Scientists track a changing Arctic to help communities adapt
Rising temperatures and melting ice in the Arctic will have local and global consequences. But adapting to such changes requires tracking them first. EU-funded researchers are merging Arctic observation systems into a unified network. The results will help determine what is happening and what we can do about it.
© mandritoiu #196274095, 2019 source: stock.adobe.com
The Arctic environment is changing. Thinning sea ice, rising temperatures, thawing permafrost and a melting ice sheet are only a few of many challenges. Such changes will impact the globe but will also endanger vulnerable Arctic communities that depend upon the regions resources.
One key problem is a lack of integrated data. Scientists do not have enough information to draw a complete picture of how the Arctic is evolving. Without such knowledge, scientists can only offer incomplete recommendations to policymakers. To slow climate change and to ensure sustainable development, we need more ways of collecting and integrating diverse data on the Arctic and its changing climate.
The EU-funded INTAROS project is developing an integrated Arctic Observation System to extend, improve and unify existing observation systems. Scientists will use the INTAROS portal, iAOS, to access a wide range of existing databases containing atmospheric, oceanic and terrestrial information.
INTAROS will include development of community-based observing systems, where local knowledge is merged with scientific data. Scientists and stakeholders will benefit from new tools for data discovery, analysis and visualisation.
The project will also install new instruments that measure a variety of Arctic parameters, including physical, chemical, biological and ecological changes. Such data will help fill current gaps in remote-sensing and model-prediction capabilities.
INTAROS brings together 49 organisations and 18 countries. It aims to launch a pan-Arctic forum that will help to forge consensus on Arctic issues between EU countries, non-EU countries and transnational organisations. As such, it will set an example of coordination and collaboration in a region where great competition for resources threatens to become the rule.
In the long term, INTAROS integrated picture of a changing Arctic aims to help combat climate change and support the marine and maritime industries, fisheries, and environmental management agencies, contributing to sustainable Arctic resource management for the benefit of local communities.
INTAROS, together with seven other H2020 projects, is part of the EU Arctic Research Cluster coordinated by EU PolarNet. The objective is to create synergies among projects and to increase their impacts.