ACE scientists attend largest ever gathering of polar scientists, Oslo Norway
The International Polar Year (IPY) Science Conference, held in Oslo, Norway, June 8 to 12 was the largest ever gathering of polar scientists. The nearly 2000 delegates at the meeting included about 30 from Australia of which 6 were from ACE. Collaborators from ACE external partners were also well represented at the meeting.
The International Polar Year 2007-2008 was an ambitious multidisciplinary and international collaboration covering nearly every scientific specialty, and the IPY Oslo Science Conference demonstrated the enormous achievements and rich data sets obtained during the 2 years of concentrated polar research. New results, conclusions and assessments from endorsed IPY projects were presented in nearly 2200 papers organized against major IPY themes of linkages between Polar Regions and global systems; changes in Polar Regions; Polar ecosystems and biodiversity; human dimensions of change; and new frontiers.
The ACE led projects "Antarctic sea ice in IPY" and "Climate of Antarctica and the Southern Ocean (CASO)" were prominent in the sessions, with a large number of papers presented that resulted from these projects. Dr Steve Rintoul (CASO) received considerable media attention for new data showing changes to the Southern Ocean climate, and for new research technologies for monitoring these changes.
The International Polar Year had an ambitious media strategy and an unprecedented outreach to the public. A number of conference activities complementary to the science program emphasised this outreach. For example, more than 100 teachers from about 20 countries met on June 5-7 to share their experiences from teaching polar sciences, before joining the main conference. Dr Tony Worby presented a keynote talk at this event on educational experiences during the ACE SIPEX cruise, one of the components of the "Antarctic sea ice in IPY" project.
The ICSU/WMO Joint Committee for IPY, the overarching coordinating body for IPY activities, met for the final time prior to the conference, and the International Polar Year 2007-2008 was formally ended at a ceremony in Oslo on Saturday 12 June - the final day of the IPY Oslo Science Conference. Results from the IPY science activities will however continue to emerge over the next decade or so, and the legacy of observational systems and data will continue to be developed. The Oslo Science Conference was one of three major, interdisciplinary IPY conferences. The first, in St. Petersburg, Russia in July 2008 was held when IPY field activities were still ongoing, and only very preliminary scientific results were available. The final IPY conference, "From Knowledge to Action", will be hosted in Montreal, Canada in April 2012 and will deal with the larger outcomes, including social and political outcomes, from the Polar Year.