Prince of Monaco reports back on Antarctic research

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His Serene Highness Prince Albert II of Monaco featured his film, Antarctica 2009: A Continent in a State of Alert on Tuesday in 10-250. He spoke about his recent expedition to the South Pole, which was intended to draw attention to the effects of global warming on the continent.
Aditi Verma—The Tech

Antarctica is in hot water, the Prince said.

This past Wednesday in 10-250, Prince Albert II of Monaco discussed his 17 day trip to Antarctica in an effort to raise awareness about global warming and Antarctic research.

In an effort to better understand the nuances and issues concerning global warming, he visited 26 scientific outposts that are studying climate change.

In his opening remarks, Albert emphasized the importance of research in Antarctica.

“It’s an important place on our planet … as we try to understand and approach the challenge that surrounds climate change. It is a beautifully dramatic place, with a lot more than just the wildlife that you see on some documentaries,” he said.

Prince Albert said that there is a need for new technology and sustainable energy sources in the Antarctic research outposts. Ironically, though they are conducting research to promote sustainability, they themselves lack sustainable resources for long-term development.

The long-term goal is to make more research stations to be like The Princess Elizabeth Antarctic research station, which is the first of its kind to have zero emissions.

Prince Albert said that Monaco will be playing a role in making more sustainable research stations by increasing access to new technology.

The film documenting his experiences in Antarctica painted a bleak picture of the state of the atmosphere. The most recent measure of the hole in the ozone layer was measured to be 27 km in diameter.

Climate change is also drastically changing Antarctica’s ecosystems. For example, the number of penguins in Antarctica decreased by almost 70 percent in 2008. The film predicted that penguin species will become endangered within the next 15 years.

Experiments and ice drilling at the Chinese Kunlun Station, located on one of the coldest place on Earth called Dome A, are helping researchers understand what the Earth’s climate was like over a million years ago.

The question-and-answer session consisted of several MIT panelists including Professor Thomas A. Herring of the Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences, Ernest J. Moniz, professor and director of the MIT Energy Initiative, and Ronald G. Prinn, director of the MIT Center for Global Change Science.

The panel discussion covered a variety of topics including the need for international collaboration and the alarming scientific research that points towards a need for more energy-efficient and sustainable technology. The Antarctic Treaty establishes Antarctica as a neutral continent where countries from all over the world can conduct research. The panelists said that the political neutrality of Antarctica opens up new opportunities for research on climate change.