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Antarctica plays a significant role in many global environmental issues such as wind and water currents and world weather patterns.

State of the Environment Reporting:

  • provides a "snap-shot" of the status of the Antarctic environment
  • relies on long-term monitoring of environmental and other variables
  • allows the detection of trends and patterns, which may be due to natural variability or human-induced (anthropogenic) pressures

Why are we interested?

State of the Environment Reporting allows us to:

  • assess the quality of the Antarctic environment
  • identify threats to the Antarctic environment
  • monitor the pressures we exert on it and track the impact and efficiency of our activities in the Antarctic.

How do we do it?

State of the Environment Reporting is based on environmental indicators. Indicators:

  • are data that summarise physical, chemical, biological or socio-economic factors which best represent the key elements of the environment
  • are grouped into themes

We have developed a web-accessible system that manages the indicator data, metadata, and custodian information. The system prompts custodians for data and evaluations when required and can produce reports on indicators via the web whenever requested.

For more information see "What are Indicators, and About our Database".

The custodial login is for custodians of State of the Environment indicators to enter data or evaluations, or perform other administrative tasks.

  1. Why are we interested in SOE reporting?
  2. How do we conduct SOE reporting?
  3. What are the current threats to the Antarctic environment?
  4. Where can I find information about the governance framework for the Australian Antarctic Divisions SOE system, SIMR?
  5. How do I enter new data for my State of the Environment Indicator into the System for Indicator Management and Reporting?
  6. How do I enter an evaluation for my State of the Environment Indicator?
  7. I don't understand how to set the scales in the evaluation entry - especially the State of Knowledge scale.

Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Why are we interested in SOE reporting?

    We're interested in State of the Environment Reporting because it allows us to:

    • assess the quality of the Antarctic environment
    • identify threats (see below) to the Antarctic environment
    • monitor the pressures we exert on it and track the impact and efficiency of our activities in the Antarctic.
  2. How do we conduct SOE reporting?

    State of the Environment Reporting is based on environmental. Indicators:

    • are data that summarise physical, chemical, biological or socio-economic factors which best represent the key elements of the environment
    • are grouped into themes

    We have developed a web-accessible computer system called SIMR that manages and reports on the indicator data, metadata, and custodian information. This system has a public interface which permits interrogation of approved indicators and a restricted interface utilised by custodians to enter and maintain indicator information.

  3. What are the current threats to the Antarctic environment?

    Permanent Stations
    Antarctica is largely untouched with little or no evidence of human impact over vast regions. The scientific stations situated along the edge of the continent are associated with significant environmental problems.

    Fisheries
    Virtually all Antarctic life depends for its existence on the seas surrounding the continent. The Southern Ocean contains living resources potentially several times greater than the combined resources of all other fisheries. There is a long history of over-exploitation of Antarctic marine living resources, with consequent damage to the ecosystem. A number of species have become threatened by over-harvesting and illegal fishing, and others are vulnerable because of human intrusion into their habitat.
    The impacts of Antarctic fishing are as yet poorly known, though it is likely that many of the species taken are long lived, making them more vulnerable to over harvesting. This could markedly alter the ecosystem in heavily fished areas. The question of by-catch is also important.

    Changes in Climate
    Studies in the Antarctic and around the world have shown that fluctuations, whether human induced or natural, in global weather patterns may have serious effects on the environment in Antarctica.

    Tourism
    Ecotourism in the Antarctic is increasing rapidly, but is generally well regulated, especially for the subantarctic islands. The potential for serious impact on sensitive areas, usually those most likely to attract tourists, is substantial.

  4. Where can I find information about the governance framework for the Australian Antarctic Divisions SOE system, SIMR?

    The governance framework is available as a pdf document.

  5. How do I enter new data for my State of the Environment Indicator into the System for Indicator Management and Reporting?

    To do this you will first of all need to be a custodian, or a designated data contributor. Simply log on and (if you are based at the Australian Antarctic Division, your user name and password will be the same as those for your general log on). The list of indicators you have access to will then be displayed. Simply click on the link for "Data Entry" to begin entering new data for your indicator.

  6. How do I enter an evaluation for my State of the Environment Indicator?

    See the answer to the question about data entry above. Instead of going to "Data Entry" though, you click on "Evaluation Entry" instead.

  7. I don't understand how to set the scales in the evaluation entry - especially the State of Knowledge scale.

    These scales are designed to provide a visual represenation of the State of the Environment. Each number on the scale has a corresponding colour, and the numbers range from 1-7. The pressure, condition and response scales are a measure of the pressure we're exerting on the environment, the condition of the environment, and the effort we're putting towards mitigating any environmental effects we may be causing. The State of Knowledge scale is an indication of how sure you are that the value you have assigned to the pressure/condition/response is reliable. For example a pressure value of 2 indicates a minimal environmental pressure, and a corresponding State of Knowledge value of 6 indicates that you are very confident in your pressure rating of 2.