Info

The Science Keystone

Inspiring Perspective 211 Emerging Common Interests 213 ''Peaceful Purposes Only'' 219

cited references 223 recommended resources 227 index 237

Foreword

It is in the interest of all mankind that Antarctica shall continue forever to be used exclusively for peaceful purposes and shall not become the scene or object of international discord.

—Antarctic Treaty (1959)

Science has been the primary rationale for national activities in the Antarctic region since the International Geophysical Year of 1957-1958. The 1959 Antarctic Treaty (which came into force in 1961) ensures the freedom of scientific investigation as an effective mechanism for maintaining international cooperation throughout the region south of 60° south latitude. The emphasis on understanding the Antarctic environment and its place in the global system, as an international precedent for preserving our world for future generations, is an important theme throughout this book.

From the Antarctic Treaty has grown a complex of Agreed Measures, Conventions, Recommendations, Resolutions, and Protocols, which have become a part of what is now known as the Antarctic Treaty System. This international system includes governments interacting with advisory organizations through the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR), Council of Managers of National Antarctic Programs (COMNAP), International Association of Antarctic Tour Operators (IAATO), and Antarctic Southern Oceans Coalition (ASOC), as well as other stakeholders with interests in the Antarctic region. It is significant that during the year of the 40th anniversary of the Antarctic Treaty System this book becomes available.

The combination of historical and scientific perspectives in the context of environmental and resource policies presented by the author is a valuable approach for understanding the interplay between international science and the political framework that makes such science activities possible. The author's long experience and involvement in Antarctic science together with his experience in research activities involving international cooperation and coordination have provided him with a personal understanding of the materials presented here.

The dynamic role of Antarctica in the Earth system and global climate has become recognized during past decades. The Vostok ice core, spanning the past 500,000 years, has provided humankind with the longest continuous record of global atmosphere variability from anywhere on Earth. The author has presented not only an interesting narrative but an innovative use of tables, diagrams, graphs, data, and concepts that will stimulate the reader to ponder Earth system phenomena across time from local to global scales.

In his personal preface the author has shared some of the background and Antarctic experiences that motivated him to write this book. I urge all users to read this section before journeying into the contents. Not only will the reader have a better understanding of the ''why'' of the book, but the explanations surrounding the organization and methods of presentation will stimulate inquiry and be very helpful in thinking about the interdisciplinary context of the world we live in.

Robert H. Rutford President, Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research Excellence in Education Professor and Former President, University of Texas at Dallas preface

The most remote continent—alone at the bottom of the Earth, distant from all civilization—shines as a beacon of international cooperation. Antarctica represents more than a frozen ice cap surrounded by sea ice and giant icebergs with penguins and whales. Antarctica is a land of exploration, not only for intrepid individuals but for everyone venturing into this new millennium with eyes wide open—wondering about global strategies that will nurture our civilization into the distant future.

My sense of Antarctica emerged in 1981 while wintering at McMurdo Station, SCUBA diving under the sea ice throughout the year as a 22-year-old staff research associate with Scripps Institution of Oceanography. For me, this distant perspective of our world was a profound experience. After returning home, driven by passion and a sense of responsibility, I began teaching a capstone course titled Antarctic Marine Ecology and Policy as a visiting professor at the University of California, Los Angeles. I have been teaching the Antarctic course at universities ever since—always with a diverse audience of graduating seniors from science and nonscience majors who are interested in the world we inhabit. Since 1991, more than 900 students from more than 90 majors in 14 colleges have registered for the Antarctic course at The Ohio State University. This book is patterned after the Antarctic Marine Ecology and Policy course.

All of us already are familiar with the natural world because of experiences that began during childhood. Yet, for whatever reason, our innate curiosity about mixing and poking things is not fostered in everyday education. I remember at a meeting, once, the owner of the lodge came up and asked what we were doing. After we elaborated on science education and the many presentations, he inquired, ''So what good will these discussions do for my grandchildren?'' I asked him to consider his childhood as a time when he had no concerns about asking good or bad questions—when he was just curious about how things worked. Slowly, a big smile came to his face, and he told me of the time as a young boy when he wanted to know how his drum worked—so he cut it in half.

It is this sense of wonder about our everyday Earth—seeing, breathing, touching, smelling, and feeling the world around us—that must be invigorated. Most importantly, creating an educational atmosphere where individuals freely ask questions and explore information instills confidence about their ability to learn on their own. This open, free-form pursuit of information and generation of ideas is central to empowering individuals as full participants in our increasingly technological world.

Beyond the marvels in our everyday lives, science provides a philosophical approach to lifelong critical thinking, problem solving, and creativity. Science develops technologies that open opportunities for resource utilization. Science stimulates continuity in our world—across society over generations—by building on an ever-expanding base of knowledge. Science also provides common ground among nations, independent of their political ideologies. In essence, science provides an educational framework for facilitating the sustainable development of communities across the Earth. In this Earth system context, colored from a palette of natural wonders, Antarctica is an ideal template for teaching about the integration of science, economic, and government policies across the planet.

The organization of this book is designed to promote the integration of diverse topics for each reader. Viewed as connecting rings, two topics have a single intersection; three connecting rings have four intersections; four connecting rings have nine intersections—with the complexity of intersections increasing geometrically as rings are added. To reduce the complexity of integrating diverse perspectives on the Earth system, and to foster information synthesis, learning units are embedded that are generally linked by three elements at each level. This ''three-form method'' emerged from a Venn-diagram project, quantified from courseware in the Antarctic Marine Ecology and Policy class, where students integrated two or three interdisciplinary elements more commonly than four or more. Venn diagrams also are used throughout this book.

This book has beginning, middle, and end parts that are further divided into related chapters which feature interacting natural and human elements in the Earth system. Each part of the book begins with a summary containing a single unifying figure that synthesizes the materials in the subsequent chapters. Embedded within each chapter are three sections. Titles for each of the book parts, summaries, chapters, and sections are limited to three words with the overall organization presented simply in outline form through the table of contents.

The natural wonders and beauty of Antarctica are introduced in the prologue to outfit you for your journey ''on the ice''—looking over your shoulder, feeling the cold winds as the approaching storm races across the dark blue ocean with ice flows careening like shuffled pieces of a giant puzzle; watching the sunsets around the sky for weeks without end, with fiery orange and red changing into purple, becoming greenish hues of deep blue; staring at meter-tall emperor penguins with their yellow crescent necks extending toward the ice edge, which is patrolled by pods of killer whales waiting for their next meal. The prologue is intended to furnish images that will stimulate your imagination.

The conceptual framework for understanding the Earth as a system of interacting natural and social science phenomena is presented in Part I: ''Earth System Science.'' Chapter 1, ''Global Dimensions,'' introduces the Earth system arena where myriad natural elements are interacting across time and space. Chapter 2, ''Conceptual Integration,'' identifies teaching and learning methods that have widespread applications for integrating diverse information. Together, the chapters in Part I reflect the interdisciplinary character of our world.

The middle section of the book includes three parts. Part II: ''Progress of All Mankind'' characterizes the general sequence of human activities associated with our expanding civilization. Chapter 3, "Terra Australis Incognita," highlights the stages of exploration to Antarctica where wild speculation about undiscovered resources launched voyages where nations competed for priority in their common quest of claiming sovereignty. On a converging track, the scientific essence of discovering natural phenomena provided common ground among nations, as poignantly revealed in Antarctica by the International Geophysical year of 1957— 1958 (Chapter 4, ''Awakening Science''). Ultimately, tempered by science, national pursuits turned to international cooperation under the accommodating umbrella of the 1959 Antarctic Treaty as the source of peaceful stewardship across nearly 10% of the Earth from 60° south latitude to the South Pole (Chapter 5, ''International Stewardship''). Together, the three chapters in Part II reveal the unfolding history of national perspectives maturing into international policies.

Part III: ''Our Dynamic Planet'' introduces the panoply of events, entities, and phenomena coursing across the Earth over its 4.5-billion-year history. At one extreme is the slow incessant movement of continents floating on convecting cells of molten material deep within the Earth—separating and colliding to form the oceans and mountains of the world over millions of years (Chapter 6, ''Spreading Planet'').

Around 60 million years ago, with the isolation of Antarctica at the bottom of the planet, vast ice sheets began growing and progressively cooling the Earth's climate. The development of ice sheets in the Northern Hemisphere, nearly 3 million years ago, brought the Earth into a new climatic period with distinct glacial and interglacial phases approximately every 100,000 years (Chapter 7, ''Flowing Planet''). These advancing and retreating ice sheets have caused sea level to fall and rise in a climatic seesaw associated with the Earth's fluctuating orbit around the Sun.

During the past 1000 years—within a single revolution of the oceanic conveyor belt—the Earth's temperature has fluctuated from the Medieval Warm Period (10th to 14th centuries) through the Little Ice Age (15th to 19th centuries) into the present warming phase since the industrial revolution. Superimposed on these global changes of the past millennium are Earth system processes with even greater frequencies, such as seasonal temperature shifts or water exchanges among ocean, atmosphere, and land (Chapter 8, ''Breathing Planet'').

During the 19th and 20th centuries, human activities also have affected plant production and temperatures on Earth by enhancing the atmospheric concentration of greenhouse gases (notably carbon dioxide) that insulate and warm the planet. As illustrated by Antarctic marine and terrestrial ecosystems, this variability in the Earth system—which occurs across geological and ecological time scales—ultimately affects the survival, interaction, and evolution of species (Chapter 9, ''Living Planet''). Together, the four interdisciplinary science chapters in Part III telescope over time and space, revealing diverse phenomena for interpreting the relative magnitudes of natural and human impacts in the Earth system.

Part IV: ''Sustainable Resource Use'' focuses on the scientific and policy implications of utilizing resources that contribute to the welfare of humankind. The Antarctic marine ecosystem illustrates the universal pattern of progressively overharvesting the most abundant, accessible, and commercially valuable species, then moving on to the next and the next (Chapter 10, ''Ecosystem Conservation''). As one of the richest regions of biological production in the sea, the Antarctic marine ecosystem also symbolizes the foresight required for conserving living resources—especially keystone species such as the tiny krill that nourish the whales, seals, birds, fish, and squid and other marine invertebrates around Antarctica.

Under the Antarctic Treaty System, mineral resource activities are prohibited for at least the next 50 years—embodying global economic issues and the sensitive accommodations that are required among nations in Antarctica and elsewhere across the Earth system (Chapter 11, ''Environmental Protection''). Together, these chapters in Part IV underscore the challenge of blending basic and applied science strategies to wisely manage environments and ecosystems along with their living and nonliving resources so that they can be used by future generations.

The book concludes with Part V: ''Our Global Commons,'' highlighting the marriage of science and policy in Antarctica as a precedent of continuity for the sustainable development of humankind. Antarctica is an unique example of nations working together, rising above their differing ideologies, to cooperatively manage a vast region of the Earth for ''peaceful purposes only'' (Chapter 12, ''The Science Keystone''). Antarctica also is vibrant model of continuous interdisciplinary exchanges among scientific, economic, and policy stakeholders that have been fostered throughout the second half of the 20th century.

Throughout the book, information is linked by first principles that are intended to stimulate inquiry and rekindle the curiosity of childhood, when we playfully examined elements of the world around us. Thought questions (identified by ) will be introduced in each chapter for contemplation, discussion, and overall synthesis. Additional readings along with relevant government, international, and education Internet sites are recommended at the end of the book to further stimulate questions that lead to answers and ongoing synthesis.

Sharing international and interdisciplinary perspectives from Antarctica is at the heart of this book and its central objective of facilitating farsighted discussions about protecting the Earth for generations to come. As a region extending beyond the jurisdiction and practical management of any nation, Antarctica symbolizes our common heritage on Earth.

antarctic treaty searchable database: 1959-1999 cd-rom

The integration of science into policy requires a comprehensive understanding of legal documents and regulatory strategies, particularly in the context of managing human impacts on the Earth system. To facilitate this integration for scientists, government officials, and community members alike, information management tools are required that facilitate:

(1) searching numerous documents simultaneously;

(2) identifying only the salient sections;

(3) organizing relevant database elements based on user-defined objectives; and

(4) displaying all search results relative to each other in an easily accessible format.

The purpose of the Antarctic Treaty Searchable Database: 1959-1999 CD-ROM (http://webhost.nvi.net/aspire) is to provide such an information management tool for individuals to freely ask questions about any aspect of the international legal system that governs human activities in the region south of 60° south latitude, across nearly 10% of the Earth.

The Antarctic Treaty Searchable Database project began in 1998 because students in the Antarctic Marine Ecology and Policy capstone course at The Ohio State University were unable to effectively utilize the 1000-page Antarctic Treaty Handbook published by the United States Department of State (DOS) for their group decision-making project. Utilizing funds from a grant on Antarctic Science and Policy: Interdisciplinary Research Education (ASPIRE), awarded from the National Science Foundation (Division of Undergraduate Education and Office of Polar Programs), information technology from EvREsearch LTD was used to organize electronic files of the 1994 Antarctic Treaty Handbook that were generously provided by the DOS Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs. This database project, which is being maintained and updated by EvREsearch LTD, also was implemented in collaboration with the Byrd Polar Research Center at The Ohio State University and Native Voices International. The outcome is the first searchable electronic compilation ever produced with the recommendations, measures, decisions, resolutions, annexes, conventions, protocol, and articles that have been adopted by the international community in furtherance of the principles and objectives of the Antarctic Treaty during the first 40 years of the Antarctic Treaty System.

In contrast to standard search engines, which create long lists of ranked results, the Antarctic Treaty Searchable Database: 1959-1999 produces hierarchal displays (referred to as ''Modified Dewey Searches'') that can be expanded and collapsed from a single page by clicking the left mouse key on the '' + '' and ''-'', respectively, to identify relationships among the relevant database elements. Moreover, these database elements represent separate and unique recommendations, measures, resolutions, or decisions from each of the Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meetings as well as individual articles from the different Conventions and annexes. In addition to the ''Search Engine'' for generating the hierarchal displays there is a ''Document Re-Creation Utility'' for assembling the database elements within the highest levels of the hierarchies.

The hierarchal displays for the three ''Index Types'' are:

Research Centric: year > meeting name > database elements Year Centric: year > topic > database elements

Document Centric: topic > database elements

The Research Centric mode represents the most comprehensive compilation among the three database types, with information from the Antarctic Treaty Handbook as well as subsequent measures that have been adopted by the Antarctic Treaty consultative parties through the 23rd Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting in 1999 (scanned from Final Reports provided by the DOS). Additional information is being added to the Research Centric database as it becomes available.

Application of the CD-ROM is discussed in Chapter 2 (''Conceptual Integration'') with an illustration of the expanded Research Centric hierarchy with database elements that contain ''scientific'' (see Fig. 2.4). Additional search criteria are suggested throughout the book by quotes from the Antarctic Treaty System, especially in Chapter 5 (''International Stewardship''), Chapter 10 (''Ecosystem Conservation''), and Chapter 11 (''Environmental Protection''). Other words or phrases for searching the databases can be identified by individual design to learn how the Antarctic Treaty System responds to any issue of interest. Moreover, Boolean logic strategies can be used to construct the search queries. Additional information on the specific operation of the searchable database is provided in the ''Help'' and ''FAQ'' menus.

The enclosed Windows-compatible CD-ROM version of the Antarctic Treaty Searchable Database: 1959-1999 contains a replica of the Web site that:

(a) operates with Microsoft Internet Explorer and Netscape Web browsers that are Java-enabled and installed on the computer, but which do not need to be connected to the internet;

(b) automatically runs, without requiring hard-drive installation of any new computer files; and

(c) functions like any other Web site for printing as well as other features.

The Web site CD-ROM can be displayed in a full-screen (Kiosk) mode or with Windows toolbars. In the Kiosk mode, use the right mouse key for navigating back to previous screens as well as printing and the Alt-F4 button for exiting files.

The Antarctic Treaty Searchable Database: 1959-1999 is central to this book for learning about the integration of science into policy at global to local levels. Currently, this database is being used by:

• government agencies from the member nations of the Antarctic Treaty System through the 24th Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting in St. Petersburg, Russia;

• nongovernmental organizations that include the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research, Antarctic Southern Ocean Coalition, and International Association of Antarctic Tour Operators; and

• academic institutions and organizations that include the Byrd Polar Research Center at The Ohio State University, Centre for Antarctic Studies and Research at the University of Canterbury, American Society of International Law, and Digital Library for Earth System Education.

In the arena of international cooperation, understanding the precedent of the Antarctic Treaty System will reveal insights for wisely and peacefully managing the geometric expansion of our civilization across the Earth.

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My Antarctic journey started in 1981 when Ted DeLaca invited me to participate on his winter-over expedition in McMurdo Sound. I especially thank Ted and my winter-over companions, George Preston Shreve and David Marks, for opening the door. I also thank my field companions who have shared in subsequent expeditions and introduced me to many features of Antarctic biology, geology, geodesy, and glaciology: Steven Alexander, Bret Baker, Joan Bernhard, Isidro Bosch, Samuel Bowser, Michael Castellini, Mariachiara Chiantore, Randall Davis, Kazuomi Hirakawa, Marcus Horning, Olafur Ingolffson, Marco Nigro, Michael Prentice, Francesco Regoli, Rob Robbins, Oreal Solecasta, and William Stockton.

Research and teaching go hand-in-hand. Since 1982, I have been fortunate to have had many excellent students in my Antarctic Marine Ecology and Policy courses, and I especially thank them for helping me learn about Antarctic through their questions and creativity. I also thank the various administrators at the University of California, University of Rhode Island, and Ohio State University who have allowed me to follow my enthusiasm in teaching about Antarctica over the past two decades. Throughout, I thank my teachers, colleagues, and friends for sharing ideas about the world we live in.

I am grateful to the National Science Foundation (NSF), in particular the Office of Polar Programs, for providing many opportunities to work in Antarctica and share ideas with colleagues around the world since 1981. I also thank the NSF Division of Fellowships for providing the freedom to begin exploring interdisciplinary perspectives about the Earth system as a graduate student. Support from the NSF Division of International Programs has been invaluable in learning about Antarctica through the eyes of foreign cultures. I particularly thank the NSF Di vision of Undergraduate Education and Office of Polar Programs for supporting the Antarctic Science and Policy: Interdisciplinary Research Education (ASPIRE) project, which grew into this book.

Access to the Antarctic Treaty documents has been central to understanding how science can be merged into policy. I thank the United States Department of State (Office of Ocean and Environmental Affairs), National Science Foundation (Office of Polar Programs), Marine Mammal Commission, and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (Antarctic Marine Living Resources Program) for providing continuous and easy access to diverse data and information about Antarctica. I especially thank the National Science Foundation and Department of State for providing materials as well as support for developing the Antarctic Treaty Searchable Database: 1959-1999.

Discussions with colleagues have been fundamental in learning about Antarctica, the Earth system, and science in the context of our global society. I thank the National Academy of Sciences for providing the opportunity to interact with the Polar Research Board and view the development of Antarctic science since the early 1980s. In particular, I thank Robert Rutford for providing opportunities to interact with the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research and for crafting the foreword to this book. I also thank the following people for sharing their enthusiasm and insights about Antarctic science and policy at different times during my education: Raymond Arnaudo, James Barnes, Charles Bentley, Scott Borg, Lawson Brigham, David Bromwich, Harlan Cohen, David Elliot, Sayed El-Sayed, Karl Erb, Guy Guthridge, Robert Hofman, Julie Hambrook, Rene Holt, Clive Howard-Williams, Joyce Jatko, James Kennett, Chuck Kennicut, Dana Kester, Lee Kimball, John Knauss, Richard Laws, Herbert Levitan, Berry Lyons, Yasuhiko Naito, Julie Palais, Arvid Pardo, Dennis Peacock, Dean Peterson, Polly Penhale, Patrick Quilty, Carlo Alberto Ricci, Robert Rutford, Alan Ryan, John Sauer, Kenneth Sherman, Brian Shoemaker, Donald Siniff, Tucker Skully, Todd Sowers, Lonnie and Ellen Thompson, Edward Todd, Warwick Vincent, Gunter Weller, Gillian Wratt, Yoshio Yoshida, Mario Zucchelli, and James Zumberge. I especially thank Tim Baughman, David Bromwich, Dan Farslow, James Kennett, John Knauss, and two anonymous reviewers for their thoughtful and constructive comments, which have significantly improved this book.

The Antarctic Treaty Searchable Database has become a most useful tool, and I thank my friend and partner, George James Morgan III, for being the wizard. I also thank Jeannie Jaros for her excellent assistance with the graphics.

Most of all, I thank my family for instilling the strength and vision to venture confidently into the unknown with a passion for discovery. Thank you for your loving kindness and support in helping me follow my dreams.

Prologue:The beauty of Antarctica

The following impressions and insights from Antarctica are taken from my diaries of wintering-over in Antarctica when I was 22 years old—the same age as many of you in various interdisciplinary undergraduate and graduate courses for whom this book was intended. More importantly, these images from Antarctica are presented for those of you pondering the life-shaping experiences that provide passion and direction for contributing to the world we live in.

Envision walking off a cramped silver C-130 Hercules cargo-transport plane— bundled in a bulky red parka with black wind pants and white thermal boots, thick bearpaw mittens, and dark sunglasses—into the blinding brightness reflecting off the sea ice. With the first breath of frozen air pinching your nose, you know you have arrived.

My first impressions and memories on ''the ice'' began in January 1981 at McMurdo Station, which, at the time, was like a Klondike shantytown with ramshackle buildings and canvas tents sprawled across snow-blown permafrost ground. This was a peculiar community, with no children or elderly people—with scientists and mechanics, cooks and carpenters, pilots and plumbers, electricians, and mountaineers numbering well over 1000 during the summer. The only other facility within thousands of kilometers was New Zealand's Scott Base, with several dozen personnel working around the corner of Ross Island beyond Cape Ar-mitage. For a recent college graduate, fresh from the beaches of Southern California, entering this international land for a year was like stepping off the Earth into another world.

Our fieldwork was in Explorers Cove, on the other side of McMurdo Sound at the base of the Dry Valleys, across the sea ice from Ross Island about 70 kilometers as the skua flies to the Victoria Land Coast. Beyond, the Trans-Antarctic

Mountains extend thousands of meters straight into the air with jagged snowbound peaks and a facade seamed with black coal, revealing a giant window into Earth's history.

In the opposite direction, the Ross Ice Shelf stands hundreds of meters over the seawater across thousands of square kilometers—as a bulwark against the immense West Antarctic Ice Sheet. If it ever streamed into the ocean and melted, this ice sheet could raise sea level around the Earth by 5 meters, perhaps within a couple of human generations. Strewn across this windswept white landscape are islands and volcanoes, such as Mt. Erebus with its prehistoric mien and pink plume.

As the summer fades into winter, seasonal change is heralded by an amazing light show that circles the sky for weeks as the sun slowly spirals below the horizon. Not just in a corner of the sky, but for 360 degrees, reds and oranges become pinks, blue-greens, and violets that shade the sky as day turns to night. During the following months of continual darkness, airglow from the aurora australis occasionally appears like giant waving curtains of colored cellophane projecting across the stars.

Tranquility in Antarctica is brief and often punctuated by violent storms appearing out of nowhere. Suddenly, winds can increase 40 knots and temperatures can plunge 30° C—as occurred while I was walking from the aquarium to the Eklund Biological Center at McMurdo Station (less than a half-kilometer distance), when the wind chill factor plummeted 70°C within 5 minutes! During such experiences, there is no protection outside and the icy cold penetrates through clothing like knives.

We were as far from civilization as possible, in an outpost at the bottom of the Earth. Even so, we still were part of the global community, as we were poignantly reminded on 30 March 1981.

The news we received was that President Ronald Reagan had been shot. With information transmitted by shortwave radio, generally filtered and available days later, we could only speculate. I was furious, particularly as childhood memories of President Kennedy came flooding back. In the galley, people were joking about the attempted assassination—which made me even angrier. The next moment, in a blurred rage stomping over volcanic rocks, I was on the top of Observation Hill—overlooking our haven nearly three hundred meters below—huddling near the memorial cross for Robert Falcon Scott and his four companions who lost their lives returning from the South Pole in 1912. I just sat there, looking across Mc-Murdo Sound and the Ross Ice Shelf with the cold wind blowing in my face, fuming for hours until—like a blanket of calm—words came into my head and I understood that one cannot escape the injustices of mankind.

As a bridge to home, I read for hours every day: rich imagery and parables from Chaucer, Dante, Dickens, Dumas, Goethe, Ovid, Shakespeare, Tolkien, and Twain; research through biology, chemistry, oceanography, and natural history; and the incredible stories of Antarctic exploration. Cloistered by howling winds, the setting made it easy to imagine joining Ernest Shackleton on his race for sur vival, traveling with his crew in longboats across ice flows and violent seas after abandoning Endurance. It was particularly easy to imagine sledging across Ross Island with Apsley Cherry-Garrard to collect emperor penguin eggs in midwinter at the beginning of the 20th century, as chronicled in The Worst Journey in the World.

Antarctica still is a land where survival is a constant consideration, where expeditions just to visit the field are planned over years. Distances that we would normally drive in a couple of hours require helicopters, fixed-wing aircraft, Sprytes, Ski-Doos, cargo planes, and even icebreakers. Field camps require assembly with materials that all come from other continents: prefabricated James-ways and Scott tents; wooden rock boxes filled with frozen and dehydrated food; generators and solar panels; specially formulated fuels for working in extreme cold; two-way radios and antennas; a couple of stuffed duffel bags with polar clothing and a few personal items; cooking and sleeping gear along with various scientific equipment. We also have sophisticated scientific tools in the field, such as computers and global positioning systems that communicate with satellites for measuring locations on the Earth's surface within centimeters—even in Antarctica. The most important elements of a successful expedition, however, are the members, whose complementary skills and strengths contribute to the welfare of the team.

On one of the expeditions, during a helicopter trip across McMurdo Sound along the retreating sea-ice edge (which the Antarctic marine ecosystem follows en masse seasonally southward), we spotted several dozen emperor penguins standing at attention with a pod of killer whales patrolling the water beyond. After turning off the rotors and leaving the helicopter, we began taking pictures of this summer scene. As we knelt on the ice, one of these meter-tall flightless birds began walking toward me like Charlie Chaplin with its orange-yellow neck bobbing as it honked. It had eyes like mine, although its beaked nose, reptilian feet, and paddle-like arms were much different. As we stared eye-to-eye at each other, not more than a meter apart, I realized that this animal was talking to me as though an ambassador trying to communicate with an alien about peace in its land.

Except for the birds and mammals or the mosses and lichens, which are conspicuous in some regions, most of the life around Antarctica is obscured in sheltered habitats. Below the sea ice, diverse plants and animals—from coralline algae and single-celled animals to century-old scallops, meter-tall glass sponges, and supercooled fish—color the sea floor. In the terrestrial oases there are perennially ice-covered lakes with primordial algae and microscopic organisms living in the water underneath. There even are minute green plants trapping water in sandstone rocks with sunlight refracting through the quartz grains. In this polar desert, which is dry enough to mummify organisms, life exists in an environmental extreme. The beauty of Antarctica is at once intense and serene, with images that fire the imagination about all life on Earth and beyond.

About the cd-rom

The CD-ROM contains the Antarctic Treaty Searchable Database: 1959-1999, a replica of the web site (http://webhost.nvi.net/aspire). No further installation is required. Specific information on database operation is located in the ''Help'' and ''FAQ'' menus and detailed in the Preface to this volume.

The CD-ROM is compatible with most Windows-based PC systems (tested on Windows 95, 98, 2000, NT 4.0) using Java-enabled MS Internet Explorer or Netscape Web browser software, versions 5.x. It does not support Macintosh systems. Macintosh users unable to access the CD-ROM are advised to use the Antarctic Database online at http://webhost.nvi.net/aspire.

For technical support, contact the Harcourt Technical Support Center at the numbers indicated below. Service is available in English only between the hours of 7 AM and 6 PM US Central Time (15:00 to 02:00 GMT), Mondays through Fridays.

Toll free in the US and Canada (877) 809-6433

Direct dial (817) 820-3710

Toll free fax in the US only (800) 354-1774

Direct fax (817) 820-5100

E-mail: [email protected]

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