IPY Polar Land and Life Day

On June 18th, 2008, the International Polar Year 2007-8 (IPY) will launch its fifth ʻInternational Polar Day’ focusing on Land and Life: the plants and animals of polar lands and the changing permafrost and hydrologic systems. This Polar Day occurs as hundreds of researchers focus on Arctic environments. It has been timed in conjunction with the Ninth International Conference on Permafrost (NICOP) in Fairbanks, Alaska, and the UNEP TUNZA International Childrenʼs Conference in Norway, part of IPYʼs continued role in raising public awareness of polar science.

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