International Polar Year kicks off



The International Polar Year officially began on 1 March with an opening ceremony in Paris, France, and with local celebrations held throughout the week. The festivities marked the start of the two-year international effort to understand ongoing change in the polar regions.

Previous IPYs (1882–1883 and 1932–1933) and the International Geophysical Year (1957–1958) resulted in a legacy that included the creation of maps of the polar regions, the establishment of permanent Antarctic research stations, the launch of the first satellites, and ratification of the Antarctic Treaty in 1961. Organizers of the current IPY hope that it will leave its own legacy of research, data, observation systems, and the inspiration of future scientists, said Robin Bell, chair of the U.S. National Committee for IPY and a geophysicist at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Palisades, N.Y.