Amid growing concern over global warming, the Arctic and Antarctic are coming under ever closer scrutiny. It is feared the melting of ice in the remote regions indicates what lies in store for the planet as a whole. International Polar Year hopes to find out more, as Dr Robin E Bell explained.
“This programme is incredibly important because the poles are changing faster than anywhere else on our planet and while they seem remote and off the map, what is happening there will influence our society and societies around the world,” she said.
“If we don’t understand how that is happening, then we won’t be able to manage it as a society.”
As ice melts in the polar regions, researchers are accessing underwater areas previously out of reach. A German-led team, working in the Antarctic, has discovered what are believed to be several new species. International Polar Year, to be officially launched later this week in Paris, will see scientists from more than 60 countries taking part in over 200 projects.