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Media Release
Senator the Hon Robert Hill
Leader of the Government in the Senate
Minister for the Environment and Heritage

6 August 2000

CLIMATE CHANGE A MAJOR FOCUS OF ANTARCTIC RESEARCH GRANTS


Air, ice and rock studies seeking information about long-term changes to the Earth's climate dominate grants for Australian research in the Antarctic in 2000-2001, announced today by the Minister for the Environment, Senator Robert Hill.

Senator Hill announced grants totalling $600,000 for 57 antarctic research projects involving universities and government research agencies throughout Australia.

A secondary focus of the coming year's research program is the geological and biological processes of one of Australia's subantarctic World Heritage sites, Heard Island.

"Our concentration on long-term environmental change reflects an increasing concern about the well-being of our planet's life-support systems," Senator Hill said.

"Australia's research in Antarctica provides vital baseline information on the Earth's climate, covering a very large slice of the globe and going back thousands, even millions, of years," he said.

The wide array of atmospheric, glaciological, biological and geological climate studies include:



Heard Island studies will focus on the island's volcanic structures and what they reveal about formation of continents, on its unique indigenous animal and plant communities, and the cultural heritage remaining from the days of whaling and sealing.

Antarctica is the best location on the Earth's surface for observing the faint light of distant stars and galaxies. Australian astronomers will seek to determine the best site for an observatory with the use of an autonomous mobile observatory deployed at various sites around the polar plateau over some years.

6 August 2000

Further information:
Peter Boyer, Information Services Manager, Australian Antarctic Division, (03) 6232 3515
Prof. Michael Stoddart, ANARE Chief Scientist, Australian Antarctic Division, (03) 6232 3205
Matt Brown, Senator Hill's Office, Parliament House Canberra, (02) 6277 7640 or 0419 693 515.

Commonwealth of Australia