International Polar Year
IPY 2007-2008
Updated on 19/1/05


Why International?

  • Polar processes extend across national boundaries
  • The science challenge exceeds the capabilities of any one nation
  • A coordinated approach maximizes outcomes and cost effectiveness
  • International collaboration shares benefits and builds relationships

Why Polar?

  • Polar regions are active, highly connected components of the planet
  • Significant changes are occurring in the polar regions
  • Polar regions hold unique information on the past behaviour of the Earth system
  • Polar regions having growing economic and geopolitical importance, especially the Arctic
  • The harsh conditions and remoteness of the polar regions have hampered scientific inquiry compared to mid- and low-latitudes
  • There is a need to re-establish and enhance operational observing systems in the polar regions
  • The polar regions offer a unique vantage point for a variety of terrestrial and cosmic phenomena

Why a "Year"?

  • An intensive, coordinated burst of effort will accelerate advances in knowledge and understanding
  • A defined period polar "snapshot" will provide a crucial benchmark for detecting and understanding change in comparison with past and future data sets
  • It provides an opportunity for observations in both polar regions throughout all seasons
  • The legacy of enhanced observing systems generated by IPY will provide an improved foundation for ongoing monitoring

Why 2007-2008?

  • The anniversaries of past IPY and the IGY set a firm deadline
  • There is a pressing need to capture contemporary information on change
  • A 3-4 year planning horizon is challenging but feasible
  • The timescale allows advances in technology and logistics to be exploited to address new issues and access new areas

Strengthening international science for the benefit of society