The concept of initiating a CEON was first raised at a meeting of the Forum of Arctic research Operators (FARO) at Arctic Science Summit Week (ASSW) in 2000 by Tom Pyle (US representative to FARO). Members of FARO endorsed the CEON concept specifying that CEON is to promote environmental observations in the Arctic and dissemination of these to Arctic researchers whilst encompassing and building on the strengths of existing stations and environmental observatory networks active in the Arctic.

In June 2002 Tom Pyle, head of Arctic Section of the Office of Polar Programs within National Science Foundation of the United States tasked Patrick Webber (President of the International Arctic Science Committee - IASC), and Craig Tweedie at Michigan State University with scoping and developing the CEON concept.


The initial development of CEON has been based on the notion that early successes will be met by facilitating the activities of existing environmental sites and networks active in the Arctic and increasing the potential for integration and syntheses between sites. Specifically, this entails promoting increased transfer of knowledge and standardization of research methods between networks and sites, and increasing accessibility to data and linkages to multidisciplinary and international programs.

Accordingly, presentations on the CEON concept were made at numerous meetings of organizations/research programs active in the Arctic over a short period of time in order to establish an initial momentum for the development of CEON. Presentations have focused on the necessity for the CEON initiative to meet the needs of the participating research community, science administrators, policy makers, industry, education and indigenous communities whilst providing linkages between disciplines and existing networks and connectivity spanning regional to circum-arctic and global scales.


Deliberately, presentations of the CEON concept have made no mention or suggestion of measurements or processes that should or could be made or investigated. Instead, observers have been asked to introduce their own bias into the development of CEON by providing feedback to the following question: "What would you do if you had the opportunity to conduct/maintain standardized and integrated time series observations across multiple research stations and networks in the Arctic?" This 'bottom-up' approach has facilitated the development and scoping of CEON based on the experience, needs and future directions envisaged by a broad range of potential CEON stakeholder and user groups.


The CEON concept has been presented and feedback for the development of CEON gathered from the following scientific meetings:
  • Alaska NEON workshop, Fairbanks (USA), August 26, 2002.
  • ENVINET meeting, Abisko (Sweden), September 11-15, 2002.
  • IASC/ITEX/FATE - CATB workshop, Finse (Norway), October 3-4, 2002.
  • ITEX, Finse (Norway), October 5-7, 2002.
  • SCANNET meeting, Reykjavik (Iceland), October 16-20, 2002.
  • CALM workshop, Lewes, (USA), November 11-15, 2002.
  • US Polar Research Board meeting, Washington (USA), November 25, 2002.
  • ARCSS Meeting AGU, San Francisco (USA), December 5, 2002.
  • US Arctic LTER Meeting, Woods Hole (USA), March 1-4, 2003.
  • Arctic Science Summit Week, Kiruna (Sweden), April 19-26, 2003.
  • SpecNet, Santa Barbara (USA), June 1-4, 2003.
  • IASC/FATE workshop, Skogur (Iceland), June 17-24, 2003.
  • 8th International Conference on Permafrost, Zurich (Switzerland), July 21-25, 2003.
  • SEARCH Open Science Meeting, Seattle (USA), October 27, 2003.
  • Circum-arctic GIS planning meeting, Seattle October 30-31, 2003.
  • Arctic Council Senior Arctic Officials meeting, Reykjavik, October 22-23, 2003.
  • Circum-Arctic Terrestrial Biodiversity initiative, Uppsala, November 10-12, 2003.
  • US Polar Research Board, Washington DC (USA), November 17-18, 2003.
  • AGU, San Francisco (USA), December 7-12, 2003.