by Marie Cavitte
The last Belgian National Committee of Antarctic Research (BNCAR) meeting took place on the 10th of October at the Palace of the Academies in Brussels, where polar scientists where reunited under the chairmanship of Frank Pattyn (ULB) and Bruno Delille (Uliège) to discuss the most pressing issues before many of the scientists take off for their winter field seasons. APECS (Association of Early Polar Career Scientists) Belgium is an integral member of the BNCAR meetings, where early career scientists can contribute to the decisions being made at senior levels.
The upcoming Belgian-led field seasons were listed, which once again were very varied. There is the Mass2Ant project to collect surface mass balance data from the Princess Ragnhild Coast; the MICROBIAN to unveil the role of tiny life inhabiting the Antarctic ice-free areas that will also go to the Belgian Princess Elisabeth Station; the MOSAIC expedition to study the Arctic sea ice and many others. These projects will soon be featured on the Belgian Polar Expeditions blog. Plans were put in place to develop a community for all Belgian scientists working on the Arctic regions in order to create better international visibility of this growing expertise in Belgium. Also discussed was the importance of Belgian polar scientists’ participation in the IPCC initiatives, in which 3 chapters are being led by Belgian scientists for the next AR6 report.
And finally, the upcoming Antarctica Exhibit at RBINS was discussed, specifically the organization of a special exhibit and activities on Antarctica Day to be held on the 1st of December. BNCAR members are actively preparing some additional material to show the wealth of polar research being done here in Belgium, and APECS Belgium will animate various booths for visiting families that will initiate children to some of the exciting work done by early career polar scientists here in Belgium.