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Arctic Observing Summit 2020

Mar 30, 2020 Apr 2, 2020

The Arctic Observing Summit (AOS) is a biennial summit that aims to provide community-driven, science-based guidance for the design, implementation, coordination, and sustained long-term (decades) operation of an international network of Arctic observing systems. In practice, this means gathering the Arctic observing community together to exchange ideas and develop ways to collaborate, share resources, and improve Arctic observing.

AOS is held biennially in conjunction with Arctic Science Summit Week. Special thanks to everyone for their patience and persistence as Arctic Science Summit Week and AOS 2020 were re-organized to be 100% online.

Poster sessions

Virtual poster sessions were held via Zoom.

Working groups

Five working groups were created based on the themes of AOS 2020. The AOS Executive Organizing Committee is working with experts from diverse sectors to develop these themes so that important advancements, gaps, and opportunities can be discussed at the Summit.

Working Group 1

Design, Optimization and Implementation of the Observing System

Leads: Alice Bradley, Hajo Eicken and Roberta Pirazzini

The working group reviewed, discussed and developed recommendations on:

  • Review of relevant initiatives and tools aimed at cataloging and assessing various existing observing system components (in situ, satellite, and associated model and prediction systems). Relevant observatories include big national/international programs, single-institution long-term monitoring projects, community-based monitoring as well as individual/small team observing campaigns.
  • Drawing on findings from the above to identify the value and role of the various observing activities in the context of an overarching observing system, and to chart paths towards integration of such system components.
  • Identifying criteria for observing system optimization.
  • Contributing to the SAON Roadmap for Arctic Observing, a document to help the muster resources and channel activities in support of an integrated Arctic observing system.

Participants: The working group seeks input from researchers, community members, operational observing organizations, and engineers involved with observing systems at all scales, and the private sector.

  • Working Group 1 session agenda

Working Group 2

Observing in Support of Adaptation and Mitigation

Lead: Maribeth Murray

This working group focused on environmental issues and the role of observing in developing economically viable options for the Arctic that lead to policy development and the implementation of actions in support of adaptation and mitigation. They reviewed, discussed and developed recommendations on:

  • Key aspects related to the successful use of observing technologies to improve or facilitate decision support, risk management, adaptation initiatives and mitigation strategies.
  • Observing needs to be filled quickly or expanded to support scaling up of strategies for adaptation and mitigation during the next decade.
  • Leveraging global initiatives to support adaptation and mitigation in the Arctic.

Participants: This working group encourages input from community groups, researchers, operational agencies and entities charged with the development and implementation of adaptation, management and mitigation strategies, the private sector, policy makers and Arctic Council working groups among others.

Working Group 3

Leads: Raychelle Daniel and Gunn-Britt Retter

Address approaches and priorities to increase the efficiency, reach and impact of observations in support of Indigenous food security and related needs.

Participants: The working group seeks input from experts who will work towards the formulation of actionable recommendations and chart a path for observing activities that facilitate the implementation of proposals related to an increased understanding of Indigenous food security.

Working Group 4

Lead: Peter Pulsifer

Video: Introduction to WG4

Draw on synergies with SAON Arctic Data Committee and Polar Data Forum to ensure that overarching observing framework emphasizes data integrity spanning collection and management over time to different data users, including science, community management activities, policy development, and decision-making at all scales.

Working Group 5

Arctic Observations in the context of Global Observing Initiatives

Leads: Thorsteinn Gunnarsson, Jan Rene Larsen and Peter Schlosser

The Working Group discussed and created an overview of the relevance of Arctic observing for global actions. They also discussed and formulated recommendations on the basis of these questions:

  • Which existing and upcoming Arctic observing initiatives have global relevance and importance?
  • How to bring Arctic observing to the global action level?
  • Who is the target of this: Arctic Council (and their member countries), European Commission, UN?
  • How to connect arctic observing with, for instance, the Paris agreement. Are there any model countries?
  • How to involve non-Arctic countries. What are their motivations for engagement?
  • What are the obstacles? And what could or should be done to remove or resolve these?

Participants: Representatives from global and regional organizations, including Arctic Council Working Groups, European Commission, GEO, Svalbard Integrated Arctic Earth Observing System (SIOS) and WMO. Representatives from MOSAIC and T-MOSAIC.

  • Working Group 5 session agenda

About the Arctic Observing Summit series

Before the Summit

AOS organizers develop the Summit theme and sub-themes. The theme for AOS 2020 was “Observing for Action.” Working groups are built around sub-themes to start organizing community input and planning for the Summit. A call for white papers and short statements is the first opportunity for the broader observational community to provide input into the organization in a year’s AOS. In addition to white papers and short statements, the Roadmap for Arctic Observing and Data Systems (ROADS) provides an important framework for work at the summit. Learn about ROADS background.

During the Summit

The AOS fosters communication and collaboration between academia, agencies, Indigenous Peoples, non-governmental organizations, the private sector, and others involved or interested in long-term observing activities. A key goal for Arctic observing is to achieve equity and representation for Indigenous Peoples in arctic research. The great value of the AOS is as a forum that brings these diverse interests together and allows for exchange of ideas. The AOS sessions include plenary presentations, breakout sessions, and poster presentations.

After the Summit

Following the summit, AOS organizers distill discussions notes, white papers, short statements, and participant feedback into a statement for the Arctic Science Ministerial. Outcomes from the summit also help the efforts of the Sustaining Arctic Observing Networks to coordinate Arctic observing. Building on the white papers submitted to the summit, there was an opportunity to submit full papers for publication – after peer review – in a special issue of the journal Arctic in late 2020.

Thanks to our sponsors

  • Akureyri Municipality
  • Arctic Institute of North America
  • Icelandic Centre for Research
  • Iceland Ministry for Education, Science and Culture
  • Iceland Ministry for Environment and Natural Resources
  • Iceland Ministry for Foreign Affairs
  • International Arctic Research Center
  • National Science Foundation
  • Norlandair
  • Pew Charitable Trusts
  • United States Embassy in Iceland
  • University of Akureyri
  • University of Calgary