The Eastern Arctic Seas Encyclopedia

2016 Edition
| Editors: Igor S. Zonn, Andrey G. Kostianoy, Aleksandr V. Semenov

International Polar Year (IPY)

Reference work entry

International Polar Year (IPY) – a period of concurrent geophysical observations in the Arctic by efforts of a number of countries under a common plan and method. The first IPY was conducted from August 1882 to August 1883. The IPY initiative belonged to the Austrian Arctic explorer K. Weyprecht. After his death (1881), the leading role in the organization of the first IPY went to the director of the Main Physical (later Geophysical) Observatory in Russia H. Wild. Russia, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Holland, Denmark, England, Canada, Germany, Austria-Hungary, France, and the USA took part in conducting the first IPY. Observations were made on 13 polar stations in the northern polar region and at two stations in the Southern Hemisphere. In the Russian sector of the Arctic, there were two polar stations – in Malye Karmakuly (the New Earth since 1882) and on the island of Sagastyr (at the mouth of the Lena). Since 1883, observations yielded valuable results, but to address the issue of atmospheric circulation in the polar region, they were not enough.

Fifty years after the first IPY, the second IPY was held (from August 1932 to August 1933). Of 17 stations, organized within the framework of the second IPY, ten were opened in the USSR, including the northernmost one in the world on Rudolph Island (Franz Josef Land). Extensive meteorological and glaciological observations were conducted in the Arctic. The second IPY confirmed the importance of international scientific cooperation of various countries.

In 2007–2008, the new IPY was held at the initiative of Russia. Its conduct was caused by the need for a comprehensive assessment of natural and man-made processes now occurring in the polar regions and their impact on the Earth’s climate system.

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016