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Antarctic Treaty Linkages: Seismic Data, Music, and Paleoclimates

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Left Bank/Rive Gauche trio
Above: The Left Bank/Rive Gauche trio (left to right) Julianne Stafford, Alan Cooper, and Larry Schemel play historical music of Antarctica in the Space Race Gallery of the National Air and Space Museum for the Golden Anniversary Gala held during the Antarctic Treaty Summit. As the program proceeded, historical photographs, song lyrics, journal excerpts, and explanatory text were displayed on the screens behind the trio. [larger version]

The Left Bank/Rive Gauche trio play historical music of Antarctica in the Space Race Gallery
Above: The Left Bank/Rive Gauche trio play historical music of Antarctica in the Space Race Gallery of the National Air and Space Museum. [larger version]

U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) emeritus scientist Alan Cooper was invited to Washington, D.C., in early December 2009 to participate in the Antarctic Treaty Summit, marking the 50th anniversary of the hugely successful Antarctic Treaty. Cooper initiated and has led the Antarctic Seismic Data Library System for Cooperative Research (SDLS) during the past 18 years. The SDLS provides open access worldwide to Antarctic multichannel seismic-reflection data collected by many countries to study the structure of the Earth's crust in the Antarctic region. It is the only geoscience organization directly linked to the Antarctic Treaty System (through the Treaty Consultative Party Recommendation XVI-12). The SDLS and its current host program, Antarctic Climate Evolution (ACE), are the centerpieces for the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research's stratigraphic and paleoclimate studies of the Antarctic continental margin. The two current related ACE/SDLS studies are the Circum-Antarctic Stratigraphy Project (CASP) and the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP) Drilling Leg 318 off Wilkes Land, Antarctica (January/February 2010).

The Treaty Summit brought together principally diplomats and selected scientists from the 43 signatory countries of the Antarctic Treaty to discuss the history, achievements, and future plans for the dynamic Treaty system, which is dedicated to preserving Antarctica as a continent for peace and science. The importance of the Treaty Summit was emphasized in the keynote addresses by Prince Albert II of Monaco and John Holdren (Assistant to the President for Science and Technology) and by a U.S. House of Representatives Resolution honoring the 50 years of Antarctic Treaty successes.

Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations, in his video message to delegates at the Summit, stressed the importance of the Antarctic Treaty as a unique example of international cooperation. He called climate change the greatest threat to Antarctica and urged delegates to "do your part to ensure that this month's conference in Copenhagen [U.N. Climate Change Conference, Dec. 7-18] lays the foundation for a legally binding climate treaty." His comments and the meeting discussions clearly illustrated that the difficulties faced in 1959 during the Cold War in creating and implementing the dynamic Antarctic Treaty were similar to the difficulties now faced during the "warming crisis" by those seeking a climate-change treaty.

Cooper attended the Summit to present a poster titled "Harmonies of Ice and Past Climate Change: Antarctic Paleoclimate, SCAR and Treaty Successes," which outlined the successes of the SDLS and ACE program in studying the paleoclimate history of Antarctica in support of the Treaty. An emeritus scientist with the USGS Western Coastal and Marine Geology Team, Cooper is also a musician, and in that capacity he was invited to prepare and perform a set of historical music of Antarctica for the Golden Anniversary Gala at the Treaty Summit. The 70-minute program of music selections, accompanied by photographs and text, spanned the time from the explorations of Captain Cook to the signing of the Treaty and outlined the many ways that music has served as an interface between explorers, scientists, and administrators of Antarctica—and has been a subtle but important part of Antarctic history. Cooper is violinist with the Left Bank/Rive Gauche trio, in which all members are experienced Earth scientists as well as musicians. The other trio members are Larry Schemel (USGS emeritus scientist in the Water Resources Discipline) and Julianne Stafford (USGS Volunteer for Science with the Western Coastal and Marine Geology Team). The trio performed the historical music in the Space Race Gallery of the National Air and Space Museum in downtown Washington, D.C.

Related Sound Waves Stories
New USGS Study Documents Rapid Disappearance of Antarctica's Ice Shelves
May 2009

Related Web Sites
Antarctic Treaty
international treaty
Concurrent Resolution 51 (Recognizing the 50th Anniversary of the Signing of the Antarctic Treaty)
US Government
Antarctic Seismic Data Library System (SDLS)
geoscience organization
Antarctic Climate Evolution (ACE)
international research initiative
Circum-Antarctic Stratigraphy Project
Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP) Drilling Leg 318
Integrated Ocean Drilling Program-United States Implementing Organization
Video Message from His Excellency Ban Ki-moon on the Fiftieth Anniversary of the Signing of the Antarctic Treaty
video message to participants at the Antarctic Treaty Summit
Left Bank/Rive Gauche trio
musical trio

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cover story:
Measuring Tidal Flows in the Cape Cod Canal

Research Peace River Vulnerable to Running Dry

New Discoveries Could Improve Climate Projections

Arctic Could Face Warmer and Ice-Free Conditions

Meetings CCAA Miami Conference on the Caribbean and Central America

Tampa Bay Area Scientific Information Symposium

Antarctic Treaty Summit

SACNAS National Conference

Airborne Lidar Processing System (ALPS) Workshop

Awards Awards for USGS Publication on the Coral Reef of South Moloka‘i, Hawai‘i

Staff New USGS Director Visits Centers in California

Gaye Farris Retires from the USGS National Wetlands Research Center

Publications Jan. / Feb. 2010 Publications List

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