The first three International Polar Years (IPYs; 1882-1883, 1932-1933, 19571958) were major periods of intense multidisciplinary polar research, bringing significant new insights into global processes and laying the foundation of knowledge of the polar regions for future decades. The fourth IPY (2007-2009) continues the tradition of international science years and is one of the most ambitious internationally coordinated scientific research programmes ever attempted. In contrast to the three previous IPYs, the new IPY incorporates research within social science and its interface with the natural sciences. The new IPY also includes a wide range of education and outreach activities, and a commitment to excite and train the next generation of polar researchers. We discuss briefly the history of the IPYs, and their contribution to comprehending Antarctic Climate Evolution.

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