March 12th, 2008 marks the third of the quarterly International Polar Days, this time focusing on the Changing Earth; Past and Present.
You can skip to specific topics by using the quick links in the left sidebar of this page.
Changing Earth; Past and Present
The polar region are critical archives of polar change. Different techniques and disciplines are used to learn about Earth's history over millions, thousands, and hundreds of years. Observations monitor and explore the Earth today, and models developed from these sciences help predict the future. By learning more about the Earth in the past, and how climates have changed previously, we equip ourselves to better predict and understand changes we are experiencing today, and will experience in the future.
The IPY Science Day on March 12th will focus on change over geological time, especially the glacial and interglacial periods that have occurred during the past million years, and cycles of ocean- atmosphere interactions that give rise to regional climate variations on scales of decades to centuries. Understanding these processes, and the science projects that investigate them, is critical in order to put recent human- induced climate change into context.
Download this primer on the Changing Earth in a number of languages:
There are 12 multi-lingual activity flyers on the educators page as well as details about the virtual balloon launch, live events connecting to scientists and the polar regions at 4 different times around the world clock, and suggested activities for the classroom.
For the Press
Quick Links about Change at the Polar Regions for Press.
Launch a Virtual Balloon
Join schools, researchers and interested individuals to mark your participation in this Changing Earth IPY Day on a collaborative map.
IPY Projects Studying Changing Earth
IPY projects studying how the Polar Regions have changed over a range of time-scales are listed here. This includes contact details for scientists involved in sub-glacial lake research, GPS monitoring, climate studies, deep sediment drilling and ice coring.
Links and Resources
Global Outlook for Ice and Snow (United Nations Environment Programme) graphics, images, background information relevant to most IPY research.
About International Polar Days
In response to journalists and educators wanting an ‘angle’ on the extremely broad International Polar Year, quarterly International Polar Days are being planned that focus on a particular aspect of polar research. These days will include press releases, background information, access to experts, links to images and video, educational and community activities, and connection to researchers in the field.
More details on the planned schedule for IPY Days.
International Polar Days occur approximately around the solstices and equinoxes to mark the changing solar cycle, experienced in the extreme at the polar regions. In the summer, the polar regions experience 24 hours of sunlight, in winter, the sun is continually below the horizon, and at the equinoxes the sun is above the horizon for 12 hours all over the world. More information can be found here: Solstices, Equinoxes, and the Polar regions
If you would like to become involved with one of the International Polar Days, please contact