The History of IPY

The First International Polar Year (1882 – 1883)
The First International Polar Year was inspired by Karl Weyprecht, an officer with the Austro-Hungarian navy. Weyprecht argued that polar expeditions should be driven by scientific research instead of exploration. Although he died before commencement of the First International Polar Year, 11 countries participated in 15 Polar expeditions, fulfilling Weyprecht’s dream and heralding a new age of scientific discovery. Further information on the First IPY is available from the NOAA Arctic Research Office, The University of Saskatchewan, and The Arctic Research Consortium of Austria

The Second International Polar Year (1932 – 1933)
The Second International Polar Year was proposed in 1928 at an international conference of meteorological service directors. Forty nations participated in Arctic research from 1932 – 1933 (the 25th anniversary of the first IPY), largely in the fields of meteorology, magnetism, aurora, and radio science. However, due to the worldwide depression, the second IPY was smaller than originally envisioned. Additional information on the Second IPY is available from The University of Saskatchewan and the World Data Centre for Solar-Terrestrial Physics

The Third International Polar Year (1957 – 1958)/International Geophysical Year
The Third International Polar Year (1957 – 1958), later renamed the International Geophysical Year, was proposed in 1952 by the International Council of Scientific Unions, following a suggestion by NAS member Lloyd Berkner. The Third IPY/IGY was based on the earlier IPYs, but included research outside of the Polar Areas. Sixty-seven nations conducted research during the Third IPY/IGY, with 12 nations maintaining 65 stations in Antarctica. More details on the Third IPY/IGY are available from another NAS site, and The University of Alaska.

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