The first half of the 20th century brought two world wars that put a damper on international collaboration both in the Arctic and in the world at large. In the scientific world, there remained some efforts to gather data internationally. For example, in 1919, the International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics was established, which included studies of meteorology, oceanography, and vulcanology.37 Several similar scientific socie
31 Elisabeth Crawford, Nationalism and Internationalism in Science, 1880-1939. Four Studies of the Nobel Population (Cambridge, MA: Cambridge University Press, 1992), chapter 2.
32 Richard Vaughan, The Arctic. A History (Gloucestershire: Alan Sutton Publishing, 1994); Young and Einarsson, "Introduction," 23.
33 Michael T. Bravo and Sverker Sorlin, Narrating the Arctic. A Cultural History of Nordic Scientific Practices (Canton, MA: Science History Publications, 2002); Urban Wrâkberg, "Nature Conservation-ism and the Arctic Common of Spitsbergen 1900-1920," Acta Borealis 23, no. 1 (2006): 1.
34 Oran R. Young, Gail Osherenko, eds., Polar Politics. Creating International Environmental Regimes (Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press, 1993); Selin and Linnér, The Quest for Global Sustain-ability.
35 Wrâkberg, "Nature Conservationism and the Arctic Common of Spitsbergen 1900-1920."
36 Lassi Heininen, "Circumpolar International Relations and Geopolitics," in Arctic Human Development Report, ed. AHDR, (Akureyri: Stefansson Arctic Institute, 2004), 207.
37 Spencer R Weart, "The Discovery of Global Warming," www.aip.org/history/climate, International Cooperation-2.
ties were created around this time, including an organization called the International Research Council (1919-1931). There had earlier also been an International Association of Academies (1899-1914). In 1931, these two efforts towards internationalization of science developed into the International Council of Scientific Unions (ICSU).38 This early non-governmental organization later became a major driver for global change research, including early efforts to assess knowledge relevant to climate change.
The idea of cooperation in polar research was still alive. As early as 1925, scientists started discussing a second international polar year. The ambitions were grand with plans for extending the observation networks globally rather than concentrating efforts on polar areas. However, the economic situation forced the enthusiasts to postpone their ideas and when it was eventually launched it was much more modest in scope.39 In the mean time, breakthroughs for aviation brought increasing needs for better weather forecasts. Thus, when the Second International Polar Year eventually was realized in 193233, the IMO had a special focus on improving weather observations in the polar region. These were also important for providing forecasts to the increasing maritime activities. Scientifically, there was an interest in gathering data about the newly discovered jet stream. In the language of the official website for the International Polar Year 20072008 discussing this earlier period, the scientific effort "heralded advances in meteorology, magnetism, atmospheric science, and in the 'mapping' of ionospheric phenomena that advanced radioscience and technology."40 Forty permanent observation stations were established in the Arctic. The world data centers that were created to handle the data are another legacy.41
Was this article helpful?