(The Scientist, Vol:5, #8, pg. 11 and 13, April 15, 1991) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.)


Nobody disputes the importance of Antarctic research to understanding the earth's global cycles and systems. But increasing public concern about strengthening Antarctica's environmental protection has raised fear among scientists that overregulation will impede their investigations. They point out that any adverse impacts from scientific research carried out in Antarctica are at worst quite localized and that much of the public mistakenly assumes that such research causes global environmental damage. An example is the ozone hole, which many people believe results from activities in Antarctica even though it actually stems from those occurring outside the region.

Still, Antarctic research--and, particularly, associated transport and supply operations--is not impact-free. The near-pristine nature of Antarctica is one of the things that makes it such a valuable research laboratory. In a land where traces of natural and human events...

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