May 09, 2007

The International Polar Year

March 1st the International Polar Year was launched, running till March 1st 2009. IPY is a large scientific programme organized through the International Council for Science (ICSU) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).

It is actually the fourth Polar Year, the previous ones were in 1882-3, 1932-3, and 1957-8. And this time the workforce and money put into it is bigger scaled than ever. More than 200 projects, 50 000 researchers and 60 countries are collaborating to give us new knowledge about the atmosphere, ice, land, oceans, people and space. It's a long year, you might say, but it is two years on purpose. This way the scientists will get two field seasons both in the Arctic and the Antarctic.

IPY has four headlines or urgencies as they call it; Changing Snow and Ice, Global Linkages, Neighbours in the North and Discovery.

In addition to the research program, IPY also focuses on public awareness and education. Lots of activities are launched at the international site, and also at various national sites (Norway, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Russia, Spain, Sweden, United States, others).

My Science Center is involved in a project called SciencePub, focusing on "Arctic Natural Climate and Environmental Changes and Human Adaptation: From Science to Public awareness".

Right now the scientist are working in the field both on land and at sea, in Norway, Russia, Greenland, the Fram Strait and Svalbard. At the end of September the results from this first field season should start coming, and I will report more from SciencePub then.

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