Science and Implementation Plan

Report from the ITASE Workshop
Cambridge, United Kingdom

2-3 August, 1996
Compiled by
Paul A. Mayewski 1 and Ian D. Goodwin 2

1 Climate Change Institute, University of Maine, Orono, ME 04469-5790 USA

2 Faculty of Science & Mathematics University Drive, Callaghan, the University of Newcastle, NSW 2308 AUSTRALIA

PAGES Workshop Report, Series 97 - 1

From its original formulation in 1990 the International Trans Antarctic Scientific Expedition (ITASE) has had as its primary aim the collection and interpretation of a continental-wide array of environmental parameters assembled through the coordinated efforts of scientists from several nations.

Because of the remoteness of the continent, Antarctica is an ideal location to monitor biogeochemical cycles and local-to-global scale climate change. However, this remoteness has also prevented the collection of instrumental records, similar to those collected in the northern hemisphere, that are required to assess Antarctica's role in and response to environmental and climate change. As a consequence ITASE has been focused to address two key scientific objectives:

To determine the spatial variability of Antarctic climate (eg. accumulation, air temperature, atmospheric circulation) over the last 200 years, and where the data are available the last 1000 years.
These variations include: major atmospheric phenomena such as ENSO; snow accumulation variations; and extreme events such as volcanic eruptions and storms.

In fulfilling these objectives ITASE will: produce continental scale "environmental maps"; elucidate transfer functions between components of the atmosphere and snow/ice; verify atmospheric models; and interpolate spatial time-series determined from satellite remote sensing. ITASE was adopted as a key science initiative by both the International Geosphere-Biosphere Program (IGBP) and the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR). In August 1996 a SCAR/GLOCHANT- IGBP/PAGES sponsored workshop was held to develop the Science and Implementation Plan for ITASE. Whilst the ITASE programme will focus on obtaining a spatially contiguous Antarctic palaeoclimatic and palaeoenvironmental data set for the last 200 years, longer records spanning the last 500-1000 years will also be retrieved on an opportunity basis. The combined palaeodata set will fill a significant void in our knowledge of Antarctic climate variability.

The ITASE project is managed and coordinated by Dr. Paul A. Mayewski, University of Maine Climate Change Institute, Orono, Maine, USA. (email: