International Polar Year (IPY) 2007–2008 was an intense, coordinated field campaign of polar observations, research, and analysis. It was one of the largest collaborative science programmes ever attempted, involving more than 200 projects and people from more than 60 nations. The ambitious agenda had a distinctly multidisciplinary approach, incorporating activities in the physical, biological, and social sciences and including a large education component. Themes included improving understanding of the status of the environment, change in the environment and social systems, global linkages, new frontiers in science, the polar regions as a unique vantage point, and the human dimension.
This IPY followed in a long tradition of polar scientific collaboration and achievement, dating back to the first IPY 150 years ago in 1882–1883, a second IPY in 1932–1933, and the International Geophysical Year in 1957–1958.