The Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Program (AMAP) working group of the Arctic Council has a focus on contaminants and climate change impacts. Extensive work is being done in the context of the different AMAP expert groups to synthetize and assess recent research in their respective topic areas. Currently efforts are directed towards the Arctic Council ministerial meeting 2021 to provide background for policy-makers. Topics include for example mercury, marine litter and microplastics, human health, and climate change. Out of these, a marine litter and microplastics expert group is new, whereas a climate expert group is being formed. IASC has an important role in AMAP’s work as supporting the expert groups with finding authors and reviewers for the scientific assessments, and this collaboration should be continued.
During the meeting, the current status of the scientific assessments was presented, and attendees also got the chance to hear a presentation about the recent IPCC Special Report on Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate. From the assessment work, certain knowledge gaps have emerged, which is relevant for IASC as a body facilitating planning of future research efforts. A few examples are:
Regarding microplastics, the freshwater and terrestrial compartments are less known than the marine environment. Also method development is still ongoing, especially regarding nanoplastics.
Regarding oceans and cryosphere in a changing climate (IPCC Special Report), Martin Sommerkorn, the lead author of the polar regions chapter of this report, drew our attention to these knowledge gaps:
- Carbon cycle feedback from permafrost
- Observing and understanding precipitation and snow depth on sea ice
- Modeling regarding Arctic fisheries
- Food web dynamics and higher trophic level responses
- Strategies and tools for reducing risk and strengthening resilience.
All in all, the meeting, and AMAP in general, function as an important link from research to the Arctic states and observers.
Early Career Researcher Hanna Kauko submitted the report above. If you are interested in representing IASC at upcoming Arctic Council meetings, please contact the IASC Secretariat.