Norway hosts largest-ever polar science conference

08:36, June 09, 2010      

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More than 2,000 scientists from over 60 countries gathered on Tuesday at an exhibition and convention center in Lillestrom, a city about 25 kilometers northeast of Oslo, to attend the five-day polar science conference.

At what was said the biggest polar scientists meeting ever held, the participating scientists were expected to present their latest findings about the climate change in polar regions.

The changes in the polar region, the polar ecosystem, the human dimension of change and linkage between polar regions and global ecological systems, were the main topics at the conference.

On June 8-12, 1,200 scientific presentations were scheduled, a number of IPY films would be shown and an outdoor polar festival would be held in the Oslo city center in addition to a polar exhibition.

Inaugurating the conference on Tuesday morning, Norwegian Crown Prince Haakon said that during the International Polar Year (IPY) polar scientists from all over the world focused their study on the polar regions and the climate change.

"The conference certainly comes at a right time," he said.

Survey and research carried out during the International Polar Year have found that the sea ice decreased more in the three years between 2007 and 2009 than what scientists had expected for 30 years.

Olav Orheim, chairman of the IPY conference steering committee, told the Norwegian news agency (NTB) that scientists and students would have the opportunity to share results and experiences that will help future research.

An important issue regarding the scientific findings is what consequences the melting of the sea ice will bring.

Mojib Latif, a German scientist, said that it was uncertain if the reduction of sea ice was a long-term phenomenon. "It is also unclear if it is anthropogenic or because of the changes in the ocean currents. Even though these questions are unanswered, it is certain that the reduction of the sea ice affects the climate on the earth," Latif said.

The arctic ice reflects sunlight back into space, keeping the temperature on earth cooler. When the ice is melting, more dark areas on the surface emerges. Less sunlight will therefore be reflected and the temperature on earth increases.

The Polar Information Commons (PIC), which will be set up at the conference, will store data collected during the IPY for all to access in order to strengthen scientific understanding and encourage participation in research education, planning, and management in the polar regions. The third in a row, the on-going conference was believed to be an important occasion for the scientists from over the world to engage in their future scientific cooperation.

Source: Xinhua


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