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My project and thousands of others depend on taking samples in Antarctica in the coming weeks to months. However, thanks to the current lack of government funding, research in the Antarctic is being suspended for the season.  With a short season mandated by the Antarctica climate, a delay of only a few weeks can result in the loss of an entire years' worth of work!

Please sign the petition below to ask the Senate for an urgent exception for Antarctic research.  And please share with everyone you know who cares about science!

You can find more background information below the fold.

The nature news blog story give a nice overview of the situation:

The US National Science Foundation (NSF) is recalling staff and scientists from Antarctica due to the ongoing US government shutdown. Nearly all science at the three US bases will grind to a halt.

The agency’s decision, posted today, could spell the end of this year’s Antarctic field season at McMurdo, Amundsen-Scott and Palmer stations, depending on the duration of the shutdown, which began on 1 October and shows no signs of ending.

The NSF said it would work to restore the research season “to the maximum extent possible” once funding is restored. The agency said, however, that some activities could not be restarted once the evacuation was complete and the seasonal windows for research and operations had passed.

Lockheed Martin, the contractor that runs the US bases for the NSF, had already been preparing to put the facilities in ‘caretaker status’. The company received its last funding from the NSF on 30 September, according to internal e-mails obtained by Nature. In its statement, the NSF said Lockheed had enough money on hand to ensure operations through 14 October.

A skeleton crew will remain to properly maintain each of the three bases, as is normally the practice during the Antarctic off-season, from March to September. During a normal year, roughly 700 scientists head south each year to study Antarctica’s ice, ecosystems and atmosphere from October to February.

Scientists are frustrated that long-term studies will be interrupted. “If we lose a year of observations, they are gone forever,” says Hugh Ducklow, a biological oceanographer at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory in Palisades, New York.

The offiical USAP announcement:
The National Science Foundation (NSF) is responsible for managing and coordinating the U.S. Antarctic Program (USAP) on behalf of the nation. This includes providing support personnel and facilities and coordinating transportation and other logistics for scientific research. Due to the lapse in appropriation, funds for this support will be depleted on or about October 14, 2013.

Without additional funding, NSF has directed its Antarctic support contractor to begin planning and implementing caretaker status for research stations, ships and other assets. The agency is required to take this step as a result of the absence of appropriation and the Antideficiency Act.

Under caretaker status, the USAP will be staffed at a minimal level to ensure human safety and preserve government property, including the three primary research stations, ships and associated research facilities. All field and research activities not essential to human safety and preservation of property will be suspended.

Originally posted to Hopefully Skeptical on Wed Oct 09, 2013 at 03:26 PM PDT.

Also republished by Kitchen Table Kibitzing.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (19+ / 0-)

    "The death penalty is never about the criminal. They've already done their worst. The question is always "will we join them"?" - jlynne

    by Hopeful Skeptic on Wed Oct 09, 2013 at 03:26:14 PM PDT

  •  Science projects are the work of the devil (2+ / 0-)

    according to the baggers; therefore, I hold little hope for your exception even though I support all projects of this kind.

    Building a better America with activism, cooperation, ingenuity and snacks.

    by judyms9 on Wed Oct 09, 2013 at 03:38:10 PM PDT

  •  While I understand your plea (16+ / 0-)

    I think that funding the government by piecemeal as you are requesting is exactly what the Republicans want. In fact, the House keeps passing, with Republican majorities, bills to fund individual pieces of what the government does. The idea behind these bills is to eventually fund everything they want and exclude the Affordable Care Act. This is what you ask for. I don't agree with that.

    Sorry. My father spent the majority of his career as the head of the Computer Research Grants Division at NSF, so I am sympathetic to your plea, but given that this is exactly what the Republicans want, I'm not going to give it to them.

    •  I understand your perspective (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wader, Glen The Plumber

      But there is a time-sensitive nature to this research that makes it different (IMHO) than most of the other piece-meal requests.  Ideally the whole government will be re-opened soon... But without that happening, there will be non-recoverable losses in an entire field of research, with knock-on effects to be felt for decades.

      "The death penalty is never about the criminal. They've already done their worst. The question is always "will we join them"?" - jlynne

      by Hopeful Skeptic on Wed Oct 09, 2013 at 03:50:03 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Painful, yes (5+ / 0-)

        But, I think we can't pick and choose - similar to what the Republicans are attempting.  Although, their choices appear entirely selfish and self-serving, while ours are for general benefit, but still . . .

        Actually, I'd like to see agencies which hit all levels of income cut even further than they have, thus far - places such as the FAA seem to be getting more leeway.  Clamp down on air travel and a clean bill would hit Congress within a day or two, I would guess.

        "So, please stay where you are. Don't move and don't panic. Don't take off your shoes! Jobs is on the way."

        by wader on Wed Oct 09, 2013 at 03:58:54 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Signed, even though (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Creosote, VL Baker

        I agree completely with Kitsap River and others who point out that piecemeal appropriations are anathema to the very concept of a government of laws.

        Some day, the Republican filth will be called out, explicitly, publicly, and loudly as the domestic terrorists they are, and they will be driven from office. Sadly, the destruction they are wreaking now will long outlast their presence in Congress.

        So, /signed, with profound sadness and bitterness.

    •  ACA Is Funded, That's Why It Could Roll Out During (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Hopeful Skeptic

      the shutdown.

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Wed Oct 09, 2013 at 04:27:24 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I gotta agree with Kitsap River. (0+ / 0-)

      We cannot negotiate with terrorists. EVER.

      And it makes me cry. I am sorry.

       I am more sorry for those workers who are being pushed to the brink of the losing their futures, and their children's future's, Some of them forced to work for no pay, because of the Republican's temper tantrum. But no. No deals with terrorists.

      Not even for Penguins.

  •  I will sign...but from what I've read... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Hopeful Skeptic, willyr

    the decision has been made...

    As scientists had feared, today (Oct. 8) the National Science Foundation announced it was canceling the U.S. Antarctic research program for this year because of the ongoing government shutdown.

    Scientists and contractors already stationed at the three U.S. science bases on Antarctica will be sent home and a small staff left behind to maintain the structures and equipment, the National Science Foundation (NSF) said.

    The announcement was a devastating blow for the polar science community. The shutdown means the cancellation of millions of dollars of planned research. Graduate students may have to stay in school longer because they won't get the data they need to complete their research. Contractors are losing their jobs. Other countries, including New Zealand, France and Italy, rely on the United States' sea-ice runway at McMurdo Station and may not be able to conduct their own research after the pullout.


    We are not broke, we are being robbed...but we can fight back...#KosKatalogue

    by Glen The Plumber on Wed Oct 09, 2013 at 03:55:23 PM PDT

    •  yes, the evacuations have begun... but (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Glen The Plumber

      there is some hope that the stations will be re-opened if funding is restored.  And the sooner that happens the less science will be lost.

      PS - Thanks for signing!

      "The death penalty is never about the criminal. They've already done their worst. The question is always "will we join them"?" - jlynne

      by Hopeful Skeptic on Wed Oct 09, 2013 at 03:58:49 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I feel your pain, but... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Keith930, IndieGuy, 84thProblem

    Your research is invaluable, but so is the FDA, CDC, and a whole host of other programs, departments, and research.

    I support the Democratic Party decision that the Repugnuts have to agree to a clean CR and should not be allowed to pick and choose which parts of the government they want to fund.

    As important as your research is, funding it should be part and parcel of ending this attempt at usurping the constitution by a small minority in congress.

  • (0+ / 0-)

    Show me a petition to keep Yosemite or The Grand Canyon fully functioning, and I'll sign that.

    Through early morning fog I see visions of the things to be the pains that are withheld for me I realize and I can see...

    by Keith930 on Wed Oct 09, 2013 at 04:52:46 PM PDT

    •  ok then... I guess we all have a different set of (0+ / 0-)

      priorities.  This is only impacting the futures of thousands of scientists, and impacting an entire filed of research for decades to come...  But, thanks for the totally non-supportive comment!  Made my day!

      "The death penalty is never about the criminal. They've already done their worst. The question is always "will we join them"?" - jlynne

      by Hopeful Skeptic on Wed Oct 09, 2013 at 04:57:04 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Sorry, no piecemeal funding (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    IndieGuy, 84thProblem, GwenM

    The project of saying "Let's shut the whole government down -- and then one at a time fund teeny pieces of it that are photogenic or popular or especially outrageous" is not one I am willing to join, even for worthy causes.

    We must hold firm: Reopen the government, pass at least a CR at last year's levels and lift the debt ceiling.

  •  Rec'ed for luck. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    But I can't sign. No piecemeal funding.

  •  Nope. My funding is also frozen, and I'm getting (0+ / 0-)

    furloughed next week.  My project is important to me too, not to mention my ability to pay my bills - but I'm not coming here asking for special treatment that only plays into the terrorist's hands.

    -7.38, -5.38 (that's a surprise)

    Why must we struggle to protect the accomplishments of Democrats of the past from Democrats of the present? -- cal2010

    by 84thProblem on Wed Oct 09, 2013 at 08:28:40 PM PDT

  •  Nothing but clean continuing resolution acceptable (0+ / 0-)

    No matter how worthy, and yes, this is, anything but a clean resolution and the GOP succeeds and wins in their terror tactics.

    I am absolutely opposed to any targeted service which gets its own exemption via legislation, and am sitting on pins and needles every day wondering if finally, this time, Pres. Obama will NOT cave, will stand firm, and let the GOP wallow in the stew they have brewed at last.

    I am getting MULTIPLE emails a day from Democratic committees, and Obama, trying to fund raise off this.

    My response so far, when this is over, and the fat lady has sung the last verse, and the GOP is bloodied, in the ditch, and defeated, and no longer holding the nation hostage on what is now evolving and changing demands, the latest do not even mention Obamacare, THEN, and only then will I resume donations to Democrats.

    Fool me once, blame on you.

    Fool me for the 4,587th time, well, blame on me.

    "You've got to be very careful if you don't know where you are going, because you might not get there." “When you come to the fork in the road, take it.” --Yogi Berra

    by HeartlandLiberal on Thu Oct 10, 2013 at 04:09:52 AM PDT

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