Synoptic Arctic Survey
Permafrost on All Channels
QuIESCENT Arctic Workshop on Aerosol-Cloud Interactions
Snow Science Winter School 2019
High Latitude Dust
The IASC Workshop on Effects and Extremes of High Latitude Dust, 13-14 Feb 2019, Reykjavik, Iceland, was jointly organized by the Finnish Meteorological Institute and the Agricultural University of Iceland, in co-operation with the IceDust Aerosol Association, InDust COST Action and IBA-FIN-BCDUST project of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland. The overarching aim of this interdisciplinary workshop was to review our understanding of effects and extremes of high latitude dust in the past, present and future, and to identify research needs. The highlights of the workshop included (but are not limited to), e.g., the following:
• Estimates from field studies, remote sensing and modeling all suggest around 5 % of global dust emissions to originate from the high latitudes.
• WMO SDS-WAS and EU COST InDust initiatives are in support of better understanding high latitude dust pathways and effects.
• Climatically significant cryospheric effects of light-absorbing high latitude dust can be similar to the albedo and melt effects of Black Carbon.
• Dust storms in the capital area of Iceland contribute to almost 25 % of the exceeding of the PM10 health limit.
For more information see the full workshop report.
One focus during the following science sessions was the analysis of additional observations that have been obtained during the first two YOPP Special Observing Periods (SOPs) in the Arctic. Extra polar observations during the SOPs captured several extreme weather events that provide useful benchmarks to assess current forecast capabilities and to understand how such events unfold.
Results presented from first data denial experiments capitalising on the SOP data indicate that the polar observing systems clearly have impacts on forecast skills not only in polar regions but also in the midlatitudes, and that in particular conventional (i.e., surface, wind profiler, and upper-air) observations are most influential during winter.
During parallel breakout sessions on predictability, processes, verification, and user engagement, the workshop participants discussed current questions and topics that are particularly relevant to help shaping the YOPP Consolidation Phase (July 2019 to 2022). During this final phase, YOPP data and research will be synthesized to ensure sustained improvements in environmental prediction capabilities for the polar regions and beyond.
• More than one hundred participants discussed recent progress and ways toward improved polar prediction.
• The meeting was jointly IASC, the YOPP International Coordination Office, and the Finish Meteorological Institute as host.
• The first day of the meeting was dedicated to keynote lectures to set the stage on current efforts to bring together observations and modelling during the Year of Polar Prediction.
For more information see the YOPP website
The air Pollution in the Arctic: Climate, Environment and Societies (PACES) initiative is bottom-up community activity aiming to address deficiencies in our understanding of sources, processing and fate of Arctic air pollution. Specifically, PACES Working Group 1 (WG1) is focused on improving predictive capability around transport of lower latitude pollution to the Arctic and its impacts on climate. Around 20 participants from Europe, North America and Asia met in Takamatsu, Japan to explore plans for new field and modeling initiatives aimed at addressing key uncertainties in these processes.
A major focus of the workshop discussion was the proposed “Investigation of Multiscale Processes Affecting Atmospheric Chemical Transport” (IMPAACT) experiment, which aims to use aircraft to track polluted air masses exported from China out over the Pacific and polewards towards the Arctic. Key uncertainties to be addressed include pollutant transformation and washout during frontal export, and chemical and physical pollutant transformation following continental export and en route to the Arctic. While funding for a central IMPAACT activity is yet to be obtained, several other international aircraft groups described plans that would align well to the IMPAACT goals. Groups from Asian countries, including Japan, expressed interest in conducting linked ship and ground-based activities. PACES WG1 modelling activities were presented, which include using novel perturbed parameter ensemble approaches to robustly identify key processes leading to model uncertainty in Arctic pollutant burdens and distributions. Outcomes from the workshop include the establishment of a PACES WG1 steering group, aimed at coordination of separate aircraft and other field efforts to address the PACES WG1 and IMPAACT goals, as well as plans for modeling work aimed at identifying target processes and species for new aircraft measurements to be made during IMPAACT type experiments.
• Processing during frontal export is a key driver of model uncertainty in Arctic budgets of short-lived climate pollutants.
• Wet deposition processes are likely a key driver of model aerosol differences.
• Perturbed parameter ensemble modeling is a powerful method able to identify important processes that dominate uncertainty in Arctic budgets of sulfate and black carbon aerosol. Some of these will require novel observational approaches to target.
NAG - The Importance of Arctic Glaciers for the Arctic Marine Ecosystem
How do glaciers affect marine primary production in the ocean? This question was raised during the break-out session of the second cross-cutting event “The importance of Arctic glaciers for the Arctic marine ecosystem” between the IASC Cryosphere and Marine working group. The activity was an integral part of the Network on Arctic Glaciology annual meeting and workshop on the dynamics and mass balance of Arctic Glaciers. The workshop brought together 58 participants from 16 countries and was a good framework for the glacier and marine communities to get to know each other better and establish networks for future interdisciplinary collaboration.
The break-out session moreover offered an excellent platform to discuss a synthesis paper of the cross-cutting activity, currently being prepared by Mark Hopwood et al., addressing the following questions: Where and when does glacial freshwater promote marine primary production and where and when does it retard marine primary production? How do variations in glacial discharge timing and location affect marine organisms? How far-reaching are glacial effects of glaciers on marine biogeochemistry?
• Subglacial discharge plumes play an important role in the nutrient cycling near marine-terminating glaciers, as revealed by field-measurements and model simulations.
• Timeseries of freshwater runoff and ice fluxes are datasets frequently requested from marine ecologists. Those are now made increasingly available by glaciologists.
• Tidewater glacier response to climate/ocean warming.
• Changes in fjord circulation in response to tidewater glacier retreat.
The T-MOSAiC Steering Committee met to discuss the recently published Science Plan and the Implementation Plan, and to discuss the involvement of early career researchers and the importance of indigenous participation in all phases of T-MOSAIC. At that meeting, Scott Zolkos from the University of Alberta Canada was appointed as the first early career researcher on the EXCOM, and a second ECR position was established, to be filled via an open call by APECS.
In the afternoon, a T-MOSAiC open workshop took place, with a series of scientific presentations and discussions about several points concerning the Implementation Plan, including the development of Action Groups. The T-MOSAiC team is now on the road towards the 4th T-MOSAiC open workshop, to be held in Arkhangelsk, Russia, in May 2019. Participation is welcome from all IASC sectors.
• During the workshop the T-MOSAiC Science Plan were presented and discussed, with special attention to data management, indigenous priorities, remote sensing and paleoclimate perspectives.
• T-MOSAiC Implementation plan was discussed particularly focused in the creation of Action Groups.
• Early career researchers were again considered important for the program and the selection of two ECR for the EXCOM were decided.
Full information about T-MOSAiC including the endorsement process for projects is available here.
Societal Relevance of Polar Research
On November 27-28 2018, the conference and workshop Societal relevance of polar research was held in the Institute of Oceanology Polish Academy of Sciences in Sopot, Poland. The event, which aroused much interest among the participants from Czech Republic, Germany, Norway, Lithuania, Poland, Russia, the US, was organized under auspices of the IASC, IASSA, the University of Arctic and with kind financial support from the IASC Working Groups. The meeting gathered representatives of many research institutes, universities, school teachers and educators, officials from governments, environmentalists, journalists, writers, photographers and film makers. It was composed of 3 plenary panels with 15 presentations, Q&A sessions, photographic and graphic exhibitions and workshop. This variety of participants and forms of discussion became source of many interesting exchanges of scientific perspectives, practical insights and personal experiences.
Young Permafrost Researchers Workshop, during EUCOP 2018
The PYRN workshop at EUCOP in Chamonix, France in June 2018 gathered 130 early career scientists from 20 different countries for 2 days of lectures, outbreak sessions and a fieldtrip to experience and learn about mountain permafrost from local experts. The workshop focused on topics of interest to early career permafrost scientists from different disciplines. Talks ranged from fieldwork preparation and safety, working with local communities to teaching and communicating effectively. On the second day, we took advantage of the great location in Chamonix at the foot of the Mont Blanc to learn about local environmental settings (geology, glaciology and hydrology), mountain permafrost and permafrost conditions of the Mont Blanc Massif from local researchers during a field trip to the top of Le Brevent.
T-MOSAiC Implementation Workshop
The main goals of the T-MOSAiC Implementation workshop were to develop the Science and Implementation plans as well as to establish the scientific connections between the MOSAiC and T-MOSAiC programs. During the science discussion aspects of the Arctic snow, permafrost and freshwater systems were presented, and the presenters and the audience highlighted the importance of these topics to the program. In the implementation discussions, existing arctic facilities, projects, programs, and transects were identified that could contribute to T-MOSAiC.
A key goal of the workshop was to define the scientific links between the MOSAiC and T-MOSAiC programs. The participation of the chairs of the MOSAiC program, Dr. Markus Rex and Dr. Matthew Shupe resulted in a detailed discussion about the atmosphere-sea-ice-land-people interactions and how both programs will contribute to improved knowledge of the changing Arctic. These joint discussions culminated in the conceptual diagram below that shows the complementarity and points of intersection between the two programs.
Extreme Events in the Arctic, a POLAR2018 Focus Group Discussion
An increasingly significant and concerning issue in polar science is the rising prevalence and severity of extreme events in the Arctic. To help reconcile the gap between the needs and current efforts of the scientific community in understanding these extremes, we hosted a multi-day focus group discussion at the POLAR 2018 meeting in Davos, Switzerland. Fifteen scientists were invited to the discussion group, covering a wide range of research fields: glaciology, oceanography, atmospheric dynamics, marine biology, terrestrial/permafrost, and anthropology.
Our discussions were focused around a few key themes: the definition and characterization of extreme Arctic events; challenges of attribution and detection across various Arctic science sub-disciplines; the interconnectedness of Arctic extremes. We highlighted two different case studies of recent extreme events: (i) record high temperatures and sea ice breakup north of Greenland, and (ii) local-scale tsunamis triggered by glacial calving events with impacts on local communities. Extreme events require and indeed provide a useful framework to bring together scientists across disciplines. We hope our discussion summary and related activities will motivate further efforts to increase our understanding of extreme events in the Arctic.
• Hosted a multi-day focus group discussion at the POLAR 2018 meeting in Davos, Switzerland on extreme events in the Arctic.
• Attended by a diverse group of 15 scientists spanning various sub-disciplines of Arctic science.
• A useful networking and learning opportunity for the individuals involved, with plans in place to produce a summary paper highlighting our key recommendations to the wider community.
The air Pollution in the Arctic: Climate, Environment and Societies (PACES) initiative has been developed as a bottom-up community action to address deficiencies in our understanding of sources, processing and fate of Arctic air pollution. PACES WG2 focuses on interactions between Arctic air pollution and societies. Approaches to address key research questions under consideration are observational studies guided by community concerns, investigation of local air quality in Arctic communities, and feedbacks between economic development, air pollution and environmental change in the Arctic. A first city has been identified for a major international field study: Fairbanks, Alaska, USA. The IASC co-sponsored workshop brought together the scientific and local air quality communities to discuss ideas on how to investigate the air pollution problems of Fairbanks. The outcome of the workshop is to write a whitepaper on the ALaskan Pollution and Chemical Analysis (ALPACA) project. The white paper serves as a basis to acquire funding for an extensive scientific study.
• Fairbanks is the most polluted city in the USA in terms of particulate matter in winter.
• The emission sources of the particulate matter and precursors thereof are not fully understood, and hence require investigation.
• The cold and dark environment in the wintertime Arctic creates very specific conditions under which atmospheric processes occur that are still largely unknown. ALPACA will tackle these knowledge gaps specifically.
Arctic Freshwater Resources Initiative (ArcFRI)
The Arctic Freshwater Resources Initiative (ArcFRI) project gathers an international and interdisciplinary consortium of senior and early-career researchers to enhance our understanding of how freshwater resources in Arctic respond to and are possibly threatened by the present rapid change in the Arctic, both climate and land-use, water-use change, while also exploring opportunities to sustain and improve water resources in the region. In the first ArcFRI workshop in Stockholm, the team continued the preparation of a perspective paper that sets out the key challenges and opportunities for freshwater resources under scenarios of changing geophysical and socio-economic conditions in the Arctic. This first workshop was the first gathering of the research team, and work focused on the structure of the review/perspective paper as well as producing the first text towards a draft manuscript. In addition to IASC, this workshop was also co-sponsored by the Bolin Centre for Climate Research at Stockholm University, which supported the workshop with premises, logistical organization and the participation of one senior researcher in a public seminar in conjunction with the workshop.
• The Workshop identified a set of key indicators for impacts on Arctic freshwater resources.
• The Workshop reviewed driving forces and associated freshwater system components.
• The Workshop discussed how to analyze the impact of various geophysical and socio-economic scenarios on the identified indicators.
The Importance of Arctic Glaciers for the Arctic Marine Ecosystem (NAG)
The workshop integrated two special activities. The first, “Understanding atmosphere-glacier-ocean interactions and their implications for the pan-Arctic glacier mass budget” represents a long-term strategy of the Cryosphere Working Group and NAG. The second theme broke new ground: an IASC cross-cutting activity of the Cryosphere and Marine working groups of IASC, addressing “The importance of Arctic glaciers for the Arctic marine ecosystem”.
Interdisciplinary work requires that researchers from the involved disciplines get to know each other and learn to understand each-others scientific jargon. The IASC cross-cutting activity contributed in building a bridge between the cryosphere and biosphere community. NAG aims to elaborate this initiative in the years to come and work towards the involvement of members from other relevant disciplines, such as physical oceanography, ocean biogeochemistry, as well as terrestrial ecology.
The next workshop on the dynamics and mass balance of Arctic Glaciers and Network on Arctic Glaciology annual meeting will be held at Bardøla Hotel in Geilo, Norway, 20-24 January 2019. More information will be distributed via Cryolist and the IASC-NAG website until summer 2018.