Ice portal links science to policy

SARAH-JANE O'CONNOR
Last updated 05:00 12/05/2014

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Kiwi scientists have launched a new initiative aimed at bridging the gap between Antarctic science and policy.

Antarctica New Zealand and Landcare Research collaborated on the project, which was unveiled last week at the Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting in Brazil.

The Antarctic Environments Portal uses peer-reviewed science on environmental issues, including the introduction of non-native species, protected areas and climate change.

Antarctica NZ chief executive Peter Beggs said New Zealand had "long been recognised as a strong advocate for Antarctica".

With more people visiting Antarctica for scientific research and tourism, and climate change warming the southern continent, the Kiwis sought to make scientific information readily available for policy-makers.

The team has been working on the project for three years, and it will officially go live next year. The final version will include an interactive mapping component where users will be able to explore the icy continent and view information in all four of the official languages of the Antarctic Treaty System: English, French, Russian and Spanish.

The full version of the portal will be launched next year at the Antarctic Treaty meeting in Bulgaria, but there is a preview site at www.environments.aq.

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- The Press

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