The Svalbard Integrated Arctic Earth Observing System (SIOS) is an international infrastructure project that is part of the roadmap for the European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures (ESFRI). The initiative will establish a regional observational system for long-term measurements in and around Svalbard, addressing Earth system science questions related to global change. Its goal is to provide coordinated services for the international research community regarding access, data and knowledge management, logistics and training that will benefit the entire international polar research community. EU funding of the SIOS-PP (Svalbard Integrated Arctic Earth Observing System - Preparatory phase) project supported partners and associate partners from 51 institutions and 18 countries by laying the foundations for the larger project. SIOS-PP established the SIOS legal and governance structure, financial strategy, services framework and integration/cooperation strategies. Project partners investigated various legal options for organisation of the SIOS project and developed a basic model having Norwegian national ownership and operational responsibility. Partners also completed a review of research access strategies at other infrastructures and evaluated the needs of potential SIOS users. Investigations related to logistics planning were conducted, reporting on the current power and data communication status both onshore and offshore, as well as on vessel capacity and capability. The consortium also developed a preliminary SIOS data policy related to data management and utilisation. Contacts with satellite operators were established with the aim of integrating the satellite remote sensing sector into the SIOS Earth observation strategy. By bringing many types of observations together and asking questions about how these are influenced by each other, scientists will gain new insights into the Svalbard region's role in the Earth system. The coordination of activities, organisation of scientific workshops and joint development of strategies for the use and development of research infrastructure will be highly beneficial to both scientists and research funders. Therefore, joining forces and resources through SIOS will enable a first-class research infrastructure to be created in the Arctic.
Arctic, climate change, Svalbard, satellite remote sensing, Earth observation