Meetings >> CEON Planning meeting > > Appendix C: Presentation Abstracts*

*NB Where a presenter has not submitted an abstract but is representing a network, the title page of the respective network web site has been included. All abstracts are listed in order according to the agenda above and are labeled according to the day during which the presentation will be delivered followed by the session number and presentation number within a given session.

1.1 Welcome, Background, Perspectives and Challenges for the development of CEON (session chair Terry Callaghan).

1.1.02 Craig Tweedie: Background, rational and conceptual development of CEON to date.
The concept of a Circum-Arctic Environmental Observatories Network (CEON) was endorsed by the Forum of Arctic Research Operators (FARO - and the International Arctic Science Committee (IASC - at Arctic Science Summit Week (ASSW) in April 2003. CEON is founded on the rationale that:

  • Relative to other regions on the globe, the Arctic is experiencing dramatic changes in climate and patterns of human land use. Environmental and socio-economic drivers associated with these changes originate both within and outside of the Arctic system.
  • Change detection & predictive power of these changes are low and are limited/ threatened by the loss of sustained environmental observation time series in northern high latitudes.
  • A circum-arctic environmental observatories network that can provide adequate, diverse & sustained time series observations has the potential to dramatically improve our understanding of the Arctic system and how it may respond to a variety of environmental and societal changes.
  • There is a well-established science infrastructure and a tremendous amount of research and monitoring ongoing in the Arctic. Generally, the broader international and multidisciplinary impacts of this research are not fully tapped due to limitations associated with research exposure, communication, data availability and differences in technologies and sampling methods.
Subsequently, CEON aims to facilitate the collection and distribution of sustained observational time series of environmental parameters in the Arctic by forming partnerships with existing and developing networks, collaborations and research stations/observatories and enhancing the potential for integrative linkages between these. In doing so, duplication of observation effort will be avoided by maintaining the autonomy of specialist partners. The benefits to partners are likely to include increased broader impacts via improved transfer of knowledge, international collaboration and exposure, expansion of standardized and integrated measurements, and enhanced connectivity/representation at the international level.

Faro Screenshot

IASC Screen Shot

1.1.04 Bill Heal: What role or roles could CEON play in promoting international collaboration, exchange of knowledge and education, and furthering 'big picture' science in the Arctic?

Atmospheric and marine sciences in the Arctic generate extensive and detailed observations of the physical environment through sophisticated instrumentation and common platforms (e.g. satellites and ships). Marine ecology is well supplied with fisheries information. The key gap is in the detection and understanding of changes in terrestrial (including freshwater) systems where knowledge has accumulated mainly through fixed national platforms (field sites) and individual environmental and ecological projects.

The need for improved knowledge and information from around the Arctic is increasing because:

  • The Arctic is a highly integrated, large-scale ecosystem and changes in one region impacts on other regions.
  • Rates of environmental and social change are increasing.
  • Environmental and ecological information is extensive but fragmented by political borders, geography and academic disciplines.
  • Demand for advice and application of knowledge is growing as co-operation amongst Arctic nations increases and residents become more involved.
  • Changes in the Arctic impact significantly on lower latitudes.
  • There is inadequate representation of the Arctic in Global and continental networks eg GTOS, IGBP, ILTER.
Understanding and forecasting social, economic and environmental changes needs integrated information and understanding of regional variability within the Arctic. Recent assessments by AMAP, CAFF and ACIA demonstrate the capacity to collate existing information from individual sites and studies. But they expose:
  • Inconsistent and inaccessible terrestrial observations.
  • The lack of a secure infrastructure within the Arctic to integrate existing sites and networks and capable of both rapid and long-term responses.
Many of the pieces, including the field platforms and expertise exist. Can CEON integrate the small pieces to provide the Big Picture?

1.1.05 Terry Callaghan: The Arctic Climate Impact Assessment (ACIA); the potential scope, aims, objectives, and structure of CEON; and the challenges of this meeting.

ACIA Screen Shot

1.2 Potential disciplinary interests in CEON (session chair Craig Tweedie).

1.2.01 Oleg Anisimov (IPCC): Arctic climate and climate change.
There is growing evidence that climatic changes are more pronounced in the Arctic than in other parts of the world. IPCC (2001) concluded that:

  • In the Arctic, extensive land areas show a 20th Century warming trend in air temperature, of up to 5C. Over sea ice, there has been a slight warming in the 1961-1990 period. Precipitation has increased.
  • Arctic sea ice extent has decreased by 2.9% per decade over the 1978-1996 period, sea ice has thinned and there are now more melt days per summer. Sea ice extent in the Nordic Seas has decreased by 30% over the last 130 years.
  • Atlantic water flowing into Arctic Ocean has warmed and the surface layer has become thinner. The mixed layer in the Beaufort Sea has become less saline.
  • The regions underlain by permafrost have been reduced in extent and a general warming of ground temperatures has been observed in many areas.
  • In summary, many observations of environmental change in the Arctic show a trend consistent with warming and similar to that predicted by GCMs.
There are several key questions that are still open.
  • Are the observed climatic and environmental changes in the Arctic within the range of natural variability or they are rather governed by anthropogenic factors,
  • Is there a consistency between the changes of temperature, precipitation, soil moisture, river runoff, snow, ice, permafrost, and vegetation in the Arctic,
  • Is it possible to predict climatic and environmental changes in the future, and what observational data are necessary for such prediction.
Comprehensive data assimilation system that synthesizes observations and modeling is needed to address these questions. Although the principal structure of such a system is relatively well understood, it is yet to be developed.

1.2.02 Ole Humlum (IPA): Permafrost and periglacial processes.
The International Permafrost Association (IPA), founded in 1983, has as its objectives fostering the dissemination of knowledge concerning permafrost and promoting cooperation among persons and national or international organizations engaged in scientific investigation and engineering work on permafrost. The IPA is governed by its officers and a Council consisting of representatives from 23 Adhering Bodies (national or individuals) having interests in some aspect of theoretical, basic and applied frozen ground research, including permafrost, seasonal frost, artificial freezing and periglacial phenomena. Committees, working groups, and task forces organize and coordinate research activities and special projects.

The Global Terrestrial Network for Permafrost (GTN-P) was initiated by IPA to organize and manage a global network of permafrost observatories for detecting, monitoring, and predicting climate change. The Circumpolar Active Layer Monitoring (CALM) programme is part of GTN-P and will be outlined, monitoring active layer thickness, surface- and ground temperatures and investigating the relation to current meteorological conditions (incl. snow cover). Finally, the Arctic Coastal Dynamics (ACD) programme will shortly be described, focussing on the 200,000 km long circum-Arctic coastal margin. The overall objective of ACD is to improve understanding of circum-Arctic coastal dynamics as a function of environmental forcing, coastal geology and cryology and morphodynamic behavior.

1.2.03 Torben Christensen (FATE): Carbon balance, land cover change and retrospective change assessment.
FATE Screenshot

1.2.04 Mads Forchhammer: Time series analysis: dynamics of phenology and populations.
Mads Bio

1.2.05 Magdalena Muir (CAFF): Biodiversity and Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna (CAFF).
CAFF Screenshot

1.2.06 Lars-Otto Reiersen: Environmental contamination in the Arctic.
AMAP Screenshot

1.2.07 John Crump: Concerns of indigenous peoples in the North.

1.3 Potential network partners of CEON (session chair Morten Rasch).

1.3.01 Terry Callaghan: SCANNET.
SCANNET Screenshot

1.3.02 Jon Borre Orbaek: ENVINET.
European Network for Environmental Research - ENVINET II; Integrated Infrastructure Initiative for the European Research Area. Cordination and harmonisation of research, facilities and services.

ENVINET II is a European Integrated Infrastructure Initiative networking 20 Major Environmental Research Infrastructures (RI) from the European Alps to the Arctic. The participating RI's are either atmospheric, marine and/or terrestrial, of which most of them offer transnational access to international guest researchers. The participating RI's are distributed in the three subgroups according to the following list:

  • Atmospheric Sciences: 11 Research Infrastructures
  • Marine Sciences: 7 Research Infrastructures
  • Terrestrial Sciences: 9 Research Infrastructures
ENVINET II is built up over activities aiming at offering new structuring and collaboration for the full cluster of participating RI's, with networking activities (NA's) offering essential services, of disciplinary and cross-disciplinary relevance, for the European Community. Transnational access activities (TA's) cover atmospheric, terrestrial and marine research, whereas the Joint Research Activities (JRA's) are set up to improve the research infrastructure:
  • 13 Networking Activities (NA)
  • 6 Transnational Access Activities (TA)
  • 6 Joint Research Activities (JRA).
ENVINET II received high scientific ranking by the European Commission (FP6) but will not be funded partly because of financial limitations. Several essential services developed under the first network project (ENVINET I) are of relevance for CEON. These are the:
  • Environmental Research Infrastructures Directory
  • Environmental Project Directory / ENVINET Project Directory
  • Station Managers Forum
  • Harmonising activities related to research methods, protocols, data and instruments.
1.3.03 Wojtek Dobinski: The Polish research Station at Hornsund, Svalbard.
Thank you very much for inviting me as a representative from Poland to participation in CEON initiative. I'm very satisfied of your invitation because this is a new opportunity to make use of richness of Polish arctic research.

In my short speech I would like to point out few things, which - in my opinion - can be helpful in CEON programming. In fact - as it was pointed out in CEON agenda - relative to other regions on the globe, the Arctic is experiencing dramatic changes in climate. Possibly, change detection and predictive power of these changes are still low and threatened by the loss of sustained environmental observation time series in northern high latitudes. But from the other hand there are still some series of observations which are completed in former years or even decades which cannot be widely distributed because of relatively high costs of gathering those datasets. I think, that one of the CEON initiative could be an attempt to find out the solution for this problem i.e. find a funding source which allows to identify, gather, and turn into the digital form the datasets which need it.

The second thing I would like to stress, is keeping equilibrium between engineering: i.e.: data acquisition, format, storage, station equipment etc, and science i.e. finding new principles, discovering rights which govern the nature. The way of data acquisition proposed by CEON could be very good means for identifying serious scientific problems which need solutions, and allow to avoid some kind of fashion which occurred and changed from time to time in the science of the XX century.

Polish contribution to the CEON program might be making available all the datasets collected by the Polish Arctic Station localized at (77oN) in Hornsund, Svalbard. If the partnership with Norwegian colleagues in CEON will be possible, Norwegian stations in Longyearbyen and Ny Alesund with the Polish station can serve as a gradient latitudinal station, on Spitsbergen, and may play the important role in observation of dynamic changes in the area between Greenland and Barents Sea. At the Polish Polar Station classical meteorological data have been collected since 1978 up to now, as a part of Norwegian, and WMO networks. Moreover, since 1995 on the Hansbreen glacier in the Hornsund area has been working three automatic gradient weather stations on the altitudes: 10m, 206 and 350 m asl. These stations can work also for CEON.

The purpose of collecting such a time series is to illuminate interactions and possible chains of cause and effect among components (states and processes) of terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems and their responses to changes in climate. Such a time series will be key to understanding interactions among ecosystem components [SEARCH, implementation strategy - draft, 2003].

1.3.04 Sergey Priamikov: Russian Arctic Research.
AARI Screenshot

ISIRIA Screenshot

1.3.05 Patrick Webber: US Arctic research.
OPP Screenshot

ARCUS Screenshot

1.3.06 Joan Eamer: EMAN.
MAN North Screenshot

1.3.08 Bjartmar Sveinbjornsson: The IASC tundra-taiga boundary initiative.
Tundra-Taiga Initiative

1.3.09 Tatiana Vlassova: Building partnership for traditional knowledge and science integration for CEON: the perspectives of the Russian Climate and Environment Network of Indigenous Peoples.
Important reason for the renewal of interest in local and traditional knowledge (TK) is the understanding that the expert-based, top-down assessments and solutions for the world's environmental problems are insufficient. The TK holders are local peoples living permanently on the territory, leading traditional way of life and broadly encompassing not only local knowledge of their environment, but wisdom, customs, skills, practice and believes gained through experience and culturally transmitted among generations. Among holders of TK in circumpolar regions of Russia and potential environment observers, 40 indigenous numerically small peoples (each less than 50 thousand in number ), commonly called Indigenous Peoples of the Russian North (IPRN), may play the principle and core role. Although they constitute to merely 2% of the Northern Russian population and 4% of that of its Arctic zone, the "territory of the historical inhabitancy" of indigenous peoples of the north covers approximately 60-64 percent of the Russian territory. This vast territory could be observed by indigenous reindeer herders, hunters, fisheries, gatherers, craftsmen. That is why it has been decided to start the construction of the Russian Climate and Environment Network of Indigenous Peoples (RUCENIP) within the joint Russian Association of the indigenous peoples of the North, Siberia and Far East (RAIPON) - NorthSet project (Russian Academy of Science, Institute of Geography) initiative. Our approaches and first results, were announced in several publications and reports (1,2). The renewable data base has been constructed to include periodically gathered TK and indigenous perspectives. The combination of structured and unstructured interviewing and educational workshops seems productive for collecting and analyzing the TK and indigenous perspectives.

First results of RUCENIP which will be demonstrated, has revealed the existence of TK and its big significance for holistic understanding of a set of environmental changes and disasters, assessing them and finding reasonable ways for adaptation and solution of problems of environment degradation and sustainable development. It is very important that this work also showed the great interest of the IPRN to continue long-term observation and monitoring of their environment and to be involved in the further development of RIPCEN.

For producing comprehensive picture of the environmental changes, socio-economic and physical environment drivers of these changes, partnership with other holders of local and traditional knowledge, other indigenous population of the Russian North, scientific community, teachers, students, local administration, non-government and community based organizations should be established within RUCENIP and CEON. This partnership should be originally organized at the local level within the selected "local case monitoring -research areas" comprising the body of both networks. Bottom-up approach seems very perspective for CEON elaboration as it enables to integrate different branches of science, remote sensing, local and traditional knowledge as well as educational capacities, involving the indigenous and local population of the Arctic. This integration could be based on the identification and implementation of inter-related targets for sustainable development combined in five spheres of human activity (spiritual-cultural, decision-making, social, economic and nature protection/rehabilitation) and specifically identified within the concrete locality and then transmitted to the "upper levels", up to the circumpolar space.(2)

The construction of CEON needs selection of "local case monitoring-research areas". One of the main principles for selection of such areas of observations (along with physical environment and human dimensions representatively, the availability of monitoring and educational infrastructure, etc.) should be the existence of TK, which could be integrated with multidisciplinary science. From this point of view, several sites for them should be approved and proposed within the unique principles elaborated at the coming CEON workshop.

Some previous presentations and papers:
1.Vlassova T.K. Sulyandziga P.V. 2002. Climate Change issues in the Russian Arctic identified on the base of indigenous peoples observations and traditional knowledge: the methodology and methods of interviewing. In: The Second AMAP International Symposium on Environmental Pollution of the Arctic: Extended Abstracts. Rovaniemi, Finland. October 1-4, 2002..0-048 pp.

2. Vlassova T.K., Sulyandziga P.V. 2002. Socio-economic aspects of climate change in the Arctic: integration of science and traditional knowledge. In: Proceedings of the Joint EU-Russia-Canada-US Workshop " A Common Approach to Collaborative Technological Research for Arctic Development".291-298.

1.3.10 Keith Finlayson and Ian Brown: Northern View.

1.3.11 Bill Heal: University of the Arctic.

1.3.12 Joao Morais: IGBP

Session 1.4: Organizational and operational considerations and the charge for the remainder of the meeting (session chair Craig Tweedie)

1.4.01 Bill Heal: Attributes of a good network.
What can we learn from past observation networks? What have been their strengths and weaknesses? The following are some of the lessons that have emerged from the Tundra Biome of IBP, from ITEX, IPA, LTER, GTOS and IGBP.

  • The problems to be addressed must be clearly defined as hypotheses (eg models, scenarios) to provide focus for the programme objectives and to ensure selection of appropriate strategies.
  • A rigorous sampling design (site selection) must be applied to cover main strata or gradients of environmental variation and to provide adequate replication.
  • A hierarchy of spatial and temporal scales must be defined to allow scaling up and down. A combination of intensive and extensive sites and observations is advisable.
  • Participation of the researchers / observers in planning, development, synthesis and interpretation of information is essential. Involvement of young people and those with local knowledge is beneficial.
  • The '3Ms' approach is effective - a combination of Monitoring, Manipulation and Modelling. Integrated monitoring should link observations in cause-effect chains.
  • Flexibility must be combined with consistency to allow emerging ideas to be tested and to exploit different sources of information.
  • Synthesis of existing information (modelling) at an early stage is a key approach, with involvement of participants to ensure internal understanding of the issues being addressed.
  • Communication is a key function at all stages, both internally and externally, the latter to involve users and the wider population. But, communication is best done by professional communicators.