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Antarctic scientists head to Dunedin

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 25/06/2017

More than 150 scientists from New Zealand and around the world are descending on Dunedin this week to share their latest research on Antarctica.

The three-day New Zealand Antarctic Science Conference, which starts at the Otago Museum on Monday, is a "crucial opportunity" to raise awareness of one of the most important issues facing the world, Antarctica New Zealand chief executive Peter Beggs says.

"For so long dismissed as nothing more than a hostile and frozen desert, Antarctica is finally being recognised as the continent which will determine the fate of the world.

"Our scientific work in Antarctica is more important than ever before.

"It is now alarmingly obvious that we are an ice-dependent species, and the contest to retain enough of it to survive on the planet will play out in Antarctica."

New Zealand Antarctic Research Institute director Professor Gary Wilson says talks will range from topics such as the enormous volcanic eruptions likely to have altered the earth's climate thousands of years ago, to drilling through the Ross Ice Shelf for the first time in 40 years to learn more about how it is melting.

Free-to-the-public events at Otago Museum have also been organised throughout the week, including evening talks by Antarctic science veterans and a display of ice-inspired art works.

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