INTAROS mapping of requirement for observations in the Arctic

Thomas.Soltwedel [ at ]


The ambition of INRAROS Initial Requirement Mapping was to define the high-level requirements of an integrated Arctic Observing System (iAOS) based on identification of the major societal drivers of a sustained observing system in the Arctic region, driven by issues affecting the entire area and expressed through international agreements (i.e. climate, environment, biodiversity, sustaining ecosystem services, improving the livelihoods of indigenous and local communities, support to maritime safety, etc.). The work was based on knowledge collected from literature studies, projects, programmes and workshops, and cover an evaluation of feasibility, readiness, and impact to provide guidance on future network design. It was decided to focus on the individual thematic areas - meteorology, terrestrial, cryosphere, sea ice and ocean – separately with the purpose of capturing the special requirements, phenomena and essential variables to observe within each of them. It very well known that these thematic areas are closely interconnected and have different levels of maturity in scientific understanding of the phenomena, definitions of essential variables and observing capacity. It is therefore a big challenge to INTAROS to use the collected information to design an integrated multipurpose and multiplatform observations system to optimises efforts and costs. Observations serve several purposes: • Process studies to gain fundamental understanding of phenomena, processes and interrelationships, which is fundamental for development of reliable forecasting models • Establish long timeseries of Essential variables at key locations to monitor variability and changes in the system • To assimilate into as well as to validate models The detailed analysis of phenomena and observation requirements for the entire region given in this report reveals the following conclusions: • The Arctic is a region very sensitive to environmental changes. There is a very close interrelation and delicate balance between the five thematic areas (atmosphere, terrestrial, cryosphere, sea ice and ocean) especially in relation to solar energy retainment and radiation budget and hydrological cycle. This has a great impact on physical, chemical and biological processes in the area. • Due to the hostile environment, there is a great lack of basic observations in the Arctic that can support scientific understanding of key processes. Most of the existing data are collected via time limited research project. This lack of process knowledge is reflected in big errors in forecasting models – operational as well as climate. • It is therefore crucial to establish a sustained Integrated Arctic Observing System that in the short timeframe can increase fundamental scientific understanding of the complex and sensitive Arctic environment and in a longer timeframe can secure a robust basis for decision making to the benefit of the people living in the Arctic, the environment, the broader international society, and commercial activities. • It is foreseen that a future Arctic observation system will rely heavily on satellite observations supplemented more traditional in-situ platforms. Especially the ocean will use several other platforms such as ships, profiling floats, gliders, moorings, AUV’s etc. to monitor the interior of the Arctic Ocean. • In all countries around the Arctic, there are community based observing systems that represent a strong potential for further development. Existing activities shall form the natural basis for a future more intensive and integrated sustainable Arctic Observing System.

Item Type
Conference (Talk)
Primary Division
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Research Networks
Publication Status
Event Details
Arctic Frontiers 2018, 23 Jan 2018 - 25 Jan 2018.
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Buch, E. , Tjernström, M. , Quegan, S. , Ahlström, A. , Heygster, G. , Soltwedel, T. , Danielsen, F. , Ottesen, G. , Johannessen, T. and Sandven, S. (2018): INTAROS mapping of requirement for observations in the Arctic , Arctic Frontiers 2018, 23 January 2018 - 25 January 2018 .

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