Alaska Satellite Facility - Distributed Active Archive Center

International Polar Year 2007-2008

International Polar Year (IPY) was a collaborative research event focused on the Arctic and Antarctic. The history of IPY started in 1882 with the first year-long International Polar Year. Since then, a second IPY occurred in 1932-33 and an International Geophysical Year took place in 1957-8. Organized by the International Council for Science (ICSU) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the fourth IPY spanned two years (2007-2009) in order to emphasize a sense of urgency in polar research. As polar research has continued, IPY has recognized that changes in polar areas have a global impact.

Changes in the extent, thickness and duration of snow and ice in polar regions affect local ecosystems and economic hot spots like fisheries and agricultural areas. Millions of lives around the globe, especially those living in the north, are affected by these changes in food and water availability and arctic pollution. IPY 07-09 focused on collaborative research and extensively explored the complex relationships between the Arctic and Antarctic and other elements. Over 60 countries and thousands of researchers participated, investigating more than 200 projects. Topics included Arctic and Antarctic relationships with geophysical elements, oceans and sea ice, Earth’s atmosphere, space, and human relations (a new IPY topic).

The focus on collaborative research was intended to build a foundation of international, interdisciplinary partnerships in the scientific community that would continue after IPY 07-09 ended. Cooperative research partnerships would aid polar research in making progress with fewer obstacles, and allow scientists and global communities alike to understand the effects of change in polar regions.

Global Inter-agency IPY Polar Snapshot Year (GIIPSY)

ASF hosts an archive of the IPY project titled the Global Inter-agency IPY Polar Snapshot Year (GIIPSY). GIIPSY’s objective was to obtain high-definition satellite snapshots of the polar regions during 2007-2008. The primary purpose is to use these snapshots as benchmarks for gauging past and future environmental changes in the polar ice, ocean, and land.

In the spirit of IPY, GIIPSY scientists also seek to secure these datasets as our legacy to the next generations of polar scientists. GIIPSY comprises a group of polar scientists from around the world who have assembled a consolidated list of thematic objectives that call upon the collective resources of international and national space agencies. The programmatic goal is to identify ways in which the resources of space-faring countries can be used in such a way as to collect data with which to address these scientific objectives, without putting undo burden on any single organisation. To that end, GIIPSY seeks cooperation in terms of spaceborne instruments, data relay systems, ground segments, processing, and data archiving and distribution capabilities.

IPY Data Archive

ASF was tasked with making its rich archive of imagery from the polar regions available to the science community for IPY. Satellite images over these remote regions allow researchers to make observations without facing extreme temperatures and with great cost savings.

Data were made available through a collaborative effort between the Canadian Space Agency (CSA), NASA, and the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF). Funding was provided from both UAF and NASA for the project. ASF’s goal is to continue to make these data available to a new generation of researchers interested in studying the Arctic or Antarctic.

How to Download IPY Data

To access the IPY datasets, first create an Earthdata account if you don’t already have one. Then click a dataset link below.

If your account is new, or you are unable to download data, please contact User Services or via the phone number at the bottom of this page. Ask to have IPY and unrestricted dataset permissions set.

Download IPY Datasets

Other Links

Global Inter-agency IPY Polar Snapshot Year

The documents listed here discuss the requirements to obtain spaceborne snapshots of the Polar Regions and key high latitude processes. Documents have been prepared by the international cryospheric community under the auspices of the approved IPY project titled the Global Inter-agency IPY Polar Snapshot Year (GIIPSY).