Recent international efforts to create a sustained arctic observatory network capitalize on existing networks in all disciplines. Circumpolar-level support for coordinated monitoring activities in the Arctic is hampered by the international nature of scientific, indigenous, industrial and particularly governmental interests there. The International Polar Year (IPY, 2007-2009) provided a springboard for creating, expanding and coordinating such networks. One of four projects supported by the International Permafrost Association (IPA) focused on the circumpolar arctic coastal zone and led the IPY cluster on coastal observatories. The Arctic Circumpolar Coastal Observatory Network (ACCOnet) focused its IPY activities on network design and the definition of sites and monitoring activities. We describe the history and motivation behind the network and the sites that currently participate. Nationally funded coastal monitoring activities continue and coordinate within the Arctic Coastal Dynamics (ACD) project. A database of remote sensing products for observatory network sites was established as an IPY project and continues to expand. It will contribute to a circumpolar evaluation of past decadal scale and near-future annual-scale coastal dynamics at over 40 sites. We conclude that additional resources are required to adequately capture the spatial and temporal variability of change in the circumpolar Arctic coastal zone and speculate on optimal network design.
Helmholtz Research Programs > PACES I (2009-2013) > TOPIC 1: The Changing Arctic and Antarctic > WP 1.5: The Role of degrading Permafrost and Carbon Turnover in the Coastal, Shelf and Deep-Sea Environment