The Australian government has reconsidered its previous decision to suspend assessments of severely falling penguin populations in Antarctica and will send additional scientists to the region this coming summer.
The decision was made after media in Australia disclosed that the Australian Antarctic Division planned to terminate, delay, or restrict dozens of science programs, according to a planning document that was stolen from the division.
The list of limited research projects, which included studies of record low sea ice, prompted an investigation by the Senate into the implications of the division’s requirement that it locate $25 million in savings in one year.
Monitoring and population surveys of penguin and flying seabirds near Mawson station is an additional project that has now been supported for travel this summer, according to a statement released by a spokesman for the division.
This paves the way for researchers to investigate the precipitous drop in the number of Adelie penguin found off the coast of the east Antarctica. Long-term monitoring has shown that the number of penguin bird species that breed across 52 islands in the vicinity of the Mawson research station has decreased by 43 percent in past decade.
According to the findings of scientists, the precipitous drop can be attributed to shift in the natural circumstances, especially the quick ice that is stuck to the coast of the islands.
According to the spokesman, additional climate science research initiatives will be restarted, and it has been decided that four additional scientists will be allowed to cruise south aboard the icebreaking research vessel RSV Nuyina.
A initiative to help conserve the Antarctic krill population, which contributes to the reduction of carbon emissions and provides food for the entire ecosystem, was not initially supported owing to budget limitations, according to the paper that was uncovered internally.
The Cleaner Antarctic program at Mawson station, which repairs the harm caused by human activities such as diesel spills, is an example of one of the projects that has not yet received funding. The memo said that “due to budget constraints” this cannot be provided.
Scientists from Australia and Canada made the discovery one month ago that the amount of pollution that has been measured at Australia’s largest research station, Casey, has consistently surpassed international norms for the better part of twenty years.
An “airborne” survey of sea ice thickness and “observations of Antarctic land-fast sea ice” are two types of research that Davis station is unable to support “due to budget restraints” at this time. The “East Antarctic Margin Ice Zone Study” does not receive funding from Davis, but it is allowed to proceed from Casey.
In the beginning of October, the Senate will be conducting an investigation to investigate the impact that the division’s budgetary demands have had. Sessions conducted in strict confidence will be made available to scientists and public servants who are reluctant to voice their criticisms of the separation in public.
The Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment, and Water stated in their response to the inquiry that the budget pressure was mostly caused by “the known lapsing budget measure to support the commissioning of the RSV Nuyina.” The submission gives the impression that the division committed to undertakings that were beyond its financial means.
Since the list of affected projects was made public, a significant number of researchers have voiced their worries. The University of Melbourne’s Professor Alexander Babanin and Dr. Joey Voermans testified before the panel that there was a “urgent” need to study the impact of the climate issue in the region.
“It is our opinion that reductions in funding for research will have a negative impact on Australia’s leading expertise in Antarctic and Southern Ocean sciences and will lead to gaps in essential observational datasets that will serve as baselines for climate studies over the next few decades. These consequences will also have a negative impact on the economy of Australia. In their response, the academics stated that these disparities cannot be closed.
According to Dr. Stuart Corney, a senior lecturer at Institute for Marine & Antarctic Studies, reducing funding for research into the Southern Ocean would “diminish our international reputation for excellence in science.” This testimony was given during the inquiry.
It is the same as extracting the canary from the coal mine just as it begins to suffocate owing to a lack of oxygen in the air that it breathes.