ID:07 Observing the Arctic

22 February 2023 | 08:30 - 10:00 (GMT+1) 
22 February 2023 | 10:30 - 12:30 (GMT+1)
22 February 2023 | 16:00 - 18:00 (GMT+1) 
23 February 2023 | 10:30 - 12:30 (GMT+1)

Open Session - HYBRID


Room: Hörsaal 7


Session Conveners:  Hajo Eicken (University of Alaska Fairbanks, United States); Alice Bradley (Williams College, United States), Victoria Q. Buschman (University of Alaska Fairbanks, United States / Greenland Institute of Natural Resources, Greenland), Christina Goethel (University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, United States); Lauren Divine (Aleut International Association, United States); Ilkka Matero (Svalbard Integrated Arctic Earth Observing System, Norway)


Session Description

Global activities affect the Arctic environment while changes in the Arctic environment have global consequences. Hence, the broader global community is invested in the need for improved observing of the Arctic, and must also be engaged in observing activities if we are to better understand ongoing changes, their cascading effects, project future scenarios, and identify emerging issues at local, regional and global scales. The session invites speakers that are engaged in international observing efforts that include the Arctic region, those that seek to include the Arctic regions, and contributions exploring different uses of Arctic observational data.



Session 1: 22 February 2023 from 08:30 - 10:00 GMT+1:

  • unfold_moreAutomotive perception sensors for geoscientific applications in the Arctic

    Stefan Muckenhuber1; Thomas Goelles1; Birgit Schlager2; Wolfgang Schöner1
    1University of Graz; 2Virtual Vehicle Research GmbH


    Today, the automotive industry is a leading technology driver for perception sensors (lidar, radar, camera), because the largest challenge for achieving the next level of vehicle automation is to improve the reliability of the vehicles’ perception system. To exploit the potential of these newly emerging cost-effective lidar, radar, and camera technologies for geoscientific applications, we developed a novel stand-alone, modular sensor system, called MOLISENS (MObile LIdar SENsor System), that allows the use of automotive lidar, radar, and camera sensors without the necessity of a complete vehicle setup. MOLISENS includes a real-time kinematic differential global positioning system (RTK DGPS) and an inertial measurement unit (IMU) for georeferenced positioning and orientation. This setup enables measuring geoscientific processes and landforms reliably, at any remote location, with very high spatial and temporal resolution, and at relatively low costs. To efficiently work with the resulting large amount of data, the open-source python package ‘pointcloudset’ was developed for handling, analyzing, and visualizing large datasets that consists of multiple point clouds recorded over time. MOLISENS has been tested in several field campaigns on Svalbard, including glacier caves, coastlines with sea ice, and snow covered valleys, and shows great potential for measuring and monitoring geoscientific processes in the Arctic.

  • unfold_moreInvestigation of atmospheric effects on InSAR applications in Arctic regions: a comparison of compensation methods GACOS and spatial filtering

    Barbara Widhalm1; Annett Bartsch1; Tazio Strozzi2; Nina Jones2; Rustam Khairullin
    1b.geos GmbH; 2Gamma Remote Sensing


    Arctic permafrost regions are characterized by freeze-thaw cycles, which can lead to considerable surface displacements. Especially in areas of ice-rich permafrost, thawing leads to substantial surface subsidence that may be countered by frost heave in winter. InSAR has proven to be a valuable tool in order to monitor displacements in these often remote locations. Sentinel-1 repeat intervals in most arctic regions are 12 days and interferometric coherence values are often poor for longer intervals within these areas. In order to achieve correct InSAR-displacement timeseries with this limited number of interferograms, it is essential to correct for atmospheric effects that can significantly distort results, especially during the thawing periods. We therefore processed interferograms in series and compared these unfiltered timeseries with results of applied spatial filtering as well as results corrected with the Generic Atmospheric Correction Service (GACOS), which utilises ECMWF weather model data as well as DEM data to provide tropospheric delay maps. Comparisons of methods have been performed for selected regions throughout the Arctic, in order to determine a best practice for an easily applied correction method suitable for a circumpolar implementation.

  • unfold_moreRain-on-snow monitoring across the Arctic with satellite data

    Annett Bartsch1; Helena Bergstedt1; Aleksandr Sokolov; Xaver Muri1; Kimmo Rautiainen2; Leena Leppanen3; Kyle Joly4; Pavel Orekhov
    1b.geos GmbH; 2FMI; 3University of Lapland; 4National Park Service


    Rain-on-Snow (ROS) events occur across many regions of the terrestrial Arctic in mid-winter and alter snow properties. In extreme cases ice layers form which affect wildlife, vegetation and soils beyond the duration of the event. Satellite data have been shown suitable for detection, including the events (wet snow) and the impact (snow structure change). A joint approach for application across the entire Arctic has been developed. Active microwave (scatterometer) and passive microwave data are combined. In situ records such as air temperature, snow temperature, snow hardness and liquid precipitation have been used for the development of the retrieval scheme. Several specific high impact ROS events from recent years have been identified with the approach. For example events captured on the Yamal (Siberia) and Seward (Alaska) peninsulas have had severe impacts on reindeer and caribou, respectively, due to crust formation. These and other examples will be presented and discussed.

  • unfold_moreHALO-AC3: An Airborne Campaign to Observe Airmass Transformations

    Manfred Wendisch1; Mario Mech2; Susanne Crewell2; Andreas Herber3; Christof Lüpkes3; André Ehrlich1; Marcus Klingebiel1
    1Leipzig University; 2University of Cologne; 3Alfred Wegener Institut


    Clear indications of the phenomenon of Arctic Amplification include the above-average increase of the near-surface air temperature and the related dramatic retreat of sea ice observed in the last decades. The mechanisms behind these features are widely discussed. Especially the role of clouds and of air mass transports into and out of the Arctic associated with related transformation processes are still poorly understood. Therefore, the HALO-(AC)3 campaign was performed to provide observations of meridional air mass transports and corresponding transformations in a quasi-Langrangian Polar 5 observing clouds and precipitation from above roughly at 3 km altitude, and HALO providing the large scale view on the scene following air masses. The paper reports on first results of the campaign.layer,approach. Three research aircraft equipped with state-of-the-art instrumentation performed measurements over the Arctic ocean and sea ice in March/April 2022. The German High Altitude and Long Range Research Aircraft (HALO), equipped with a comprehensive suite of active and passive remote sensing instruments and dropsondes, was operated from Kiruna, Sweden. The flight pattern covered long distances at high altitudes up to the North Pole probing air masses multiple times on their way into and out of the Arctic. The Polar 5 (remote sensing) and Polar 6 (in-situ) aircraft from the Alfred Wegener Institute operated in the lower troposphere out of Longyearbyen in the lower troposphere over Fram Strait West of Svalbard. Several coordinated flights between the three aircraft were conducted with Polar 6 sampling in-situ aerosol, cloud, and precipitation particles within the boundary.

  • unfold_moreObservations exploring the relevance and sources of Low volatility vapours in Ny-Ålesund, Svalbard

    Roseline C. Thakur1; Mikko Sipilä1; Tuuli Lehmusjärvi1; Lisa Beck2; Lauriane J Quéléver1; Tuija Jokinen3
    1University of Helsinki; 2Goethe University Frankfurt; 3Climate and Atmosphere Research Center


    In the scenario of warming climate and its impact on the fragile ecosystem of Arctic, the need of continuous monitoring of the atmospheric low volatility vapours (LLV) which are capable of initiating new particle formation (NPF) and thus influence the cloud condensation nuclei becomes crucial. The scarcity of molecular scale observations of LLVs like sulphuric acid (SA), methane sulphonic acid (MSA), iodic acid (IA) and other organic vapours hinders the accurate estimation of the processes involved in NPF in the pristine arctic atmosphere. The decreasing sea ice extent and increasing tundra in the Arctic regions have the potential to affect aerosol formation. To quantify these LLVs and estimate their impact on the new particle formation state of art instruments including chemical ionization mass spectrometer have been permanently installed, since 2017, in Gruvebadet Ny-Ålesund. Campaign based VOCs flux measurements from soil, vegetation and snow were conducted using manual steady-state flow-through flux chambers. Our observations from 2017 data suggest that during springtime SA-ammonia initiated the nucleation, MSA was playing a significant role in the growth of newly-formed particles(Beck et al., 2021). During summertime, surprisingly high concentration of highly oxygenated molecules (HOMs) was observed indicating their potential role in growth and possibly nucleation as well. The results from VOC flux measurements showed the emissions of isoprene and a-pinene from arctic soil, tundra and melting snow and their possibility of forming the HOMs in the Arctic region. These measurements are still ongoing and we aim to provide better understanding on the seasonality of the inorganic and organic (VOC and HOMs) vapours.

  • unfold_moreInternational Activities on Svalbard Ozone, UV and Related Atmospheric Parameters

    Tove Svendby1; Ann Mari Fjæraa1; Vito Vitale2; Boyan Petkov2
    1Norwegian Institute for Air Research; 2CNR - Il Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche


    Despite 30 years of regulations of ozone depleting substances with consequent recovery of the global ozone layer; ongoing changes of Earth's climate system with warming in the troposphere and cooling in the stratosphere might still produce ozone depletion. This was evident in 2011 and 2020, the last being the most severe depletion ever observed. For both events, it has been shown that Arctic ozone depletion influences total ozone columns at latitudes down to 40°N (Petkov et al., 2021). It is of utmost importance to continue ozone and UV monitoring in the Arctic and, if possible, strengthen them. We will present a summary of the infrastructure and measurements for Ozone, UV and other related atmospheric parameters collected in Ny-Ålesund, Hornsund, Longyearbyen and Barentsburg since 1995 and the data made available in the SIOS database (, from long existing instruments such as GUV and Brewer, and the new globally synchronized instrument Pandora in Ny‐Ålesund, and new UV radiometers in Hornsund and in Longyearbyen. Efforts are taken to extend the range of parameters derived from the instrumentation in order to further strengthen e.g. satellite validation capacity for ozone and NO2, which again is of great importance to secure the quality of satellite data in the Arctic. The presentation will also address cross-domain international collaborations:Biological effects of episodes with enhanced UV radiation were considered as negligible 20 years ago because of snow and marine ice cover during the critical period, but sea‐ice conditions have now changed dramatically in Svalbard fjords, with more open waters, and could foster new initiatives for studies on how marine echosystems are exposed of UV in the spring bloom.

Session 2: 22 February 2023 from 10:30 - 12:00 GMT+1:

  • unfold_moreThermokarst subsidence at disturbed areas in the Lena-Aldan interfluve, Central Yakutia, Eastern Siberia, detected by InSAR

    Takahiro Abe1; Yoshihiro Iijima1
    1Mie University


    Thermokarst is an irreversible process that changes local landforms with underlying ice-rich permafrost. In the area between the Lena and Aldan rivers in Eastern Siberia, topographic changes due to thermokarst have been remarkably identified, which has significantly impacted on lives of neighbors in relation to the destruction of infrastructure, and changes in the water cycle and ecosystems. Continuous observation for thermokarst has been performed in Yukechi during the last three decades, and the inter-annual ground-surface subsidence and expansion of thermokarst lakes have been revealed. However, there had been no comprehensive observations of thermokarst subsidence, which led to uncertainty in assessing permafrost degradation in the entire area. The spatial distribution of thermokarst subsidence could be an essential index to evaluate permafrost degradation in the area. This study used Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR) technique using L-band SAR data by ALOS-2 to reveal inter-annual surface subsidence around some populated areas in the interfluve. Our result shows that 6–25 cm ground subsidence was detected in farming and abandoned arable land in Mayya, Churapcha, Amga and Tyungyulyu from 2014 to 2021. Polygonal relief was also identified in such areas. The size of the polygon and its spatial concentration, which correspond to those of underlying ice wedges, were also derived from satellite optical images and compared with elevation and subsidence.

  • unfold_moreRecognition of major factors shaping the thermal regime of High Arctic rivers, SW Spitsbergen

    Marta Majerska1, Anna M. Łoboda1,2, Marzena Osuch1, Tomasz Wawrzyniak1
    1Institute of Geophysics, Polish Academy of Sciences; 2University of Twente


    Regime of arctic rivers is highly dynamic and is influenced by local variations of the features including retention, groundwater discharge, soil capacity as well as moisture. The analysis of hydro-meteorological variables within the project VariaT is based on both in-situ and remote measurements in experimental catchments located in Svalbard. As catchment dynamics is complex, tracer experiments in river systems give an insight into the movement of water and dissolved matter. The recognition of catchment characteristics is based on a long-term hydrological monitoring in Polish Polar Station Hornsund. In this study, solute transport analysis in the unglaciated Fuglebekken catchment coupled with hydrological parameters variability is presented. In September 2022, the fieldwork campaign comprised the usage of rhodamine WT as a marker and C-FLUOR sensor in Fuglebekken river, Southern Spitsbergen. Presented data may be used as an input to the models of pollution transport in polar streams.The outcomes of this study will contribute to the knowledge on Arctic stream hydrology and development the methodology for future field studies.

  • unfold_moreUpscaling field measurements using a novel pan-Arctic drained lake basin data set

    Helena Bergstedt1; Annett Bartsch1; Louise Farquharson2; Amy Breen2; Benjamin Jones2; Juliane Wolter3; Guido Grosse4; Mikhail Kanevskiy2; Clemens von Baeckmann1; Timo Kumpula5
    1b.geos GmbH; 2University of Alaska Fairbanks; 3University of Potsdam; 4Alfred Wegener Institute Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research; 5University of Eastern Finland


    Lakes and drained lake basins (DLB) are ubiquitous landforms in permafrost lowland regions, covering 50% to 75% of permafrost lowlands in parts of Alaska, Siberia, and Canada. The mosaic of vegetative and geomorphic succession within DLBs and the distinct differences between DLBs and surrounding areas can be to derive a landscape-scale classification with remote sensing. Depending on the age of a given DLB, surface characteristics such as surface roughness, vegetation, moisture and abundance of ponds varies. Spatial heterogeneity within a single basin also depends on time passed since the drainage event. In situ observations of these characteristics are crucial but can only describe a small percentage of existing DLBs. An ongoing pan-Arctic scale effort to map and further the understanding of DLBs in permafrost-regions is work conducted within the International Permafrost Association (IPA) Action Group on DLBs, a bottom-up effort led by the scientific community that includes developing a first pan-Arctic DLB data product based on multispectral remote sensing data (Landsat-8). Here we present a first effort linking a pan-Arctic DLB data set to existing available in situ information such as vegetation data and time passed since drainage event. Comprehensive mapping of DLB areas across the circumpolar permafrost landscape and including field data into this approach will allow for future utilization of these data in pan-Arctic models and greatly enhance our understanding of DLBs in the context of permafrost landscapes. This will improve quantitative studies on landscape diversity, wildlife habitat, permafrost, hydrology, geotechnical conditions, high-latitude carbon cycling, and landscape vulnerability to climate change.

  • unfold_moreAn overview of NASA’s Arctic Boreal Vulnerability Experiment (ABoVE): Development, implementation, advances and knowledge gaps

    Peter Griffith


    NASA’s Arctic Boreal Vulnerability Experiment (ABoVE) is a large coordinated multi- disciplinary research effort addressing ecosystem changes taking place in biomes of the Arctic and boreal region. Although the geographic focus of the field campaigns centers on northwestern North America, ABoVE research is ultimately designed to address scaling from field measurements to multi-sensor airborne data acquisitions to satellite remote sensing and ultimately to terrestrial biosphere models. As such, ABoVE has pan-Artic and pan-boreal implications and applications. Here we provide an overview of ABoVE development, implementation, research progress, and findings at the midpoint of its planned ten-year effort. We briefly highlight a selection of some key publications and then focus on articulating knowledge and associated data gaps that still need to be addressed. These gaps are critical research areas for further advancing our understanding of the interactions and feedbacks between the climate system and changes in the spatial and temporal environmental drivers of dynamics in carbon, hydrology, snow, permafrost, disturbance and vegetation composition, structure and function. Addressing these gaps will also advance our ability to capture these dynamics in prognostic models.

  • unfold_moreWhat color is Alaska’s ocean?

    Lea Hartl1; Carl Schmitt1; Martin Stuefer1
    1University of Alaska Fairbanks


    Hyperspectral imaging is an emerging tool to measure changes in Arctic waters and meets the change detection needs of many different applications across spatial and spectral scales. The University of Alaska Fairbanks Hyperspectral Imaging Laboratory (HyLab) provides field observations, acquisition, and processing of airborne hyperspectral remote sensing. We present results from survey campaigns aimed at unraveling seasonal and spatio-temporal variability in ocean color along the coastal margins of the Gulf of Alaska. The term “ocean color” refers to the spectral composition of the visible and near-infrared light emitted from the ocean. Ocean color and its shifting patterns in time and space yield insights related to changes in e.g., ocean turbidity and algae concentrations. 4 years worth of airborne hyperspectral data across Kachemak Bay and Lynn Canal are combined with in-situ spectroradiometer data collected time-synchronously with the airborne surveys. The in-situ data are used as a reference for the analysis and interpretation of the radiometrically corrected hypercubes generated from the airborne hyperspectral measurements. Using machine learning techniques, a spectrally and spatially highly resolved classification of ocean color across the study area is derived. We aim to expand HyLab monitoring activities to changing sea ice and the effects of global carbon cycles, rising temperatures and direct human impact in Arctic waters. HyLab provides observational capabilities to track, e.g., the impact of oil exploration and changing shipping routes along Alaska's adjacent Arctic Ocean. We are seeking exchange with the scientific community to best identify data needs across disciplines.

  • unfold_moreThe seasonality of nearshore waters: integrating Indigenous Knowledge and water column profiles from Kotzebue, Alaska

    Alexandra Ravelo1; Donna Hauser1; Joshua Jones1; Robert Schaeffer2; Vincent Schaeffer2
    1University of Alaska Fairbanks; 2AAOKH-affiliated


    The Alaska Arctic Observatory and knowledge Hub (AAOKH) is a network of Indigenous Knowledge holders from five coastal communities in the Alaska Arctic that work in collaboration with University of Alaska Fairbanks researchers to produce and compile observations of local environmental conditions and climate change. In 2019 and 2020, along with the observations by Robert Schaeffer and Vincent Schaeffer recorded in Qikiqtaġruk (Kotzebue, AK), water column profiles were collected in situ. Here we present the results from these observations alongside the Conductivity, Temperature and Depth (CTD) recordings, with the goal of creating a more holistic understanding of the seasonal changes in nearshore waters. In 2019, observations of Kotzebue Sound from May 06 reported “The ice is breaking up in front of Kotzebue. The ice holes appeared yesterday as the ice melted away. […]. It will take about three days to break through to the Kotzebue Sound. Then its hunting season.” By May 12, CTD casts showed river water discharging into Kotzebue Sound and sea ice concentration below the 10% threshold, indicating sea ice break-up. Subsistence activities are closely linked with seasonal cycles of sea ice, river discharge, snow cover, and thaw over the land. Integrating knowledge of the interannual variability of these seasonal changes can provide valuable information in the context of food security and sovereignty forecasting in the face of climate change.

Session 3: 22 February 2023 from 16:00 - 18:00 GMT+1:

  • unfold_moreCRIOS – Cryosphere Integrated Observatory Network on Svalbard

    Dariusz Ignatiuk1; Michał Laska1
    1University of Silesia in Katowice


    The acceleration of the Arctic warming causes significant changes in the cryosphere of Svalbard (faster melting of glaciers, thawing of the permafrost, changes in melting period onset and winter thaws) and stimulates faster energy exchange between atmosphere, cryosphere and ocean and mass transfer from land to the sea. The observed fluctuations in measured meteorological variables demonstrate regional/local differences in climate warming and subsequently, response to other environmental factors. Thus, monitoring of such variables and the environmental response has to be done in many localities in Svalbard. The CRIOS project aims to modernize and expand an automated monitoring network focused on the cryosphere of Svalbard as a calibration/validation system for indirect research. All measurement stations will operate following the standardized measurement protocols developed as part of joint workshops and training sessions based on the SIOS Core Data process, Shared Arctic Variables (SAVs) and WMO standards. The key element of the observatory network will be real-time data transfer to the open repositories, following the FAIR principles, for researchers and stakeholders.

    This project shall create an opportunity to establish a research combined site for the whole of Svalbard, in which a synchronized ecosystem observation network will operate within the framework of the existing Svalbard Observing System ( Planned developments will allow for continuous measurements in some of the longest environmental data series on Svalbard and create a venue for excellent Pan-Arctic cooperation in the future.

  • unfold_moreTowards pan-Arctic glacier calving front variability with deep learning

    Tian Li1; Konrad Heidler2; Xiao Xiang2; Lichao Mou2; Jonathan Bamber1
    1University of Bristol; 2Technical University of Munich


    The Arctic has been warming four times faster than the global mean over the last forty years. In response, glaciers across the Arctic have been retreating and losing mass at accelerated rates in recent years, including Greenland, Alaska, Canadian Arctic, Iceland and Svalbard. However, a full understanding of the mechanisms driving mass loss across the Arctic remains elusive, making it challenging to predict their evolution with confidence. Especially, there is a lack of understanding of the interconnected relationships between glacier retreat, ice dynamics, and mass imbalance. Satellite remote sensing has made it possible to image glaciers over large spatial scales and at high temporal resolution. The volume of data produced, however, makes it challenging for traditional manual-based approaches to quantify glacier calving dynamics at a sub-annual scale across the whole Arctic. To address this limitation, we use a fully automated deep learning approach to generate a new calving front dataset for pan-Arctic glaciers at a high temporal resolution, by harmonizing multiple satellite missions that are available from the 1970s onwards, including optical missions such as Landsat, ASTER and Sentinel-2, and various SAR missions such as ERS-1/2, Envisat, RADARSAT-1, TerraSAR-X and Sentinel-1. We first present a new deep learning framework for mapping the glacier calving fronts. We then apply this method at scale and investigate both the interannual and seasonal variability of glacier termini positions. Finally, we link the glacier calving front variations with mass imbalance, as well as external forcings, to investigate the responses of the Arctic glaciers to climate change.

  • unfold_more15 years of Mass Balance Observations at Freya Glacier in NE Greenland

    Bernhard Hynek1; Wolfgang Schöner2; Jakob Abermann2; Daniel Binder3; Signe H. Larsen4; Gernot Weyss1; Michele Citterio4
    1ZAMG; 2University of Graz; 3University Potsdam; 4GEUS


    We present main results of 15 yeas of glaciological monitoring at Freya Glacier in Northeast Greenland. Freya (Fröya) Glacier is a polythermal land-terminating valley glacier situated on Clavering Island 10km southeast of Zackenberg research station at the northeastern coast of Greenland. Its surface area is 5.3 km² (2013), reaching from 1300 m to 270 m a.s.l. and mainly oriented to NW with two seperated accumulation areas oriented to NE and NW. The monitoring started in 2007 with direct seasonal observations and includes now an automatic weather station and two automatic cameras. Elevation changes and geodetic mass balance between 2013 and 2021 can be determined from two high resolution DEMs using a structure from motion approach, and bedrock topography is deduced from a GPR survey in 2008.

  • unfold_moreCopernicus Observations In Situ Networking and Sustainability (COINS) – Arctic Data

    Ann Mari Fjæraa1; Ole Krarup Leth2; Marianne Sloth Madsen2; Jun She2; Jian Su2; Mikael Rattenborg; Patrick Gorringe3; Markus Lindh3; Vicente Fernandez4
    1Norwegian Institute for Air Research; 2Danish Meteorological Institute; 3Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute; 4EUROGOOS – European Global Ocean Observing System


    The Arctic region is becoming more accessible due to climate change, leading to higher temperatures and the consequent reduction of land and sea ice. This strongly affects the Arctic ecosystem, marine environment, fish stocks, etc. and the living conditions of the Arctic population. Climate change in the Arctic region together with technological development offers new opportunities but also new challenges. Increased use of marine, sea and land ice, and atmospheric in-situ observations, satellite data and modelling will help address these challenges. COINS Arctic Data has identified in-situ data availability and needs and compiled a meta-database of research projects and activities with significant Arctic observational components, which potentially can support the Copernicus space segment and services. An important task of COINS Arctic Data is to make as many of these data available to Copernicus and other users. Further, COINS, together with international organizations, will promote the design of a sustained fit-for-purpose Arctic Observing System and promote Copernicus requirements. This presentation provides an overview of COINS Arctic Data activities and the work on building an observing system for sustained measurements in and around Arctic areas to address Earth System Science questions. Various research infrastructures are distributed across the Arctic for acquiring long-term in-situ observations. These in-situ measurements are useful for ground-based studies, calibration and validation of current and future satellite missions. Better integration of in-situ and satellite-based measurements is necessary for building a coherent network of observations to fill observational gaps.

  • unfold_morePhysical and virtual access to arctic terrestrial observing platforms and their data for the global science community

    Elmer Topp-Jørgensen1; Hannele Savela2
    1Aarhus University / INTERACT; 2Thule Institute


    Arctic surface temperatures are increasing 3-4 times faster than the rest of the Globe and changes affect regional and global climate systems with potential significant implications for the societies. Understanding cause and effect of Arctic climate change is therefore of interest to the wider world. Knowledge about accessible research platforms and how to access these are therefore important for the global science community. INTERACT (a network of terrestrial research stations in the Arctic) has developed an online tool, INTERACT GIS, that allow scientists to identify research stations that suit their specific needs. Filtering functions include natural environment, facilities, monitored variables, etc. and allow scientists explore detailed information about the individual stations. As a service to the scientific community, INTERACT also provide an overview of visa and research related permits needed for fieldwork in all arctic countries. INTERACT also offer three modalities of access for scientists to access stations and their data. INTERACT Transnational Access provide funding for scientists to physically access INTERACT research stations. In the context of Climate Change, two other modalities have been developed to reduce travel related emissions. These are INTERACT Remote Access that enables station staff to collect data/take samples on behalf of scientists and INTERACT Virtual Access providing online datasets via the INTERACT Data Portal. At the session, we present INTERACT online tools and access modalities that provide opportunities for scientist from all over the world to study arctic climate change and relate it to global consequences.

  • unfold_moreCT scanning of the cryosphere

    Sönke Maus
    Norwegian University of Science and Technology


    In the earth’s cryosphere ice and snow are often present in form of porous media. Examples are snow, glacier ice and sea ice, that contain brine, air and impurities in pore networks and inclusions. Due to their different microstructures, these ice and snow types have a wide range of physical properties, e.g., optical, thermal, mechanical and hydraulic. Knowing these properties is important for many applications like studying the earth’s climate and ecosystems, ice interactions with ships and offshore structures, skiing and leisure, remote sensing and weather forecasting. However, the dependence of properties on microstructure is for many ice types a major challenge. It is often difficult to measure porous ice properties in situ, while the fragile (snow, rime) and reactive (sea ice) nature of porous ice makes sampling and laboratory tests challenging. And there is a general lack in 3D microstructure observations, as non-destructive imaging methods are still under development. During recent decades X-ray computed microtomography, or micro-CT scanning, has become the method of choice to unravel the 3D microstructure of many porous media [1]. It is now increasingly used to study the microstructure of porous ice and snow media in the environment, including atmospheric ice, snow, polar firn and ice cores, sea ice and frozen. In the present talk I will give an overview of the main findings of studies of the cryosphere by CT scanning, and discuss the future potential of the methodology to retrieve properties of porous ice media by combining CT scanning and numerical modelling.

    [1] V. Cnudde and M. Boone, High-resolution X-ray computed tomography in geosciences: A review of the current technology and applications, Earth-Science Rev., 2013, 123, 1.

  • unfold_morePoster previews


Session 4: 23 February 2023 from 10:30 - 12:30 GMT+1:

  • unfold_moreShared Arctic Variables: an observing coordination framework designed for the Arctic

    Alice Bradley1; Hajo Eicken2; Margaret Rudolf2; Heikki Lihavainen3; Sandy Starkweather4
    1Williams College; 2University of Alaska Fairbanks; 3SIOS-KC; 4University of Colorado - National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration


    Shared Arctic Variables (SAV) provide a means to align the needs of information end users in order to better coordinate observations of Arctic phenomena. SAVs are a core element of the Sustaining Arctic Observing Networks (SAON) Roadmap for Observing And Data Systems (ROADS) process, which formed an advisory panel in 2021 and ready to accept SAV expert panel proposals biannually. SAVs draw on the Essential Variable concept developed for global observing efforts, comprising variables with an associated set of observing requirements guided by information users. What makes SAVs unique is the process by which they are identified and defined: expert panels representing a wide range of perspectives and information use cases, centering the perspectives of Indigenous peoples and regional decision makers, collaborate to identify the variables that would yield collective benefit through greater alignment and coordination of observations. The scope of SAVs should be specific enough that it is possible to define observing and data requirements and implementation strategies, but not so specific that information derived from observations loses potential value in a sharing context. SAVs entrain Arctic-specific expertise to address the unique constraints of polar observation and information use in the regional context. This presentation describes what SAVs are, how they differ from other Essential Variable models, how the features of the SAV concept are designed specifically for the Arctic community, and how to participate in the process.

  • unfold_moreTowards an integrated database for polar research logistics and infrastructure - Polardex

    Griffith Couser
    European Polar Board


    As polar research, infrastructure and observing systems come of age, there is increasing interest in sharing information about logistical resources, which in turn makes it possible for the resources themselves to be shared across institutions and nations, facilitating multi-agency collaboration. To support this, Polardex is a new online discovery and planning tool for polar infrastructure and logistics. Led by the European Polar Board (EPB), Polardex has been developed by a wide team of partners and with data and information provided by many organisations and projects. Polardex is an evolution of the European Polar Infrastructure Database, combining it with the Southern Ocean Observing System's (SOOS) DueSouth database to be an integrated platform for physical infrastructure (field facilities, vessels, aircraft and other assets) and logistics (planned routes, cruises, transects, etc.). Polardex’s modern, cloud-based, serverless technology provides high availability and high performance, with a scalable platform to be made available to the polar communities. This facilitates easy access to search and discovery of polar logistics and infrastructure resources and information, helping to maximise use and international collaboration in Arctic and Antarctic research. This presentation will introduce Polardex and its features, and outline the process by which it was built and continues to develop. We will also discuss the challenges and lessons learned so far in integrating databases, our engagement with similar efforts from EU-PolarNet 2 and the Polar Observing Assets Working Group (POAwg), and our recommendations for the way forward.

  • unfold_morePrioritizing the unmet needs and path forward for US Arctic Observing Networks

    Xoco Shinbrot1; Sandy Starkweather2; Hazel Shapiro3; Thorsten Markus4; Roberto Delgado1
    1National Science Foundation; 2University of Colorado - National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; 3US Arctic Observing Network; 4National Aerospace and Space Administration


    The Arctic is warming at four times the rate of the rest of the planet with consequences for security, livelihoods, ecosystems and biodiversity, yet remains inadequately observed by conventional observing technologies. Recognizing the significant impacts of the changing climate in the Arctic and deficit in observing, The US Congressional House Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies requested “a report on the need to establish and maintain a sustained Arctic observing network.” Over the course of the past year, the US Arctic Observing Network has conducted a literature synthesis and a federal survey to identify greatest agency needs. We present the major the results of the survey, which revealed four major needs for (1) An international network of critical sustained observations and infrastructure (2) A shared data management system that is open, easily discoverable, accessible, and usable across observing networks; (3) Comprehensive human and technological capacity building; in order to (4) Bridge high priority temporal and spatial gaps in marine, terrestrial, atmospheric, and social system observations. Any efforts, however, in this direction will require an implementation plan with costs that outline agency responsibilities as well as meaningful engagement of Indigenous communities. We end the presentation with examples to map out what an implementation plan might look like for a successful and solicit input on how to motivate action.

  • unfold_moreOptimising an Observing System, the SIOS way

    Heikki Lihavainen1; Cecilie Mauritzen2; Agata Zaborska3; Rune Storvold4; Gabriella Caruso5; Georg Hansen6; Øystein Godøy2; Ilkka Matero1; Christiane Hübner1; Shridhar Jawak1; Rudolf Denkmann1
    1SIOS-KC; 2Norwegian Meteorological Institute; 3Institute of Oceanology, Polish Academy of Sciences; 4Norwegian Research Centre AS; 5National Research Council of Italy - Institute of Polar Sciences; 6Norwegian Institute for Air Research


    The Svalbard Integrated Arctic Earth Observing System (SIOS) is an international research infrastructure in and around Svalbard focusing on providing long term core data describing the key processes to improve our understanding of the Earth System in Arctic. It would be prohibitively expensive to develop an observing system for each environmental problem facing us, GCOS (IP 2016) introduced the “one system - many uses” - principle. We follow this principle when optimizing the SIOS observing system. The process is divided into five optimization categories The first two categories revolve around the “one system”: the infrastructure and data management. 1, “Efficient use and development of infrastructure”, aims to make sure that existing infrastructure is used to its full potential, that overlapping efforts are avoided, that technological potentials for improvement are pursued, and so forth. 2, “Efficient data management”, simply means that data can be easily stored, easily found, and easily used, by all. The three last categories revolve around the “many uses” of observations at Svalbard: 3) “Monitoring environmental change at Svalbard for the global community”; 4) “meeting the requests from the SIOS community”; and 5) “contributing to improved climate services in the Arctic region”. In this presentation we will introduce our approach more deeply and present some key recommendations to optimize our current observing system according to users' needs and strengthen the role of SIOS in the context of observing systems available in the Arctic

    GCOS IP 2016: The Global Climate Observing System for Climate: Implementation Needs. Global Climate Observing System (GCOS), Geneva, Switzerland (2016)

  • unfold_moreEvaluation of observing systems and services for improving safety for shipping in the Arctic

    Karen Boniface1; Vito Vitale2; Srdjan Dobricic1; Adriaan Perrels3
    1Joint Research Centre; 2CNR - Il Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche; 3Finnish Meteorological Institute


    Maritime activities in the Arctic are expected to increase whereas ice information is very specific and needs to reach accurately the isolated users to maximise maritime navigation for safety and efficiency reasons. In the context of the H2020 Arctic Passion project that aims at co-creating and implementing a coherent Arctic Observing system, an evaluation of Pilot service 6 on improving Safety for Shipping in the Polar Seas’ Service is analysed. It aims to overcome known limitations in the present observing system by refining its operability, improving, and extending pan-Arctic scientific and community-based monitoring with the integration of Indigenous and Local knowledge. In this framework, identification of users from the marine community and their needs are firstly presented, followed by a detailed analysis on information needs to co-develop operational tools in order to bring significantly better information on ice conditions that subsequently affect ship operations. In particular, the focus will be on evaluating how observing systems are key to improve search and rescue operations benefiting from synergies between environmental observation, satellite navigation and satellite communications (Boniface et al., 2020). The presentation will be part of a broader framework linking observations to benefits using the Value Tree Analysis methodology (IDA-STPI and SAON, 2017). The realization of the envisaged valuation tool of improved ice services for Arctic shipping requires that in the co-design process we are able to identify and specify how new information affects decision making and operations of users, and what seem to be minimum extent of information improvement necessary to make actually a difference in benefits.

  • unfold_moreComparing practices of impact assessment within Arctic research and the ROADS process

    Sandy Starkweather1; Alexandra Meyer2; Susanna Gartler2; Karen Boniface3; Srdjan Dobricic3; Johanna Scheer4
    1University of Colorado - National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; 2University of Vienna; 3Joint Research Center; 4Technical University of Denmark


    A variety of Arctic-specific impact (e.g. benefit, risk, value) assessment frameworks have emerged in the last few years to support planning efforts. For example, in the Sustaining Arctic Observing Network’s Roadmap for Arctic Observing and Data Systems (SAON ROADS) process, impact assessment is called for to identify foci for Shared Arctic Variables that will yield broadly-shared benefits. While impact assessments provide an opportunity to promote equity and improve value delivery from research efforts, those outcomes are sensitive to the process through which assessment frameworks are developed and applied. Recent work undertaken in the context of the US Arctic Observing Network, the Nunataryuk project and the Arctic PASSION initiative demonstrate the range of approaches being undertaken and point to the need for greater knowledge exchange among these practices. In particular, as impact assessment is often framed as an opportunity to engage diverse expertise to improve value delivery within the context of adaptation and information services, it is critical to understand good practices for achieving these ends and to have a means to evaluate success. Achieving assessment co-design between Indigenous communities and Western-driven research efforts, for example, remains a central challenge. This comparative analysis will explore impact assessments being conducted by three independent efforts related to river ice breakup services, permafrost thaw, and Arctic shipping in order to highlight efforts where impact assessment approaches are useful, to identify good practices and to lay the groundwork for stronger collaboration across Arctic impact assessment efforts in support of improved observing and data systems.