February 2007 Downloads & Links

International Polar Year (IPY) 2007-2008


The International Polar Year (IPY) 2007‑2008 is co-sponsored by WMO and the International Council for Science (ICSU). The fundamental concept of the IPY is an intensive burst of internationally coordinated, interdisciplinary scientific research and observations focused on the Earth’s polar regions and their far-reaching global effects. To ensure that researchers can work in both polar regions during the summer and winter months, the event will actually be held from March 2007 to March 2009.




In recent years, there has been renewed interest in the climate and the environmental conditions in the polar regions, which has some important historical antecedents, since these regions have traditionally played a crucial role in WMO’s activities and in those of its predecessor, the International Meteorological Organization (IMO).  In 1879, Second Meteorological Congress approved the concept of an International Polar Year, which was held in 1882-1883.  The second International Polar Year, which was also initiated by IMO, took place in 1932-1933.  The success of the first and second IPYs led to the development of a wider international geophysical year, extending to encompass the lower latitudes, rather than simply a new international polar year.  This was the International Geophysical Year (IGY), which lasted from 1 July 1957 to 31 December 1958 and had far-reaching consequences in terms of scientific research, through the involvement of 80,000 scientists from 67 countries.


International Polar Year 2007-2008 will be addressing a wide range of physical, biological and social issues, closely or indirectly linked to the polar regions.  The urgency and complexity of the changes being observed in the polar regions will demand a broad and integrated scientific approach.  Enhanced international collaboration and open partnerships resulting from this landmark scientific effort will, no doubt, stimulate and facilitate unrestricted data access and cross-cutting research initiatives.  Through an ample outreach effort, IPY will also represent a major step forward in making scientific knowledge available and accessible to the general public.  At the same time, a foremost concern will be the fact that the impacts derived from the polar regions are also important to the global climate system as a whole, so that many changes detected at the higher latitudes will also be found to have significant impacts on the impacts on the sustainable development of all societies, regardless of geographic latitude.


IPY 2007-2008 will be launched on 1 March 2007.



The theme for World Meteorological Day (23 March) in 2007 is “Polar meteorology: understanding global impacts” in recognition of the importance of, and as a contribution to IPY 2007-2008


See :


See also "Polar meteorology" in WMO activities in this issue.


See also articles reproduced from the WMO Bulletin in 1982 on the first IPY, the second IPY and the IGY



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