Why Antarctica matters

Antarctica and the Southern Ocean are the engine room of the globe’s weather and climate.

As Australians experience our rapidly changing planet, the need to better understand how Antarctica and the Southern Ocean influence the global climate system, and how it will respond to future changes, is critical.

Antarctica is the driest, coldest and windiest continent on Earth. It holds close to 60 metres of potential sea level rise and the surrounding Southern Ocean is responsible for around 40 per cent of the total global ocean uptake of CO2 emissions.

What happens to the icy continent and the Southern Ocean will have profound impacts on Australia and the rest of the world.

Australia has a long and proud history of Antarctic exploration and scientific research and Australian scientists have been important contributors on the global stage.

Future Science Opportunities

The Australian Government is committed to the delivery of a modern Antarctic program that enables us to continue to lead a world-class Antarctic science program and maintain our position as a leading Antarctic nation into the future.

The proposed Davis Aerodrome would deliver an aviation capability that would regularly and efficiently deliver scientists and research equipment to Antarctica. It would offer unprecedented opportunities to monitor and understand changes, and improve the accuracy of forecast models, sea level rise predictions and climate change impacts.

Access to the continent across all seasons would allow scientists to directly investigate processes through the full cycle of changes including during the cold and dark winter months. It would also provide the opportunity for study of wildlife, such as krill, penguins, seals and seabirds, through their full annual lifecycle.


As the project progresses, the Australian Antarctic Division will continue to engage with scientists in Australia and internationally on the future science opportunities enabled by regular, fast and flexible access to the continent.