A Framework for the International Polar Year, 2007-2008
The polar regions are integral components of the Earth system. As the heat sinks of the climate system they both respond to and drive changes elsewhere on the planet. Within them lie frontiers of knowledge as well as unique vantage points for science. Yet because of their remoteness and harsh nature, the poles remain insufficiently studied. With recent technological advances providing new scientific possibilities, and humankind‘s need for environmental knowledge and understanding ever increasing, the time is ripe for a coordinated international initiative to achieve a major advance in polar science. For this reason, the International Council for Science (ICSU) decided to take the lead in organizing an International Polar Year (IPY) in 2007-2008. They did so by establishing an IPY Planning Group (PG) charged with developing the IPY 2007-2008 science plan and implementation strategy. This report is the outcome of the PG‘s work. It is based on input from individuals, from over 40 governmental and nongovernmental organizations that have endorsed or expressed support for IPY 2007-2008, and from the 32 IPY National Committees or National Points of Contact established so far. It is also results from discussions and debate at over a dozen international meetings covering the gamut of science disciplines, from a series of "town" meetings, and from two Discussion Forums hosted by ICSU and attended by representatives of the IPY National Committees and a variety of interested polar organizations.
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