The International Polar Year (IPY) 2007–2008, co-sponsored by the International Council for Science (ICSU) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), became the largest coordinated research program in the Earth’s polar regions, following in the footsteps of its predecessor, the first and second International Polar Years in 1881-1883 and 1932-1933 and the International Geophysical Year 1957–1958.

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, 1 March 2007–1 March 2009, with many activities continuing beyond that date.

IPY invigorated polar science, led to an unprecedented level of action, and attracted global attention to the polar regions at a critical moment in the changing relation between humanity and the environment.

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