This 2012 report from the National Academies’ Polar Research Board considers the accomplishments and lessons learned through International Polar Year 2007-2008, finding that overall, IPY was an outstanding success. IPY engaged the public to communicate the relevance of polar research to the entire planet, strengthened connections with the indigenous people of the Arctic, and established new observational networks. Activities at both poles led to scientific discoveries that provided a step change in scientific understanding and helped translate scientific knowledge into policy-relevant information—and at a time when the polar regions are undergoing a transformation from an icy wilderness to a new zone for human affairs, these insights could not be more timely or more relevant. From outreach activities that engaged the general public to collaborative studies with Indigenous people and projects that brought researchers from multiple disciplines and several nations together, the legacies of IPY extend far beyond the scientific results achieved, and valuable lessons learned from the process will guide future endeavors of similar magnitude. A 4-page brief explaining the report’s main findings is available here.
The full report is available to download or purchase from the National Academies Press.