Sign up

International Polar Year: 2007-2009

Scroll down

The IPY was organized through the ISC predecessor, the International Council for Science (ICSU), and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). The ISC Members Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR) and International Arctic Science Committee (IASC) actively participated in coordinating Antarctic and Arctic-focused research respectively.


The 2007-2009 International Polar Year followed the success of the previous three Polar Years that started over a century ago. To cover both the Arctic and the Antarctic, the Year actually included two full annual cycles and involved over thousands of scientists examining a wide range of physical, biological and social research issues around polar science.

Activities and impact

The IPY became the largest coordinated research program in the Earth’s polar regions. An estimated 50,000 researchers, local observers, educators, students, and support personnel from more than 60 nations were involved in the 228 international IPY projects (170 in science, 1 in data management, and 57 in education and outreach) and related national efforts.

IPY generated intensive research and observations in the Arctic and Antarctica over a two-year period, March 2007 – March 2009, with many activities continuing beyond that date.

IPY 2007–2008 involved a large range of disciplines, from geophysics to ecology, human health, social sciences, and the humanities. All IPY projects included partners from several nations and/or from indigenous communities and polar residents’ organizations.

IPY 2007–2008 included education, outreach, and communication of science results to the public, and training the next generation of polar researchers among its primary missions. It broadened the ranks of its participants and the diversity of their products and activities to an extent never realized or even envisioned in the earlier IPYs. It reached out to many new constituencies, including polar residents, Arctic indigenous nations, and millions of people on the planet with no direct connection to the high latitudes.

IPY 2007–2008 generated a much anticipated ‘pulse’ (momentum) in the form of substantial new funding for polar research and monitoring programs, new observational and analysis technologies, integrated system-level approaches, and a broadened circle of stakeholders. It introduced new research and organizational paradigms that will have a lasting legacy of their own.

Read a summary of activities and impact of IPY in ‘Understanding Earth’s Polar Challenges: International Polar Year 2007-2008’.

Sign up to our newsletters

Subscribe to the ISC Monthly to receive key updates from the ISC and the broader scientific community, and check out our more specialized newsletters on Open Science, United Nations, and more.

Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.
Skip to content