While the US media is consumed with the Oscars tonight, and even those who consider themselves green might be rooting for Al Gore, BBC has published a story on the International Polar Year that actually focuses on science rather than the bears.
Projects to be undertaken over the next two years have six major aims:If they can do what they are setting out to do, then many of the questions about global warming, the rate of sea level rise, etc. will be answered. I have little personal doubt as to what will be determined.
- determine the current environmental status of the polar regions
- quantify past and present environmental and social changes, and improve future projections
- understand links between the poles and the rest of the planet
- investigate the frontiers of science in the regions
- use the polar areas to develop and enhance observation of the Earth's interior and of space
- explore the cultural, historical and social aspects of circumpolar human communities
While they are doing these studies, I hope that everyone spends a little time thinking about Jared Diamond's premise in Collapse. It is not the event itself the determines civilization's fate, but rather how we respond to it.