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IPY Report: September


1) Joint Committee Assessment, for October 2007
2) AGU Sessions and Activities, for December 2007
3) IPY Science Day - 21 September 2007
4) IPY Youth International Planning Workshop, for September 2007

From: IPY International Programme Office
To: IPY Project Coordinators
cc: IPY Community Google Groups

1) Joint Committee Assessment

The IPY Joint Committee will hold their sixth meeting in Canada in late October 2007.  With most national funding decisions known, and with most IPY Projects underway or in late stages of planning, the Joint Committee will make an initial assessment of the overall programme.  The IPY Expression of Interest (EoI) database holds more than 1200 entries.  As coordinators of the IPY Projects, you provide the linkages for many of those EoIs.  The Joint Committee solicits your input to this IPY initial assessment.

The IPO will provide the ‘numbers’ part of the assessment.  We know the number of endorsed Projects: 228, with 3 new and 3 withdrawn in the past 3 months.  We know, based on information you provide, the present Project funding status: 91 with substantial funding, 66 with partial funding, many still waiting news.  We know that scientists from 63 countries participate.  We know the number of Project coordinators who subscribe to this list, and we know which Projects have active links to  We will produce an up-to-date summary of all that information, in mid-October.

We ask that you provide comments about the non-numerical aspects of IPY.  At this time point, you should comment about things that could happen now, or soon, during IPY operations, to help your scientific or Project coordination activities.  You can address funding, logistics, coordination or data management issues, or other urgent aspects.  As we wrote before, the Joint Committee will not advocate for any particular unfunded project.  However, the Joint Committee can draw national and international attention to substantial issues that affect many Projects or that limit progress toward the overall IPY goals.

Please submit your comments to , by 30 September 2007.  (If you have concerns about the IPO, I encourage you to submit them directly to a member of the Joint Committee at any time!) IPO will compile the comments for the Joint Committee meeting, with a plan to publish the resulting assessment report.  We feel certain that the Joint Committee or an equivalent oversight group will do a retrospective assessment after IPY.  For this initial assessment, the Joint Committee will want to focus on weaknesses or gaps amenable to quick solutions.

2) AGU Sessions

We all see many notices about polar or cryosphere sessions at the fall AGU meeting in San Francisco.  Polar science will clearly have a big impact at this meeting.  We remind you of the abstract submission deadline for those sessions: 6 September 2007!  We call your attention to three specific IPY sessions:

ED02: Education, Outreach and Communications During the International Polar Year, and Beyond

U08 : Progress in High Latitudes Research During the International Polar Year 2007-2008

IN17 : Data Sources and Management for the 2007-2009 International Polar Year

Once we can confirm a time and location, we hope to arrange an IPY information session.  As before, we will establish an IPY exhibit, with support from the USA NSF Office of Polar Programs.  We will call for exhibit materials from your Projects (digital preferred but paper accepted) and we will invite you, your colleagues, or your students to join us for an hour or two as we will need help to staff the exhibit.

3) IPY Science Day focussed on Sea Ice

As mentioned in the July Report, we plan coordinated education and outreach activities around a series of IPY Science Days, approximately quarterly.  These days represent an opportunity to bring major science themes and activities to public attention, and to coordinate activities among classrooms, museums and other IPY institutions in a manner that enhances public impact. 

We plan an International Polar Day on 21 September 2007, focussing on Sea Ice.  If you follow recent news from national ice centres about Arctic sea ice conditions, you know that we can expect increased media and public attention during the remaining months of 2007.  IPY will have sea ice research cruises underway in both hemispheres during September.  We know that 35 IPY Projects have research activities directly related to sea ice.  The Education, Outreach and Communication (EOC) committee, through its Education and Media working groups, have developed plans and schedules for press releases, background information, access to experts, links to images and video, educational and community activities, and connection to researchers in the field.  Arrangements for this event include a video conference among sea ice experts on 18 September (with, we hope, simultaneous webcasting) and coordinated activities in classrooms around the world on 21 September.

As part of the materials for press and educators, we will provide a list of the Projects associated with all aspects of sea ice.  PLEASE CHECK THIS LIST AT /index.php?ipy/detail/ipy_projects_related_to_sea_ice/.  We expect to have opportunities in many countries for experts from within the IPY community to respond to queries from press and teachers.  To get involved with this activity, please contact .  Rhian will help you check your Project pages on, as we plan a special sea ice page on that will direct media and teachers directly to sea ice Project pages.

Thanks to all the people who help us with this activity!  We also look ahead to future IPY Science Days, perhaps 6 or 7 more over the time period of IPY operations.  We envision broad topics that, by the end of IPY, will have engaged all the IPY Projects.  For examples, health and all aspects of human well-being, biodiversity (terrestrial and marine), et cetera.  IPO will propose a list for consideration at the Joint Committee meeting in October.  For December 2007 (planning will have to start soon) we consider focusing on the Antarctic traverse activities and on ice sheets as the science topic.

4) IPY Youth International Planning Workshop, for September 2007

An International Planning Workshop for IPY Youth and Early Career Scientists will occur at the end of September in Stockholm.  This planning workshop will establish foundations for a strong, international, and interdisciplinary network of early-career polar researchers, and set the goals and schedules for activities during IPY.  These planning activities depend on substantial volunteer efforts from already-busy students and young faculty members.  If you know of young researchers who would be interested in becoming more involved in these activities, or if you would like to become involved as a mentor, please contact .

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