Colm O'Cofaigh Chairman Colm O'Cofaigh Department of Geography, Durham University, UK

'PAST Gateways' (Palaeo-Arctic Spatial and Temporal Gateways) is an IASC endorsed network research programme, the scientific goal of which is to understand Arctic environmental change during the period preceding instrumental records and across decadal to millennial timescales. The focus of the six year programme is on the nature and significance of Arctic gateways, both spatial and temporal, with an emphasis on the transitions between major Late Cenozoic climate events such as interglacials to full glacials and full glacial to deglacial states, as well as more recent Holocene fluctuations. There are three major themes to the programme: (1) Growth and decay of Arctic Ice Sheets; (2) Arctic sea-ice and ocean changes, and (3) Non-glaciated Arctic environments.

PAST Gateways follows on from the previous network programmes of 'PONAM' (Polar North Atlantic Margins), 'QUEEN' (Quaternary Environment of the Eurasian North) and, most recently, 'APEX' (Arctic Palaeoclimate and its Extremes). It is interdisciplinary in nature and seeks to bring together field scientists and numerical modellers to advance understanding about Arctic climate change. The network involves scientists from across Europe, Russia, Canada and the USA, and is lead by a Steering Committee comprising members from participating countries. Each year it will bring together scientists in a multidisciplinary International Meeting to discuss recent research and improvements in the understanding of Arctic environmental change.