- Title: VARIOUS: International Polar Year 2007-2008 is launched
- Date: 1st March 2007
- Summary: (W3) WASHINGTON, D.C., UNITED STATES (FEBRUARY 26, 2007) (REUTERS) WIDE OF U.S. CONFERENCE ON INTERNATIONAL POLAR YEAR (SOUNDBITE) (English) ARDEN BEMENT JR., DIRECTOR OF THE NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION, SAYING: "Today, we are refreshing our commitment to scientific leadership in the polar regions and we are pledging our continued support to the polar regions and we are pledging our continued support to polar research and meeting the challenges that it entails. Now, we are ready to break the ice and move forward on the vision and goals for the International Polar Year." (SOUNDBITE) (English) Dr. ROBIN E. BELL, CHAIR OF THE U.S. COMMITTEE FOR THE INTERNATIONAL POLAR YEAR SAYING: "This programme is incredibly important because the poles are changing faster than anywhere else in our planet and while they seem remote and off the map, what's happening there will influence our society and societies around the world. If we don't understand how that's happening, then we won't be able to manage it as a society. But they're also really hard to work in and we can't get there and actually understand the basic physics of these regions without working closely together and that's what this is providing, an opportunity for the nations to work together. It's opening doors that weren't there before."
- Reuters ID: LVA951QGEU6GYNBK1DQMC73WIMTP
- Duration: 00:01:01
- Aspect Ratio:
- Topics: Environment / Natural World,Science / Technology
- Story Text: Scientists on Thursday (March 1) gathered to announce an international programme called the International Polar Year (IPY) (website: www.ipy.org) to investigate the effects of global warming on the Arctic and Antarctic ice sheets.
Changes to permafrost will be monitored, and the melting of polar ice sheets and marine life in the regions will be studied. The research will provide a baseline for understanding future environmental changes.
In Beijing, China announced the launch of several polar research projects as part of IPY. It is the first time that China has been involved in the programme.
The Chinese IPY committee say that the projects they will be conducting this year involve the exploration of glaciers in the Antarctic and general research in the Arctic. They plan to share their data with the other countries taking part in the project.
The Australian Environment Minister, Malcolm Turnbull launched IPY in Tasmania speaking via video conference from Canberra.
Scientists gathered in the nation's Antarctic division headquarters to pledge to work together towards spreading the message of global warming and researching its effects.
The Antarctic is a region of great climatic significance for Australia-- low pressure systems from the high latitudes around Antarctica bring vital rain to Australia.
The IPY 2007 - 2008 is going ahead against a backdrop of the latest report issued by the United Nations warning that intensified global warming is threatening both industrialised and developing countries.
The Earth's polar regions have seen dramatic environmental changes in recent years due to global warming caused by pollution from the world's industrialised nations.
Scientific research has shown that the polar regions are powerful influences in the global climate system and are the regions most vulnerable to climate change. Throughout 2007, scientists will carry out several projects in an effort to shed more light on issues like global warming and climate change.
The United States announced their involvement in the environmental project on Monday (February 26).
Dr. Robin Bell, Chair of the U.S National Committee for IPY, told Reuters: "This programme is incredibly important because the poles are changing faster than anywhere else in our planet and while they seem remote and off the map, what's happening there will influence our society and societies around the world."
The ice in both polar regions is melting more rapidly than anywhere else, leading to rises in sea levels and possibly to dramatic changes in ocean currents and food chains.
World scientists predicted this month that average world temperatures will rise by between 1.8 and 4.0 degrees Celsius this century due mainly to carbon gases from burning fossil fuels for power and transport.
This is a global average, however, and the temperature rises at the poles are expected to exceed that by a large margin.
The Antarctic ice sheet is up to 4.8 kilometres (3 miles) thick in places and it holds 90 percent of the world's fresh water. It is also crucial to the circulation of the world's ocean currents and therefore to planetary air circulation.
Already global warming is reducing the area of ocean ice by three percent every decade.
It is the fourth IPY year, the last three were held 1882-1883, 1932-1933 and 1957-1958 respectively.
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