Data storage needed to make effects of IPY last
The director of the International Polar Year (IPY) programme office, Dr David Carlson, has called for a comprehensive data storage facility to share the information gathered during the IPY. If
such a facility is not installed by the end of the IPY in March 2009, the initiative will be in danger of losing its purpose, he said.
‘Our science is very timely for environmental reasons and we are doing the right science at the right time,’ he said, calling the IPY an ‘extraordinary international success’ since its launch
in March 2007, as it has raised public awareness of the importance of the polar regions. However, what will happen with a view to data coordination and the facilitation of a comprehensive
archive system beyond March 2009 is still uncertain, Dr Carlson added.
‘The next challenge that we are facing is to put all the data in an accessible way that everyone can share,’ he said. ‘We agree we should do that, but the actual task of how do we do it, how do
we share it and how do we map it, that’s very challenging at this point,’ Carlson pointed out. ‘They are not technical problems but we need the staff so this is a personnel problem or else we
are not able to make the data available in 2010.’
The IPY is a global initiative, involving 63 countries that have so far dedicated ?272 million to polar science research in the framework of the initiative. According to Dr Carlson’s estimates,
the total sum of IPY-related science funding could amount to ?1.2 billion by March 2009.
The current IPY is the fourth in a series of similar international studies of this kind, the first IPY having been in 1882 and 1883. This IPY is a programme of the World Meteorological
Organization (WMO) and the International Council for Science (ICSU) and is sponsored by several international organisations.
The European Polar Consortium (EPC), a Coordination Action financed by the European Commission under the Sixth Framework Programme, coordinates the European contribution to polar research. It
is composed of 25 government ministries, national funding agencies and national polar RTD (research and technological development) authorities from 19 European countries and of the European
Science Foundation’s European Polar Board.
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