Volume 56(4) — October 2007

International Polar Year 2007-2008

Feature articles

icebreaker

International Polar Year 2007-2008

Frozen regions, particularly large polar expanses of permafrost, sea ice and ice sheets, represent some of the most compelling and awesome features of planet Earth.

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man & instrument

Improvement of weather forecasts in polar regions

So far, there have been two so-called Polar Years separated in time by 50 years: the First International Polar Year took place in 1882-1883 and established a precedent for international science cooperation.

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sky

Match campaigns to measure stratospheric ozone loss—a key contribution to International Polar Year 2007-2008

The year 2007 marks an important event in geosciences—the 125th anniversary of the first International Polar Year (IPY) 1882-1883. The activities started during the first IPY and its follow-ups in 1932-1933, in particular the International Geophysical Year 1957-1958, laid the ground for many important elements of our current understanding of the Earth system.

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ice and sky

The chemical composition of the polar atmosphere – the IPY contribution

The polar atmosphere is remote from pollution sources of chemical trace species. Its composition has traditionally been seen as a clean background for more polluted air over the continents and their adjacent marine areas. This view of the polar regions as both clean and simple has gradually changed over the last decades, starting with polar route aircraft pilots observing haze and reduced visibility. Meanwhile, polar stratospheric ozone depletion, particularly strong in the Antarctic, was discovered more than two decades ago.

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icebreaker

Observing the polar oceans during the International Polar Year and beyond

Leaving behind a legacy is a key aim of the International Polar Year (IPY) 2007-2008 (Allison et al., 2007). One of the key legacies from the International Geophysical Year (IGY) of 1957-1958 was the establishment of a network of bases in the Antarctic that would provide springboards for a greatly enhanced programme of exploration of the interior of the continent.

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ice

State and fate of the polar cryosphere, including variability of the Arctic hydrological cycle

The cryosphere collectively describes elements of the Earth system which contain water in its frozen state and include sea, lake and river ice, snow cover, solid precipitation, glaciers, ice caps, ice sheets, permafrost and seasonally frozen ground.

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satellite

A highly elliptical orbit space system for hydrometeorological monitoring of the Arctic region

The lack of reliable, frequently updated information on the Earth’s polar ice caps is a significant problem for weather forecasting, affecting forecast skill for the entire planet. The poor numerical weather prediction (NWP) skill for the Arctic region and the Earth’s northern territories is caused primarily by errors in determining initial conditions, which depend on the quality of initial data.

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Other feature articles
satellite picture

Seasonal tropical cyclone forecasts

Seasonal forecasts of tropical cyclone activity in various regions have been developed since the first attempts in the early 1980s by Neville Nicholls (1979) for the Australian region and William Gray (1984(a), (b)) for the North Atlantic region. Over time, forecasts for different regions, using differing methodologies, have been developed.

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