Arctic Urbanization and Sustainable Development
CATCH: the Cryosphere and ATmospheric CHemistry
Glacier-Ocean Interactions and their Impact on Arctic Marine Ecosystems
6th Snow Science Winter School
CoAST: Coastal Arctic Science Teams
Gender in Polar Research: Gendered field work conditions, epistemologies and legacies
Nunataryuk / T-MOSAiC Summer School
Arctic Council Observer Activities
MOSAiC Summer School
Arctic Futures 2050
Synoptic Arctic Survey
Permafrost on All Channels
The Future of Arctic Fjord Systems
The IASC-funded workshop “The Future of Arctic Fjord Systems“ facilitated a transdisciplinary forum for Arctic natural and social scientists for knowledge exchange on the burning issues associated to the transition of the Artic towards a more boreal regime. The workshop focussed on the notion of Arctic fjord systems as coupled social ecological systems (SES), and explored linkages between fjord ecosystem services and changes in their provision and use, as well as adaptation options for industry and governance. It thus aligned with the strategic foci in the Social science and Humanities, Marine and Cryosphere groups. The discussions during the workshop were synthesized into the concept of the transdisciplinary research project proposal FACE-IT (The Future of Arctic Coastal Ecosystems – Identifying Transitions in Fjord Systems and adjacent coastal areas”). In this way the workshop funded by IASC represents a significant milestone in the process of proposal writing. The full proposal has been submitted to the European Commission.
• High-profile discussions on the concept of Arctic fjords as coupled socio-ecological systems.
• Identification of pressing research needs to minimize the level of uncertainty in predictions on the future Arctic
• Final elaboration of a comprehensive research proposal under the H2020 program.
BEPSII: Biogeochemical Exchange Processes at Sea-Ice Interfaces
The international expert community on sea ice biogecochemical processes at sea-ice interfaces (BEPSII) had another productive meeting in conjunction with the international IGS sea-ice symposium in Winnipeg. Five Task Groups were established to address and report on several sucessful intercomparison projects, technology and data collection, modelling and observational process, synthesis, and outreach. Small group and pleneray discussions were held to draft an extended outline for a BEPSII community paper on sea-ice ecosystem services. The Paper will cover both Arctic and Antarctic and will highlight ecologically and biologically significant components of the sea-ice ecosystem and what services the system provides to the human society. Several other integrative procects are in the planning stage, including to built a better/closer link with the atmospheric chemistry community CATCH and to revisit the sea-ice carbon pump due to many new discoveries and insights in recent years.
• BEPSII prepared a community paper/position analysis summarizing "The future of Arctic sea-ice biogeochemistry and ice-associated ecosystems" which will be submitted to Nature Climate Change shortly.
• BEPSII/ECV-ice successfully performed intercomparison projects (PP and light) at the Saroma-ka Lagoon in Japan and the is preparing upcoming intercomparison projects on sea-ice CO2 flux measurements and primary production at the sea-ice chamber (University of East Anglia) and in Cambridge Bay (Canada, 2021).
• BEPSII chaired a session at the IGS sea-ice symposium in addition to two other biology related session, which greatly enhanced the focus on biogeochemical processes in the sea-ice region, compared to earlier IGS sea-ice symposia
For more information, read BEPSII full report.
During the ASSW2019 a T-MOSAiC workshop took place in Arkhangelsk, Russia. The highlights of the workshop were the discussions of the T-MOSAiC implementation plan particularly the creation and definition of Action Groups that will address the scientific objectives of the Science Plan during the implementation phase of 2019-2020. Presentations were made by Arctic researchers (including early career researchers) that included topics such as Arctic dust, forest fires and several subjects related to the Indigenous populations of the North. A joint meeting with RATIC culminated in the creation of the Arctic Infrastructure Action Group whereby RATIC activities will now contribute to T-MOSAiC. The presentations were followed by discussions among all participants that enriched the science objectives of T-MOSAiC and the aim to achieve to a better understanding the fast-changing Arctic.
• A workshop on the IASC project Terrestrial Multidisciplinary distributed Observatories for the Study of Arctic Connections (T-MOSAiC) took place during ASSW2019 in Arkhangelsk, Russia
• The T-MOSAiC implementation plan was presented based on Action Groups covering a broad range of topics relevant to the Science Plan, and the scientific community was invited to participate
• Scientific discussions about Arctic infrastructure and other related issues were discussed through a joint meeting led by the Rapid Arctic Transitions through Infrastructure and Climate (RATIC) group
PACES Workshop on Northern Urbanization: Sustainable Cities
Urbanization is accelerating globally, also in Northern high latitudes. This trend causes transformation in the geosphere, biosphere, atmosphere and hydrosphere, affecting the human-environment system over both short and long timescales. Cities represent a complex and highly dynamic interface between Earth components (atmosphere, land, water etc.) and societal factors (health, social equity, life quality etc.). At the same time, cities are very sensitive to climate change. This vulnerability is strongly pronounced in the Arctic, a region that is warming at twice the rate of the global average, and has direct and indirect impacts on the local livelihoods, infrastructure, water resources, ecology and air quality.
More than 20 people met at the workshop in Arkhangelsk organized by the “air Pollution in the Arctic: Climate, Environment and Society” (PACES) project to discuss a way forward how to tackle this complex and highly interdisciplinary challenge. Among the topics discussed were a pilot study, the Alaskan Layered air Pollution and Chemical Analysis (ALPACA) project which will be conducted in Fairbanks starting from winter 2019 spearheaded by PACES. Furthermore, further pilot studies for the Kola area and Apatity in Russia as well as Rovaniemi or Lumea in northern Europe, with participation from Local authorities and citizens, have been suggested.
• Air pollution: Urban emissions in the Arctic can be high due to cold temperatures (heating) and they are trapped in shallow air layers. Applying air quality regulations developed in the mid-latitudes might not solve the problem, because a) human activities and meteorology are different, and b) toxicology of air pollutants in cold temperatures might be different as well as the physiology or local residents which can potentially lead to different health response.
• Climate change and infrastructure: A warming Arctic means for some cities that infrastructure built to endure several months of very cold temperatures might not be suitable for temperatures varying around zero degree Celsius that is creating cycles of melting and freezing. A number of adaptation measures might be needed, especially in urban areas that create heat islands “pushing” the local temperatures towards the freezing/melting point.
• Twin city approach: The World Meteorological Organization is already conducting a program based on twin cities (locations with similar characteristics such as size, infrastructure, climate) to develop strategies for the monitoring and assessment of risks (and opportunities) associated with weather and air pollution in urban environments. Arctic cities are not yet included. We propose to identify 1-3 pairs of cities to join the program.
For more information see the PACES website
The impacts of climate change, infrastructure, and the interactions between them in vulnerable Arctic landscapes are both complex and urgent. The Rapid Arctic Transitions due to Infrastructure and Climate (RATIC) initiative was created in 2014-15 as a forum to promote sustainable infrastructure as a key theme in Arctic research planning—one that requires multidisciplinary collaboration by scientists, local communities, governments and industry to be successful. This full-day workshop brought together 51 participants from 11 countries to share their work and identify research priorities. The group also discussed opportunities to advance RATIC goals through participation in the three-year, circumpolar T-MOSAiC (Terrestrial Multidisciplinary distributed Observatories for the Study of Arctic Connections) project.
At the May 2019 workshop in Arkhangelsk, RATIC participants:
• Prioritized key scientific questions related to sustainable Arctic infrastructure in natural, social and built environments and identified a range of data products that would help answer these questions, including a pan-Arctic geospatial database of existing and planned infrastructure, a time-series analysis based on available imagery, and an update to the International Permafrost Association (IPA) Circum-Arctic map of permafrost and ground-ice conditions.
• Developed a conceptual approach for pan-Arctic infrastructure research that would use a classification of infrastructure types to inform selection of monitoring and observation sites in collaboration with local communities and in places where access and resources exist.
• Agreed to form an Arctic Infrastructure Action Group under T-MOSAiC as the nexus for RATIC activities in 2019-2021. More on the goals and members of the action group can be found at www.t-mosaic.com/infrastructure.html
Workshop presentations, abstracts, and a summary report are available here.
5th Snow Science Winter School 2019
The theme of the 5th school was snow on sea ice. Theory-oriented lectures took place in the morning, followed by demonstrations and practical experiments by the graduate and post-graduate students in the field. The island of Hailuoto in the Bay of Bothnia provided a unique opportunity to work on sea ice. The site has been used previously by FMI as well as Universities in Finland for oceanographic and sea ice studies. In conjunction with the Snow School on preceding weeks, a field training session for the MOSAiC campaign was organized with some lecturers and students participating in both events.
• 21 students from diverse fields participated in a week-long winter school, learning field techniques for scientific quantification snow properties in a natural environment
• The site in Hailuoto, Finland, made possible to conduct measurements of snow on sea ice
• This is of primary importance concerning the upcoming Multidisciplinary drifting Observatory for the Study of Arctic Climate (MOSAiC) campaign (www.mosaic-expedition.com). Many of the school’s students and lecturers will participate in the campaign.
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.