice and the polar ice caps. Paleoclimatic information, the progress of observations, the understanding of polar processes (which are not yet fully integrated into climate models) are essential to reduce uncertainties about projections of future evolution.

Also read: Article reserved for our subscribers “French polar research is at a turning point due to lack of resources”

Recent reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) point out that the Southern Ocean, by capturing around 70% of the heat accumulated in the climate system due to human influence on the climate, plays an important role in the energy balance of the Earth. Land. Therefore, the natural carbon sink of the ocean and its future evolution depend to a large extent on the oceanic circulation of the Southern Ocean; the fate of Antarctic sea ice remains uncertain; the possibility of instability in the flow of the Antarctic ice sheet is the main source of uncertainty about the evolution of sea level rise in the coming decades and centuries.

France at the forefront of the polar world

Recently, France made considerable contributions to the Biogeographical Atlas of the Southern Ocean, revealing the unsuspected importance of polar biodiversity, including more than 9,000 Antarctic species. The genetic potential of polar biodiversity, particularly that of the deep sea, remains poorly understood. The question of the adaptability of these species to a changing environment continues to be raised, whether due to rapid climate change, anthropogenic disturbances or the introduction of invasive and polluting species, within which plastic represents a serious threat.

France’s contribution to polar sciences is of the first order in a large number of disciplines: ecology, ecophysiology, biomedicine, astrophysics, geophysics, meteorology, oceanography, paleoclimatology, glaciology, remote sensing, human and social sciences, etc.

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