Arctic Observing Summit 2013 - Meeting Summary
30 April – 2 May 2013 Vancouver, BC, Canada.
The inaugural Arctic Observing Summit (AOS, www. Arcticobservingsummit.org), held from 30 April to 2 May 2013 in Vancouver, BC, Canada, brought together a cross-section of the arctic community to deliberate on community-driven, science-based guidance for the design, implementation, coordination and sustained long-term (decades) operation of an international network of arctic observing systems. The AOS is a task of the Sustaining Arctic Observing Networks (SAON, www.arcticobserving.org) process, which is led jointly by the Arctic Council and the International Arctic Science Committee (IASC). The International Study of Arctic Change (ISAC, wwwarcticchange.org) is responsible for leading the AOS task. The AOS is part of the implementation of the ‘observing change’ component of the ISAC Science Plan, which also encompasses understanding and responding to arctic change.
The AOS2013 addressed four themes: the status of the current observing system; observing system design and coordination; stakeholder perspectives on observing system design and integration, and mechanisms for coordination of support, implementation and operation of a sustained arctic observing system. The goal during the summit was drafting specific recommendations to foster the coordination of observing activities and help implement collaborative networking of arctic observing systems .,Over the medium term, an AOS2013 report and series of peer-reviewed papers will be produced along with plans for the next summit. The long term goal of the Arctic Observing Summits is to complement the SAON process in developing sustained dialogue, coordination and implementation of an international Arctic observing network.
The format of the AOS did not follow that of a conventional conference. The scaffolding of the summit was community-driven white papers, which were tabled several months prior, reviewed, and made available for online public comment at www.arcticobservingsummit.org. A total of sixty white papers and statements were posted, with observing system design, stakeholder perspectives on system design and integration and issues surrounding data management strongly represented. Papers are still available on the AOS website.
At the summit, the organizers sought to create a space for lateral and creative interaction between the more than 170 summit participants. The participants came from a diverse array of backgrounds, representing funding agencies, northern residents, policy makers, industry, science planners and a variety of scientific disciplines, and from 12 different nations. The organizing committee distilled broad synthesis along the AOS2013 themes from the papers and statements. Keynote speakers and panel discussions further elaborated on the AOS2013 themes.
The strong representation from China, Japan, and South Korea, including several plenary presentations, highlighted the importance of Arctic observing programs for operational weather forecasts in eastern Asia as well as growing economic interests in the Arctic particularly with respect to resource development and shipping activities. The AOS program balanced international and national level perspectives with the interests of northern residents and indigenous peoples from the Canadian and U.S. Arctic especially. An international panel to provide important perspectives on international collaboration brought together agency representatives from four countries and the EU. This panel stimulated a vigorous question and answer session from AOS participants, particularly with respect to opportunities and limitations of funding strategies for international observing activities. Panel contributions by representatives from North American Arctic indigenous organizations on stakeholder engagement with observing system design emphasized both the need and the benefits to be derived from an early engagement of these groups in the design and execution of an observing network that does more than pay lip service to information needs by Arctic residents. A strong presence by participants in a range of different community-based observing networks suggests that there is critical mass to advance on these issues.
Drawing on the plenaries, panel discussions, and white paper syntheses, participants were divided into thematic working groups, to address the status of the observing system, stakeholder perspectives, funding, observing system design and coordination. Each group consisted of a cross-section of the participants, which resulted in difficult, but rewarding and multi-faceted discussions in which various stakeholders, including academics, had to make recommendations on how to move forward in coordinating and implementing an international, integrated Arctic observing system.
The ISAC International Program Office will release policy briefs and shorter articles derived from the the AOS2013 over coming months. The full report from the Arctic Observing Summit 2013 is expected in autumn 2013. Subsequent summits will take in conjunction with the Arctic Science Summit Week (ASSW), starting with the ASSW in April 2014, Helsinki, Finland, and thereafter biennially. The AOS 2014 will build on the strong foundation laid in 2013 and will continue to be a key platform for SAON and the arctic community to address the observation needs of arctic stakeholders and to foster international communication and coordination of long-term observations for improving understanding and responding to system scale arctic change.
Questions about the AOS can be directed to:
Maribeth S. Murray, Executive Director, International Study of Arctic Change firstname.lastname@example.org
Craig M. Lee, AOS Organizing Committee Co-°©‐Chair, email@example.com
Martin Jakobsson, AOS Organizing Committee Co-Chair, firstname.lastname@example.org
Jinping Zhao, AOS Organizing Committee Co-Chair, email@example.com
Past ISAC SSG Member Leif Anderson is recipient of the 2013 IASC Medal.
The IASC Medal is awarded in recognition of exceptional and sustain contributions to the understanding of the Arctic. Read more about the medal and this year's awardee here.
Leif G. Anderson is a Professor in hydrosphere sciences at the Department of Chemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Gothernberg, Sweden. He is an elected member of the Swedish Royal Academy of Science and the Royal Society of Arts and Sciences in Gothenburg. He was a member of the ISAC Science Planning Group, and contributed to the ISAC Science Overview, the precursor to the ISAC Science Plan. He is currently a member of the Arctic Observing Summit Organizing Committee, a member of the scientific advisory board of the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research, and he represents Sweden in the Marine Working Group of the International Arctic Science Committee (IASC).