Help support Antarctic science and exploration
We are a public funded expedition and in need your help to support Antarctic science.
2013-2014 marks the centenary of the Australasian Antarctic Expedition led by the great scientist and explorer Sir Douglas Mawson. The amazing tales of adventure, science and tragedy associated with Mawson’s endeavor rank alongside those of Scott, Shackleton and Amundsen and yet this was the most ambitious of them all: three bases, thirty-one land based members, seven major sledging journeys and a full oceanographic program across the Southern Ocean and Antarctica. Mawson’s expedition of 1911-1914 gave the world its first complete scientific snapshot of a new continent. His team explored a vast stretch of eastern Antarctica; discovered new bays, mountains and glaciers; and linked up areas that were previously thought to be in isolation. The resulting 89 scientific reports described Antarctica’s violent and extreme weather, its flourishing plant and animal life, the ocean’s fickleness.
In a celebration of this remarkable endeavour, the new Australasian Antarctic Expedition (or AAE for short) is following the route of its namesake. The three years’s worth of observations gleaned by Mawson and his men provide a unique dataset against which we can compare changes seen today. Drawing on the original datasets of the AAE, we are looking to meld science and adventure, to discover and communicate the changes that have taken place in this remote environment over the last hundred years. Led by Professor Chris Turney and Dr Chris Fogwill, from the University of New South Wales, Sydney, the 2013-2014 expedition is now working its way across the Southern Ocean. By mid-December, we will be attempting to cross the 60 kilometres of sea ice in Commonwealth Bay to reach Mawson’s Antarctic base at Cape Denison, the windiest place on Earth in the ‘Home of the Blizzard’.
We are going south to:
- gain new insights into the circulation of the Southern Ocean and its impact on the global carbon cycle;
- explore changes in ocean circulation caused by the growth of extensive fast ice and its impact on life in Commonwealth Bay;
- use the subantarctic islands as thermometers of climatic change by using peats, lakes, trees and remains of the last ice age to explore the past;
- investigate the impact of changing climate on the ecology of the subantarctic islands;
- discover the environmental influence on seabird populations across the Southern Ocean and in Commonwealth Bay;
- understand changes in seal populations and their feeding patterns in the Southern Ocean and Commonwealth Bay;
- produce the first underwater surveys of life in the subantarctic islands and Commonwealth Bay;
- determine the extent to which humans have had an impact on this remote region of Antarctica; and
- provide baseline data to improve the next generation of climate models and predictions for the future.
We are using the approach pioneered by the great explorers of a century ago to support Antarctic science. Just as Mawson appealed to the public for funds to help support the analysis and publication of his results, we need your assistance. The aim of this Indiegogo campaign is to raise enough money to fund the scientific analysis of our samples and data so we can report what is happening in the south today!
What We Need & What You Get
Although we can cover the costs of supporting the expedition in the field, we are generating far more samples and data on the first leg of the voyage than we originally anticipated and need funds to support their full analysis. To keep the results of the expedition as relevant as possible, we want to get the majority of our key findings out into the public domain within 12 months of returning home on the 4 January 2014. In the first two days alone, we have already collected far more tree and peat sequences than we dared hope for, offering detailed insights into past environmental changes, potentially spanning thousands of years...and the full oceanographic and biological program has barely started! Our new samples require detailed analysis, dating and analysis on our return. We urgently need support for laboratory work and publication of the results in open access journals so everyone can have access to our findings. Our costings suggest we will need an extra $49,000 to make this happen. We really hope that you can help us reach our target, but if we undershoot at least we will be able to get more analyses undertaken than currently possible.
The concept of crowd funding with Indiegogo harks back to Mawson‘s original Antarctic expedition one hundred years ago, where many expedition items — including huskies, tents and sleeping bags — were funded by public donations from across the world! To attract potential supporters we are able to offer a number of unique gifts and perks, ranging from limited edition t-shirts, exclusive photographic prints and signed books.
The Australasian Antarctic Expedition 2013-2014 is all about adventure, exploration, scientific discovery, and communication. We are exploring one of the most remote regions on our planet. In spite of over a century of discovery – including aerial and satellite surveys – remarkably little has been explored. Crucially this pristine southern polar region is uniquely placed to monitor the health of our planet. The AAE has a team of scientists who are world experts in the natural and physical sciences while also being passionate about science communication. To help with this, the AAE is using the latest satellite technology to support a full range of social media, including Google+ Hangouts on Air, Twitter and YouTube, to report our first findings directly to you live from Antarctica and the Southern Ocean. We want our findings to reach the public and policy makers as soon as possible.
By supporting our campaign you will be helping us support scientific observation in Antarctica’s Commonwealth Bay, the Southern Ocean and subantarctic islands to provide the first complete snapshot of this region for a century.
Other Ways You Can Help
Whilst not everyone can contribute directly to this campaign, we would love you to join us on the AAE. For more information of how to join the expedition virtually please go to www.spiritofmawson.com and watch out for the Hangouts on Air we are hosting during our voyage. Please spread the word with your friends, either through our web page, or with the Indiegogo share tools!!!