In collaboration with various partners, the EPB convenes a variety of events, including conference sessions, policy briefings and panel discussions, that aim to connect polar research, policy and society at a variety of scales around different topics. Details of upcoming events are listed below, along with summaries, reports and recordings from past events convened or co-convened by the EPB.
Joint session co-convened by the European Polar Board and INTERACT.
Polar research is an essential part of global efforts to address the big issues of the 21st century for planet Earth. However, polar environments are among the most sensitive and remote on the planet. It therefore imperative that efforts are made to minimise the negative impacts of all activities in the polar regions, including those relating to research. Hundreds of field campaigns are conducted throughout the circumpolar Arctic at various scales each year, with diverse levels of environmental impact from region to region.
While the footprint of individual field campaigns may be small, the cumulative environmental impacts of research activities across the Arctic are significant. Field campaigns generate waste which can be polluting if not correctly dealt with, potentially introduce invasive species to Arctic environments, and possibly disturb sensitive flora, fauna and fragile sites. Furthermore, the social impacts of research activities on small, remote communities, particularly in the peak Arctic summer field season, are not insignificant. This breakout session explored ways in which these impacts can be minimised and properly managed with the help of best practice guidelines, environmental and cultural sensitivities, new technologies, avoiding duplications of effort, and utilisation existing observations, all without compromising research quality.
The breakout session featured a range of experts in polar research and logistics.
- Brenda Konar (University of Alaska Fairbanks) – best practices for scientific research vessels operating near indigenous communities
- Birgit Njåstad (Norwegian Polar Institute) – environmental protection and management, lessons from Antarctica
- Hannele Savela (INTERACT/Thule Institue, University of Oulu) – minimising physical field presence by virtual and remote access, and by using existing data
- Annette Scheepstra (Arctic Centre, University of Groningen) – research impacts on Arctic communities
- Elmer Topp-Jørgensen (INTERACT/FARO) – best practice guidelines for research and logistics, sharing resources, new technologies
Chair – Kirsi Latola (European Polar Board/Thule Institute, University of Oulu)
A report, summarising discussions during the session, and detailing recommendations from the panel on how to better manage the footprint of Arctic research, is available here.
The session discussed different regional and international initiatives to improve connections and understanding between Arctic researchers, policymakers, and other stakeholders. While orientated on European organisations and projects, presentations highlighted successes and lessons learnt from other regions, and included comparative examples from Antarctica.
Presenter: Yulia Zaika (Faculty of Geography, Lomonosov Moscow State University, Russian Federation)
Presenter: Peter Convey (British Antarctic Survey, United Kingdom)
Presenter: Sonja Bickford (University of Nebraska Kearney, USA)
Presenter: Robert Rich (Arctic Research Consortium of the United States, USA)
Presenter: Annette Scheepstra (Arctic Centre, University of Groningen, Netherlands)
Presenter: Hanne Nielsen (University of Tasmania / Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, Australia)
Presenter: Kristina Baer (Alfred-Wegener-Institut, Helmholtz-Zentrum fur Polar- und Meeresforschung, Germany)
Full details of the session and all abstracts can be found here: https://congress.uarctic.org/program/science-section/sessions/5-other/session-36129/
The UArctic Congress 2018 was held from 3rd to 7th September in Oulu and Helsinki, Finland.
Climate change, globalisation and geopolitical dynamics challenge the Arctic and its inhabitants. The consequences of these forces increasingly exceed local and national mitigation and adaptation capacities and reach far beyond the high latitudes. A sustainable and prosperous future for the Arctic thus requires regional and international actors to jointly recognise issues and then develop solutions to address these together.
Recognising this, the European Commission and the High Representative have therefore defined International Cooperation on Arctic Issues as a priority area in the integrated European Union policy for the Arctic. Within this area they have assigned a key role to science as a catalyst to support a common understanding, jointly agreed solutions and peaceful cooperation.
Transnational access to research infrastructures and open data resources are seen as important steps towards both an improved scientific cooperation and enhanced political and economic links with key countries in the region. Furthermore the European Commission stated its ambition to develop international scientific cooperation on an international level, through networks such as the Transatlantic Ocean (and Arctic) Research Alliance, and through bilateral cooperation with key Arctic players including Russia, China, South Korea and Japan.
This breakout session aimed at fostering active discussions on how to further improve international cooperation in Arctic science. For this, the session kicked-off with five brief input presentations and subsequently focus on two discussion questions:
- What are key areas in which large global scale scientific collaboration can contribute to a sustainable development of the Arctic?
- How can we make sure that cooperation efforts, such as projects giving transnational access to infrastructures, are (financially) sustained?
A summary of discussions can be found here.
Speakers and presentation:
- Karmenu Vella, Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, European Commission: Opening address via video message.
- Dr Andrea Tilche, Head of Unit Climate Action and Earth Observation, Directorate General for Research and Innovation, European Commission: Convener
- Dr Martin Jeffries, Assistant Director for Polar Sciences & Executive Director, U.S. Interagency Arctic Research Policy Committee, White Office of Science and Technology Policy: Facilitating Arctic Science Cooperation via the Canada-EU-USA Atlantic Ocean Research Alliance
- Dr Hyoung Chul Shin, Head of Department for International Cooperation, Korea Polar Research Institute (KOPRI): Arctic research cooperation; role of observer states and the growing contribution
- Prof Alexander Klepikov, Head of Department for Antarctic Ocean and Climate Studies, Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute (AARI, Russia): The Russian perspective on key areas of international cooperation in Arctic research
- Dr Margareta Johansson, Coordinator INTERACT: From North Atlantic Cooperation to true International Cooperation - the INTERACT story
- Dr Verónica Willmott, Project Manager ARICE (Alfred Wegener Institute, Germany): ARICE: Arctic Research Icebreaker Consortium. An international cooperation strategy for meeting the needs for marine-based research in the Arctic.
The session emphasised the importance of sustained Arctic observations across both temporal and geographic scales to maximise their societal benefits and usefulness in advising decision-making. Flash presentations started the session to introduce participants to the range of Earth observation projects, networks and organisations with a focus on the Arctic. A panel discussion on the interoperability of observations followed, focused on increased use and accessibility of observations across temporal and geographic scales, including remote sensing and satellite observations, in situ (ground-based observations) and monitoring, Indigenous-Knowledge-driven monitoring, and community-based observing initiatives throughout the Arctic. The panel was followed by a discussion (Q&A) with the audience.
Barbara Ryan, Secretariat Director, Group on Earth Observations (GEO)
Árni Snorrason, Director, Icelandic Meteorological Office: Large-scale Arctic climate observations (WMO)
Jan René Larsen, SAON Secretary, Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme: International coordination of Arctic monitoring (SAON)
Noor Johnson, Research Scientist, National Snow and Ice Data Center, University of Colorado Boulder & The Fletcher School, Tufts University: Community-based monitoring and Indigenous knowledge as/in Arctic observing systems
Hannele Savela, Research Coordinator, Thule Institute, University of Oulu (INTERACT)
Anders Oskal, Director, International Centre for Reindeer Husbandry (ICR)
Ola Gråbak, Applications Engineer, European Space Agency (ESA)
Stein Sandven, Research Director, Nansen Environmental and Remote Sensing Center (INTAROS)
Maribeth Murray, Executive Director, Arctic Institute of North America (AINA)
Peter Pulsifer, ADC/University of Colorado
With EU-PolarNet, the EPB co-organised a policy briefing on 22nd June 2017 that ran under the theme "Breaking records: How high temperatures in the Arctic affect European society".
The lunchtime event was set out to give EU and national policy makers an overview of the state-of-the-art research on abnormal temperatures in the Arctic and their consequences for Europe. For this sea ice expert Dirk Notz from the Max Planck Institute in Hamburg, Germany, gave a keynote address on how Europe is affected by a warming Arctic.
A subsequent panel discussion built on the current scientific knowledge to reflect upon mitigation and adaptation options, which can reduce the vulnerability of both the European society and economy. The panellists were: Volker Rachold (Head of the German Arctic Office), Kirsi Latola (University of the Arctic Thematic Networks Director), Frej Sorento Dichmann (Senior Advisor Danish Agency for Science, Technology and Innovation) and Eva Kruemmel (Co-founder of ScienTissiME, Research and Policy Consulting; Consultant on Environment and Health for the Inuit Circumpolar Council – Canada).
The European Polar Board (EPB) convened a panel session at the XIIth Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR) Biology Symposium in Leuven, titled “Penguins: Waddle we do without them? – Collaborative approaches to polar issues”. The session featured a spectrum of experts from Antarctic science, conservation, tourism and art. Panellists discussed their different roles in advancing science and improving policy to increase understanding and protection of penguins, and the wider Antarctic ecosystem. Using penguins as a vehicle for discussion, the panellists identified how their respective fields can cooperated and collaborate for mutual benefit across all polar issues.
The panel, Chaired by Dick van der Kroef (Netherlands Polar Programme), consisted of Adrian Dahood (George Mason University), Meagan Dewar (Federation University Australia/International Penguin Early Career Scientists), Lily Simonson (Artist), Ben Wallis (Ocean Expeditions), Claire Waluda (British Antarctic Survey).
A summary of discussions during the session and subsequent contributions is available here.
In July 2017, the EPB coordinated a workshop titled “Towards the Incorporation of the Humanities and Social Sciences into Large Polar Research Projects” at the SCAR Humanities and Social Sciences Expert Group (HASSEG) conference in Hobart, Australia. The aim of the workshop was to explore a series of questions about stakeholders and the role of humanities and social sciences (HASS) in Antarctic research to collect responses from the Antarctic Humanities and Social Sciences community. The workshop mirrored the one held by EU-PolarNet at ICASS IX in Umea, Sweden, in June 2017, but engaged with the Antarctic humanities and social sciences community.
- Adrian Howkins (National Science Foundation)
- Daniela Liggett (SCAR HASSEG)
- Akiho Shibata (JAPARE)
- Richard Vokes (Antarctica NZ)
- Sachie Yasuda (Australian Antarctic Division)
A report from the workshop is available here.
The European Polar Board (EPB) convened a townhall session at the European Geosciences General Assembly 2017 in Vienna, titled “Polar change and implications for mid-latitude weather – science and policy for society in Europe”. The session featured a range of experts who each presented on the different elements of the topic before an interactive discussion.
The panel, Chaired by meteorologist and broadcaster Peter Gibbs, consisted of Julienne Stroeve (University College London), Len Shaffrey (University of Reading/National Centre for Atmospheric Research), Hilppa Gregow (Finnish Meteorological Institute) and Tina Swierczynski (European Climate Research Alliance (ECRA)).
A paper summarising the key points made by the panellists and recommendations that emerged from discussions, can be found here.
Slides presented during the session can be found here.