Project Report 

Following a series of online meetings, we organized the first ACZON workshop at the CNR Headquarters in Pisa, Italy, on 11 and 12 January 2023, to explore the possibility of an Arctic network of Critical Zone observatories. The workshop was in hybrid format (in-person and online). Afterwards, a general workshop on “The Arctic Critical Zone under threat: processes, fluxes and challenges” was organized at IASC ASSW 2023, on Tuesday 21 February.

Based on these questions/topics, we then started to identify what are the variables that are needed to provide a quantitative characterization of the Arctic CZ and its changes.

The list of variables to be measured was quite extensive, making it difficult to be effectively monitored at several sites. One next goal is to reduce such number of necessary variables, and the choice will also depend on what specific question will be tackled (e.g., hydrology versus carbon cycle, versus geomorphology, etc.).

In the framework of carbon flux studies, it emerged the need for a standardization of the flux measurements using accumulation chambers, something that e.g. the European ICOS ERIC has already done for measurements using Eddy Covariance techniques. Along these lines, contacts will be established with other researchers using accumulation chambers.

Another topic of relevance is the need for a comparison between the different modelling approaches (e.g. for carbon and water fluxes), and the build-up of a repository where such models can be stored and hopefully used in a open-access way. Ideally, it would be optimal to build a Virtual Research Environment, e.g. in the spirit of the European LifeWatch ERIC, where models, data and data analysis methods can be combined by any researchers who is interested.

The discussion then addressed the future initiatives related to ACZON. These are:

  1. Organize a second workshop online to further discuss the possibilities of a network of Arctic CZ Observatories (by summer 2023).
  1. Identify existing models of the ACZ, which could be possibly upscaled at pan-Arctic level for inclusion in regional climate models (by fall 2023).
  1. Write a common perspective paper on the minimal set of variables to be measured for a network of Arctic CZOs (in fall/winter 2023).
  1. Work on estimating the drivers of wildfires in the pan-boreal/pan-Arctic region, start from literature search, contact with other TWG and IASC projects. Open to anybody who is interested.

In addition, part of the ACZON community will meet again at the 2023 IASC ASSW meeting, at the workshop “The Arctic Critical Zone under threat: processes, fluxes and challenges”, to be held on Tuesday, 21 February 2023. 

Date and Location: 

October 2022  |  Pisa


IASC Working Group / Committees funding the Project:


Project Lead

Antonello Provenzale CNR, Italy 


Year funded by IASC



Project Status





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