Adapting to change – UK policy towards the ArcticArctic tourism

Polar Science

Arctic scientist at work

Although they are at opposite ends of the earth research in the two Polar Regions rely on each other, and very often it is the same scientists who work in both regions.

The two examples below show how this works.

UK Antarctic science in the Arctic

British Antarctic Survey (BAS) gives the UK a very substantial national capability in Antarctic science. The close linking of its science programmes with essential logistics support makes it very effective in carrying out the complicated and sophisticated scientific field programmes that are necessary today. Additionally, the UK’s wider Antarctic science community is substantial. This means the UK is well placed to transfer knowledge and expertise across both Polar Regions.

A recent example of this is the European-funded, UK-led ice2sea project that has provided the 5th Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Report with improved understanding and estimates of ice sheet melting, including Greenland and the West Antarctic Ice Shelf, and its significance for better sea-level rise predictions.

UK science in action – underpinning responsible commerce in the Arctic

Both the Arctic and Antarctic are experiencing increased levels of shipping resulting in more vessels transiting through hazardous ice-infested waters. Sea-ice is a significant hazard to shipping and up to date knowledge of conditions reduces the risk of accidents.
Timely information also reduces costs for ships operating in sea-ice by allowing more efficient routing decisions and reducing the impact of hull damage from sea-ice.

BAS plays a leading role in the Polar View consortium, delivering near-real-time information about sea-ice direct to ships in the Arctic and Antarctic. Together with partnering organisations, including the Arctic national ice services, Polar View has used operational understanding of sea ice and expertise in remote sensing methods to produce new information services.

Polar View is now the world’s leading network for delivering satellite-based services to users concerned with monitoring ice and snow. With a proven track record in providing relevant, operational and reliable monitoring solutions, the members of Polar View serve a global client base comprising both government organisations and growth industries.


Look at the section on Polar Science in Discovering Antarctica and rank the different types of science.

Polar science is hugely important to help us to understand how the Earth works. In pairs, work out which areas of research you think are the most important. Read and understand the impacts before deciding in which order to rank them. Print your decisions and compare your group’s ideas with others.


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