International Polar Year – DFO Contribution

Polar processes extend across national boundaries and as a result the challenge to conduct science exceeds the capabilities of any one nation. The International Polar Year (IPY) 2007-2008 addressed these difficulties by delivering an intensive burst of internationally coordinated, interdisciplinary, scientific research focused on the Earth's polar regions.

IPY 2007-2008 was the fourth such event to take place in the past 125 years. The first one, in 1882-1883, attracted the interest of 12 nations and included 13 expeditions to the Arctic. Since then, the initiative has grown and the latest IPY was the largest ever international program of coordinated, interdisciplinary polar science, research and observations. These took place over a 24-month period, and focused on both the Arctic and Antarctic.

More than 60 nations joined Canada and key partners such as the United States, China, Norway, the European Union, Finland, Iceland, and Russia participated in IPY 2007-2008. An estimated 60 per cent of projects involved Canadians and/or activity within Canada's borders. The Government of Canada contributed $156 million in IPY funding over six years, of which $106 million was for 44 science research projects.

As the second largest polar nation in the world - nearly 25 per cent of the Arctic falls within our borders - changes in the Arctic will inevitably be felt by the rest of Canada and the world.

Key Findings from International Polar Year at Fisheries and Oceans Canada

DFO Science was an important contributor to International Polar Year (IPY) 2007-2008. Six of the Canadian-led projects were headed by DFO scientists:

  • Beluga Tagging in the Arctic
  • C3O - Canada's Three Oceans
  • Climate Variability and Change Effects on Chars in the Arctic
    • Project Leader: James Reist
  • Effects of Global Warming on Polar Bears, Seals and Whales
  • Impacts of Severe Arctic Storms and Climate Change on Coastal Areas
  • Ocean Currents of Arctic Canada

DFO scientists were also involved in many other IPY projects including:

  • Arctic Freshwater Systems
    • DFO scientist : James Reist
  • Arctic Surface Ocean – Lower Atmosphere Study (SOLAS)
  • The Carbon Cycle in the Canadian Arctic and Sub-Arctic Continental Margin
  • Circumpolar Flaw Lead System Study
  • Determining the Diet of the Greenland Shark in a Changing Arctic
  • Engaging Communities in the Monitoring of Country Food Safety
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