PRESS RELEASE: for immediate release
End- March 2009: IPY FOCUSING ON POLAR OCEANS
Human impact on the oceans has become a topic of global concern: the eighth ‘International Polar Day’ of the International Polar Year 2007-8 (IPY) draws international attention to Polar Oceans. In these ice-covered oceans one finds remarkable organisms adapted to cold and dark, the rich ice-adapted ecosystems that support penguins and polar bears, and fundamental cooling and freezing processes that control planet-wide ocean circulations and global climate. During the last two weeks of March, 2009, polar oceanographers around the world will join students and teachers in local and broadcast events in Italy, Canada, Malaysia, Scotland, France, Germany, Brazil, USA, and Mexico.
A special webpage, http://ipy.arcticportal.org/index.php?option=com_k2&id=2029&view=item&Itemid=10, has been prepared detailing IPY research, multilingual events and information, contacts, and resources.
The polar environment is among the most remote locations, but in recent decades has been attracting scientific attention because of its critical role in the global climate system. Throughout the next two weeks, polar scientists are making themselves available to discuss their research and answer questions from school and university students, the media, general public, and visitors to science centres. Activities include a ‘launch a virtual balloon’, polar ocean classroom activities, profiles of scientists, classroom visits, a practical ocean science field school, stories from research expeditions, and content developed by the Association of Polar Early Career Scientists. In addition, educational flyers have been translated and circulated by volunteers into languages as diverse as Xhosa, Malay, and Inuktitut, and live connections to IPY researchers from the OASIS (Ocean- Atmosphere- Sea Ice- Snowpack) project in Barrow, Alaska, the ArcOD (Arctic Ocean Biodiversity) project in the Bering Sea, and Scott Base, Antarctica, have been arranged to highlight Polar Oceans.
Events: An unprecedented range of local events are occurring around the world in conjunction with the March IPY focus on Polar Oceans:
Scotland, March 14-15: IPY researchers from the Scottish Association of Marine Science holding hands-on weekend at Our Dynamic Earth, a Science Museum in Edinburgh
Canada, March 18: Oceans and Marine Life webcast from the Museum of Civilization, Quebec, features Inuit dancers, presentations on climate change and beluga whales, and a live link to OASIS researchers on the ice of the Beaufort Sea. Environment Canada's Biosphere, Montreal, the Ontario Science Centre, Toronto and the Vancouver Aquarium join remotely.
USA, March 19: a special Polar Oceans focus at the National Science Teachers Association Meeting in New Orleans
Germany, March 19: one-to-one visits between early career polar researchers and high school classes
Malaysia, March 20: an IPY forum for students from the Association of Environmental Law at the University Information & Technology MARA, UiTM
France, March 20: a bi-lingual German-French public event as part of the Forum des Sciences, Paris, with a panel of international experts and live connections across the Arctic
Canada, March 20: An Arctic Science and Fieldwork day at Fort Whyte Alive outdoor education centre, presented by polar science graduate students of the University of Manitoba Brazil, March 24: connections between Scout and Guide groups, and national radio, with a British Antarctic Survey research ship
Italy, March 27: a videoconference between students and researchers at the Natural Science Museum of Trento and the National Museum of Antarctica in Genova
Greenland: (date to be confirmed) Students in Nuuk meet with Arctic Ocean researchers.
Several events have also been organized that can be joined by global participants on-line:
March 17: Students at IGLO science centres connect with researchers at both poles using a MAGPI videoconferencing bridge. Participants include the Museum of Science & Industry, Chicago; UNAM University Science Museum, Mexico City; Maryland Science Centre; Science North, Sudbury, Canada; Scott Base, Antarctica; Fairbanks, Alaska, and Harvard University.
March 25: PolarTREC ‘Live from IPY’ webinar connecting students across the Americas to researchers at both Poles using internet or a toll-free telephone number.
March 30: Live radio broadcast by CKLB aboriginal community radio, connecting schools across the Canadian Arctic to researchers in the field.
March 18-24: The Thin Ice project provides daily updates, photographs, scientist profiles, and wildlife accounts from the US Coast Guard Cutter Healy in the Northern Bering Sea.
Background: Cooling and sinking processes in polar oceans, and circulation of polar waters throughout the global deep ocean exert a powerful control on the Earth’s climate. The polar oceans also play very important roles in the global carbon cycle, removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere through chemical and biological processes. Polar oceans support globally- important fisheries and ice-dependent polar birds and mammals, including polar bears in the Arctic and penguins in the Antarctic. All of these important polar ocean functions have a critical relationship with sea ice; changes in the integrated polar ocean - ice system thus have far-reaching impacts.
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. It is planned and sponsored by the International Council for Science (ICSU) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). 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. During this IPY, a regular sequence of International Polar Days has been raising awareness and providing 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. Previous Days have focused on Sea Ice, Ice Sheets, Changing Earth, Land and Life, People, and research Above The Polar Regions. Following the success of these events, the next activities will be Polar Weeks in October 2009, and March 2010. The Oslo Science Conference in June 2010 will be the first major opportunity for IPY researchers to present and discuss IPY results from all disciplines and nations.
More information about International Polar Days can be found at:
International Polar Year Activities:
IPY International Programme Office (IPY IPO)
Dr David Carlson, IPY IPO Director,
For more information and contact details, please visit the IPY ‘Polar Oceans’ webpages: http://ipy.arcticportal.org/index.php?option=com_k2&id=2029&view=item&Itemid=10
For more information about the International Polar Year, please visit www.ipy.org
What is IPY
Tuesday, 17 March 2009 21:10
IPY FOCUSING ON POLAR OCEANSWritten by Rhian Salmon
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