How well do we understand change throughout the Arctic and what impact is the war in Ukraine having on this?

25 March 2024 | 16:00 - 17:30 (UK) 

Open Session - HYBRID

Room: St Trinnean's (St Leonards) 

Organiser: INTERACT / Elmer Topp-Jørgensen (Sweden)


Session agenda

Event Description:

Evidence of a changing Arctic is mounting – it is getting warmer, ecosystems are responding and societies need to adapt. The variability of change across the Arctic is however large. Some arctic regions are experiencing little change, while others are warming 5-6 times faster than the rest of the globe. Representative sampling across this variability range is key to understanding overall and local climate change, the resulting ecosystem responses and the regional and local needs for adaptation. 

In the Arctic, the observing capacity is often limited by logistical constraints, and field studies, particularly long-term monitoring and sophisticated experiments, often take place around facilities providing accommodation, instrumentation and services for visiting scientists, e.g. university institutes, educational centres and research stations. An important question is, however, whether the areas sampled around these infrastructures are representative for the entire Arctic domain, particularly as recent studies suggest “clumping” of studies in just two main arctic regions. 

INTERACT is a panarctic network of more than 90 research stations (pre-invasion of Ukraine) offering a platform for scientists and scientific networks to study arctic ecosystems and landscapes together with Indigenous peoples. INTERACT promotes the use of standardised long-term observations and seeks to link research stations with existing scientific networks. 

This session will present the results of a study assessing how representative the nature and environment around the INTERACT research stations is for the Arctic’s variability as a whole. 

The war in Ukraine has put circum-arctic science and infrastructure cooperation on hold, and Russian research stations and scientists are currently excluded from most international research collaborations. The session elaborates on what implications this has for the representativeness of only non-Russian INTERACT stations compared with the Arctic as a whole.

Finally, the session will discuss the role of science diplomacy in building circum-arctic cooperation between the Arctic states and how this science diplomacy is affected by the war in Ukraine contrasting current East-West collaboration with that during the Cold War when the forerunner of the INTERACT network operated.