Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute

The International Polar Year: Polar science with global impact

David Carlson, Ph.D.
Director of the International Polar Year

Tuesday - December 19, 2006
Pacific Forum - 3:00 PM

The International Polar Year 2007 – 2008 has drawn extraordinary interest from scientists of many specialties and many nationalities. A cautious assessment prior to the IPY start shows more than 200 international projects, addressing a wide range of physical, biological and social research topics in polar regions. With thousands of scientists, and including students, engineers, technicians and other support staff so essential to polar research, IPY will involve several nearly 50,000 people from at least 60 nations. IPY will represent the largest coordinated international scientific effort in 50 years.

IPY research will focus on urgent polar and global issues, including ice melt and sea level rise, changes in global ocean circulation and polar oceanic ecosystems, polar sources and sinks in the global carbon cycle, and human well-being and community vulnerability in polar populations. IPY will stimulate cooperation and collaboration across a broad range of scientific specialties, from geneticists to glaciologists and from anthropologists to astronomers. IPY will offer unprecedented data management and communication challenges and opportunities, internally among so broad a range of scientific specialties and externally to science education systems at all levels and to the general public. IPY outreach activities will include films, television series, museum exhibitions, and regular broadcast coverage. Many polar institutions and individual schools and teachers will organize local events, prepare new educational materials, and focus on new public engagement strategies. In its total science and outreach effort IPY will represent a large step forward in making science available and accessible to the general public.

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