News & Events
Polar Environment and Climate: The Challenges
European Research in the context of the International Polar Year
5-6 March 2007
Venue: Royal Museum for Natural Sciences - Rue Vautier, 29 - 1000 Brussels - Belgium -
Directorate General Research - Climate Change and Environmental Risks- European Commission
By bringing together key polar scientists at the start of both the International Polar Year and the Seventh Framework Programme, this symposium will provide a unique occasion to review the European research activities in the Polar Regions. Future polar research challenges in relation to climate change, natural, health, and socio-economic impacts, research infrastructures and public outreach/awareness building will be identified. Emphasis will be put on the discussion of polar research needs in the framework of European research policies.
Final agenda and presentations
Accommodation: Suggestions of hotels in the area
Both distant and near, neglected yet essential, the Polar Regions include vast deserts and populated areas. Although they may appear immutable, these highly dynamic environments play a fundamental role in the health and climate of our planet. For example, Antarctica accounts for 90% of the world’s ice and acts as a formidable buffer protecting us from rapid warming. Polar ice caps also constitute archives of world climatic variations, used both for the reconstruction of past climate and for the validation of models predicting future climate changes. With global warming these regions are now facing major challenges like the disappearance of summer pack ice in the Arctic at the end of this century.
Since the first International Polar Year in 1882-83 there have been a number of major international polar interdisciplinary science initiatives which considerably influenced our understanding of global processes. The last International Geophysical Year in 1957-58 focussed on polar research, involved 80,000 scientists from 67 countries and produced unprecedented exploration and discoveries that fundamentally changed how science was conducted in the Polar Regions. Fifty years on, the International Polar Year in 2007-2008 offers enormous opportunities for a further quantum step upwards in our understanding of polar systems through the use of technological developments such as earth observation satellites, autonomous vehicles and molecular biology techniques. It also affords an opportunity to engage the upcoming generation of young Earth System scientists and to get the public to realize how much the cold ends of the sphere we all live on really do influence us.
- Target audience: polar scientists, policy makers, funding agencies, press
- Number of participants: 150