Polar landscapes and terrestrial ecosystems extend from the tree line of the continental tundra to the remote northern islands of the Arctic, and from southern cold maritime islands to the dry continental deserts of Antarctica. Ice, particularly in the form of permafrost and seasonal snow cover, plays a dominant role in all these environments. Biological communities survive through remarkable adaptations and extensive migration. A range of climatological and ecological pressures act on these northern-most and southern-most ecosystems. IPY research is assessing changes in vegetation (so-called greening) methane production (due to permafrost degradation), wildlife health and migration patterns, coastal erosion, and freshwater availability.
A special webpage has been prepared with information for Press and Educators, details of current projects, live events, profiles and contact details for scientists around the world, images, background information and useful links and resources. There will also be a wide range of educational and community activities, including classroom experiments, a virtual balloon launch, and three live web-conferencing events connecting polar scientists to students around the world.
About IPY and International Polar Days
The International Polar Year 2007-8 is a large international and interdisciplinary coordinated research effort focused on the polar regions. An estimated 50,000 participants from more than 60 countries are involved in research as diverse as anthropology and astronomy, health and history, and genomics and glaciology. This fourth IPY was launched in March 2007, and will continue through early 2009. During this IPY, a regular sequence of International Polar Days will raise awareness and provide information about particular and timely aspects of the polar regions. These Polar Days include press releases, contacts to experts in several languages, activities for teachers, on-line community participation, web-conferencing events, and links to researchers in the Arctic and Antarctic. The complete schedule for
International Polar Days is listed below.
March 1st 2007: IPY Launch
September 21st 2007: Sea Ice
sea Ice, marine life, changing climate
December 13th 2007: Ice Sheets
ice sheets, traverses, expeditions, adventure
March 13th 2008: Changing Earth, Past & Present
ice ages, paleoclimate, Earth history
June 18th 2008: Lands, Plants, and Animals/ Land and Life
permafrost, terrestrial biodiversity, hydrology, snow
September 24th 2008: People
social sciences, human health
December 2008: Above the Poles
astronomy, meteorology, atmospheric sciences
March 2009: Oceans and Marine Life
marine biodiversity, polar and global ocean circulations