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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/essd-2020-2
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/essd-2020-2
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: data description paper 23 Jan 2020

Submitted as: data description paper | 23 Jan 2020

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A revised version of this preprint is currently under review for the journal ESSD.

A digital archive of human activity in the McMurdo Dry Valleys, Antarctica

Adrian Howkins1, Stephen M. Chignell2, Poppie Gullett3, Andrew G. Fountain4,5, Melissa Brett4, and Evelin Preciado6 Adrian Howkins et al.
  • 1Department of History, University of Bristol, Bristol, BS8 1TH, UK
  • 2Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, V6T 1Z4, Canada
  • 3Department of History, Colorado State University, Fort Collins,Colorado, 80523, USA
  • 4Department of Geology, Portland State University, Portland, Oregon, 97207, USA
  • 5Department of Geography, Portland State University, Portland, Oregon, 97207, USA
  • 6Department of Ecosystem Science and Sustainability, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado, 80523, USA

Abstract. Over the last half century, the McMurdo Dry Valleys (MDV) of East Antarctica have become a globally important site for scientific research and environmental monitoring. Historical data can make important contributions to current research activities and environmental management in Antarctica, but tend to be widely scattered and difficult to access. We address this need in the MDV by compiling over 5,000 historical photographs, sketches, maps, oral interviews, publications, and other archival resources into an online digital archive. The data have been digitized and georeferenced using a standardized metadata structure, which enables intuitive searches and data discovery via an online interface. The ultimate aim of the archive is to create as comprehensive as possible a record of human activity in the MDV to support ongoing research, management, and conservation efforts. This is a valuable tool for scientists seeking to understand the dynamics of change in lakes, glaciers, and other physical systems, as well as humanistic inquiry into the history of the Southern Continent. In addition to providing benchmarks for understanding change over time, the data can help target field sampling for studies working under the assumption of a pristine landscape by enabling researchers to identify the date and extent of past human activities. The full database is accessible via a web browser-based interface hosted by the McMurdo Long Term Ecological Research site: http://mcmurdohistory.lternet.edu/ and the raw data are available at the Environmental Data Initiative https://doi.org/10.6073/pasta/6744cb28a544fda827805db123d36557 (Howkins et al., 2019).

Adrian Howkins et al.

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Adrian Howkins et al.

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A digital archive of human activity in the McMurdo Dry Valleys, Antarctica from 1902 to present A. Howkins, S. Chignell, P. Gullett, A. Fountain, M. Brett, and E. Preciado https://doi.org/10.6073/pasta/6744cb28a544fda827805db123d36557

Adrian Howkins et al.

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