IPY-CFL: International Polar Year - Circumpolar Flaw Lead System Study

As part of the 2007-08 International Polar Year, the Canadian government funded an international, multi-year Arctic climate change study based out of the University of Manitoba. Over 350 scientists from 27 different countries, organized into 10 teams, participated in this multidisciplinary and collaborative project. Field work was performed on board the CCGS Amundsen in the Canadian Arctic.

The Science


The circumpolar flaw lead, which forms in the Arctic sea ice each year, is a path of thinner ice and interconnected polynyas (areas of open water). It separates the mobile pack ice from coastal ice attached to the land. As a warming climate causes the sea ice to decline, the structure of the circumpolar flaw lead changes. The main goal of the CFL study was to better understand changes in the flaw lead, and their repercussions for other physical and biological processes in the Arctic. Scientists were split into ten teams based on area of study:

A more detailed introduction to the scientific program is available here.

Outreach Initiatives

Several public outreach initiatives were also part of IPY-CFL. The Artists on Board program brought Vincent Ho of the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra and painter George Gartrell (view a slideshow of his art) onto the Amundsen. High school students and teachers took part in the project through Schools on Board. Additionally, the Two Ways of Knowing book was created by David and Doug Barber to illustrate the importance of Inuit traditional knowledge.

A second book about the science of the CFL project, On the Edge: From Knowledge to Action during the Fourth International Polar Year Circumpolar Flaw Lead System Study (2007-2008), is in production.

For more information about IPY-CFL, contact David Barber.