Winnipeg, Canada — 18 February 2009 — The University of Manitoba-led project that gained worldwide appeal and interest will be one of the highlights of a conference in Europe Feb. 25, 2009 as International Polar Year (IPY) wraps. An IPY committee will release its State of Polar Research report at that time to summarize all the IPY studies, one of the largest of which was led by a climate change expert at the University of Manitoba.
“Our data is coming in and our team is looking forward to the next phase of our research,” says Barber, David Barber, Canada Research Chair in Arctic System Science and director of the Centre for Earth Observation Science (CEOS) at the University of Manitoba. “IPY gave us this tremendous window into climate change. What we learned about climate change was more dramatic and immediate than we had anticipated. Now we must take our work to the next level and understand the very strong physical processes which are shaping the sea ice in the Arctic and to understand how these changes are affecting northern peoples, industrial development and the marine ecosystem.”
Barber led the Circumpolar Flaw Lead (CFL) system study to examine the importance of climate processes in changing the nature of a flaw lead system in the Northern Hemisphere. He and his team looked at the effect these changes have on the marine ecosystem, contaminant transport, carbon fluxes and greenhouse gases. The project involved the overwintering of the CCGS Amundsen, Canada’s premier research icebreaker, in the Cape Bathurst flaw lead in the western Canadian high Arctic. The CFL project was the first time ever that a research icebreaker overwintered in a flaw lead while staying mobile throughout the year.
The project also aimed to integrate Traditional Knowledge with science through a series of interviews and Inuit-led policy initiatives and workshops called the 2008 Circumpolar Inuit Field Program (CIFP), as well as coordinated a massive project that brought high school students on board with the ‘Schools on Board’ field program. Participants participated in an educational program that included fieldwork, lab activities and lectures delivered by scientists. This unique program featured knowledge exchange workshops on “two ways of knowing” and involved participation of northern community leaders and Inuit elders.
The Feb. 25 IPY celebration will include a press conference and presentation in Geneva, Switzerland. The State of Polar Research report will present an overview of the collective impact of the international and interdisciplinary research achieved through the IPY 2007-8 and will outline the future for polar research.
Canada’s $150 million IPY program was officially launched March 2007. It included more than 40 Canadian projects that focused on the environmental, climatic and social changes taking place in Polar regions, with a strong focus on the Canadian Arctic.
Dr. David Barber will be available today, Feb. 18, 2009 for comment on the CFL and IPY. He can be reached at (204) 510-6981.
To learn more about the Canadian Flaw Lead System Study, please visit the project’s web site: www.ipy-cfl.ca.
To learn more about Canada’s International Polar Year initiatives, please visit the Government of Canada’s International Polar Year web site: www.ipy-api.gc.ca.
Public Affairs Department
University of Manitoba
Media contact: Tamara Bodi
On February 25th 2009, the IPY Joint Committee will release a report on ‘The State of Polar Research’. In the lead-up to this event, major IPY research projects are releasing information for the press, and making themselves available for media enquiries. A wide range of projects will be profiled reflecting the diversity of IPY. For more information, please visit http://www.ipy.org/index.php?ipy/detail/feb09_projects/ or contact Rhian Salmon (
What is IPY
Wednesday, 18 February 2009 08:50
Circumpolar Flaw Lead System Study Celebrates with IPY in GenevaWritten by Louise Huffman
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