The SCAR Open Science Conference and SCALOP, Hobart 2006

The SCAR XXIX / COMNAP XVIII meetings 2006 in Hobart (Tasmania) were a unique opportunity for Antarctic scientists and logisticians to meet their peers, and one of the greatest forum to explore the most up-to-date Antarctic research and technology issues. The International Polar Foundation was represented by Johan Berte (Project Manager for the Antarctic Base Project) and by Nighat F.D. Johnson-Amin (International Affairs Director).

Also at the Symposium were Hugo Decleir from the Belgian Committee on Antarctic Research and the famous Belgian biologist, Claude de Broyer, who is leading the SCAR project SCAR-Marbin, on the Census of Antarctic Marine Life.

The delegates were treated to an ice-breaker event at the Tasmanian Polar Museum and the IPF was particularly interested to see how well the exhibitions had been put together, in light of the future construction of the Polaris Climate Change Observatory in Brussels.

The Open Science Conference, opened by Prof. Jorn Thiede, President of SCAR, and Director of the Alfred Wegener Institute, was very well attended, with over 800 delegates registered for the various sessions. Despite the large numbers, the conference organisation went without a hitch, and was much appreciated by all who attended.

The IPF participated at the IPY Meeting on the 8th of July, and presented the Sixth Continent Initiative Project, which is nearing completion with regard to the commitments required for full implementation.

The IPF also participated at the SCALOP (Standing Committee of Antarctic Logistics and Operations) Symposium where a number of national operators explained plans for the construction of new stations (Halley, Neumayer), as well as operations, security and logisitics management at the Antarctic research stations. A presentation was made by Kenji Ishizawa, of the National Institute of Polar Research (NIPR) on pre-field work training given to scientists going to the Antarctic, while John Hall of the British Antarctic Survey gave a talk on disaster preparedness and response. The first years operation report from the Franco-Italian station, Concordia was also presented.

One of the key meeting for the IPF delegates was the DROMLAN meeting which concentrated on logitic for the coming season in East Antarctica. Bernard Gaum from ALCI presented the latest planning of flight schedules and organisation of baggage.

This meeting was followed by a meeting of the DROMSHIP group, which has plans to charter an ice breaker for the transport to the East Antarctic during the 2006-2007, and 2007-2008 seasons.

Also moored in Hobart for the duration of the conference, as sleeping accomodation for young scientists, was the ice breaker, the Aurora Australis, which is chartered yearly from P&O by the Australian Antarctic Division. The youthful Captain of the ship, "Scotty", very kindly organised tours of the ship for interested parties, and the IPF and numerous others availed themselves of this invitation.