International Polar Year (IPY) 2007–09
Aurora Australis with helocopter operations in progress
Photo: Gary Dowse
We live in a time of global environmental change – glaciers are melting, patterns of rainfall and snowfall are shifting, and climate is changing.
Central to our understanding of these changes and their impacts are the polar regions – the Arctic and Antarctic.
Running against this backdrop of change is the International Polar Year (IPY), an international program of scientific research and observations in the Arctic and Antarctic. From 1 March 2007 to 1 March 2009 the IPY will involve over 200 projects, with thousands of scientists from over 60 nations examining a wide range of physical, biological and social research topics.
The IPY will contribute to six major themes
- determine the present environmental status of polar regions;
- quantify and understand change in the polar regions;
- advance our understanding of connections between the poles and the rest of the globe;
- investigate the frontiers of science in the polar regions;
- use the unique vantage point of the polar regions to investigate from the Earth's inner core to the Sun and the cosmos beyond; and
- investigate the cultural, historical, and social processes of circumpolar human societies.
The IPY will explore new scientific frontiers, deepen our understanding of polar processes and their links to global processes, increase our ability to detect changes, attract and develop the next generation of polar scientists, engineers and logistic experts, and capture the imagination of the global community.
Australia will lead eight scientific projects, co-lead three,
and participate in 46 other international projects.
The Australian-led projects are:
- Census of Antarctic Marine Life (CAML)
- Climate of Antarctica and the Southern Ocean (CASO)
- Aliens in Antarctica
- Taking the Antarctic Arctic polar pulse
- Solar variability linkages to atmospheric processes (SLAP)
- Astronomy from the polar plateau (AstroPoles)
- International Antarctic Institute (IAI)
- International research expedition (RSV-INTREPID)
Australia co-leads studies on:
- Evolution of the Gamburtsev Mountains (AGAP)
- Sea Ice Physics and Ecosystem eXperiment (SIPEX)
- Evolution and biodiversity in the Antarctic
- International Polar Year
- History of International Polar Years
- AAD program leader to co-chair International Polar Year Joint Committee – media release 10 January 2005
- A developing programme for the International Polar Year – Australian Antarctic Magazine Autumn 2005 [PDF]
- IPY outreach report June 2008 [PDF]