New CORDIS focus Supplement on polar research

The North and South Poles are fragile and sensitive environments that are among the regions most affected by observed climate change. As well as having their own unique flora and fauna, the
Polar Regions form an important part of the Earth’s climate system, so it is vital to understand the consequences of this warming.

The latest CORDIS focus Thematic Supplement is devoted to European research in and about the polar environment, in particular the ways in which it affects and is affected by climate change. The
magazine includes an overview of the political context and scientific state-of-the-art, as well as profiling the various EU-funded research projects that are improving our knowledge of these
vital regions and how they are changing.

European Commission President José Manuel Barroso, and Science and Research Commissioner Janez Potocnik, have both recently visited the Arctic region. The new issue covers their visits,
to Greenland and Svalbard respectively, as well as the latest from the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the EU on climate change causes, effects, adaptation and mitigation.

International Polar Year 2007-2008 is an initiative to coordinate and focus scientific research into the poles. EU projects supporting greater coordination and pooling of resources through
joint research programmes include IPY-CARE and the ERA-Net initiative EUROPOLAR. Both are profiled in the supplement.

The full range of European research activities in, on and around the poles is also covered. The challenging Arctic environment requires special modelling techniques and research infrastructures
such as ice-breaker research ships. Climate change also needs to be well understood, since it has affected the poles faster than any other region and has a huge impact on their fragile
ecosystems.

Scientific research projects on the carbon cycle and climate change in the past all add to our knowledge of the changes to come. Researchers are also working on ways to preserve the natural
resources and protect the inhabitants of the far north.

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