IPY Oslo Science Conference: Largest Ever Gathering of Polar Scientists
15.06.2010 - Logistics, Atmosphere & Space, Water & Oceans, Land & Geology, Ice & Snow, Flora & Fauna, Human Dimension, Bi-polar
Between the 8th and 12th of June 2010, about 2,300 scientists, policymakers, teachers, journalists and students gathered at the Norway Convention Centre in Lillestrøm close to Oslo at the largest ever gathering of the polar research community: the IPY Oslo Science Conference. During the five days of the conference, researchers, teachers, students and even media organizations of polar institutes gave over 1,800 presentations covering a wide range of disciplines. In addition to the oral presentations, a poster session in the main hall of the convention centre allowed researchers to show off their projects, and teachers their education and outreach activities.
Some highlights of the conference:
- Professor Steven Chown of Stellenbosch University in South Africa, received the first Martha T. Muse Prize for Science and Policy in Antarctica. He was awarded the prize for his outstanding research and his critical role in Antarctic policy as Chief Officer of the SCAR Antarctic Treaty System Standing Committee.
- The Polar Information Commons (PIC), an open access information resource about the Earth's Polar Regions managed by the polar science and data community and accessible to all, was officially launched on 8th June. The PIC will aim to ensure that the IPY data legacy and more general polar science data are openly accessible and safely preserved for future generations.
- During an elaborate opening ceremony, Russian explorer and scientist Arthur Chilingarov, who was part of the controversial expedition that planted the Russian flag on the seabed at the North Pole, called for further research to be undertaken during a proposed ‘Polar Decade’.
- The Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation and the University of the Arctic signed an agreement of cooperation concerning issues in the Arctic, including education, research, and knowledge transfer.
- The Norwegian Polar Institute with the support of the Arctic Council and the Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting (ATCM) led a workshop on the legacy of the IPY. This targeted both scientists and policymakers. Among the things discussed, was the proposed Polar Decade, and sealing the results of the IPY into the framework of society and policy development.
- Representatives of the Association of Polar Early Career Scientists (APECS), the International Antarctic Institute (IAI), and the University of the Arctic signed a memorandum of understanding in which they agreed to advance the academic and professional development of early career polar researchers.
- BBC journalist Sue Nelson hosted the first PolarEXCHANGE sessions, which focused on issues such as sea level rise, biology, and Arctic communities.
- The first Medal of the International Arctic Science Committee (IASC) was awarded to Professor Patrick Webber, Professor Emeritus of Plant Biology at Michigan State University, for his life-long scientific contributions and the promotion of Arctic research through his inspiring mentorship and leadership.
- Dr David Barber of the University of Manitoba gave a presentation on the rapidly shrinking multiyear ice in the Arctic. He recounted his expedition during the 2009 boreal summer aboard the research vessel Amundsen to examine sea ice recovery in the Beaufort Sea. He mentioned that satellite radar show the sea ice extent to be greater than it actually is, and that despite recovery of sea ice extent in 2008 and 2009, sea ice thickness continues to decline.
- During the closing ceremony, the twelve young researchers from APECS with the best poster presentations each received an award.