International Network for Terrestrial Research and Monitoring in the Arctic
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Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme Secretariat
Grant agreement ID: 262693
1 January 2011
31 December 2015
€ 9 507 984,80
€ 7 300 000
Coordinating Arctic research stations
CLIMATE CHANGE AND ENVIRONMENT
FOOD AND NATURAL RESOURCES
The aim of the INTERACT (International network for terrestrial research and monitoring in the Arctic) project was to establish partnerships between research stations. It also developed and deployed new observation technologies and promoted research activity by increasing researcher access to the Arctic. During the project's 5-year period, the number of research stations has risen to 77 from 19 countries, which together host over 5 000 researchers in various disciplines each year. The project now includes most of the terrestrial infrastructures in the northern Arctic and also extends southwards into forest and alpine regions. A forum for station managers was set up to discuss best practice in station management and standardised monitoring. In addition, a one-stop shop guide was produced with information from 45 stations and is available on the INTERACT website. A geographic information system was also developed to make station data more accessible and has been deployed at one research station as a case study. Monitoring of specific environmental factors in remote areas has been improved through sensor networking and more efficient data capture and dissemination. Project partners have also set up a fully compatible Integrated Carbon Observation System (ICOS) tower in Greenland and 10 energy exchange stations in the North Atlantic region. These installations were built and located with the assistance of a major carbon monitoring network and the climate modelling community to ensure maximum compatibility and relevance. They have also provided unique insights into northern climate feedback systems from the data collected to date. The increased and coordinated activities at the stations have provided valuable scientific information, enabling decision-makers and the public at large to become better informed about the Arctic environment. This information also feeds into major regional and global assessments of environmental changes, such as those related to climate, biodiversity and land use. Although INTERACT's true impact and legacy will only be truly known after many years, it is already possible to identify some of the major impacts of the project on science, education, diplomacy and environmental policy. These have been achieved by research infrastructures working together throughout the Arctic and in alpine regions to develop integrated activities while increasing scientific access to the region.
Grant agreement ID: 262693
1 January 2011
31 December 2015
€ 9 507 984,80
€ 7 300 000
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Final Report Summary - INTERACT (International Network for Terrestrial Research and Monitoring in the Arctic)
Accelerating environmental changes in the Arctic and global impacts. Changes in climate affect the residents of the North via ecosystem services, transport and infrastructure stability and they affect the global community through feedbacks to climate and biodiversity loss.
Needs to build capacity for observing and research. The Arctic is vast, sparsely populated, and environment so harsh that environmental observing capacity and predictive power are limited compared to other latitudes. Many new initiatives aim to improve understanding but they require the development and sustainability of existing infrastructures.
INTERACT is an infrastructure network of research stations in Arctic and adjacent alpine and forest areas. It aims to build capacity for identifying, understanding, predicting and responding to environmental changes throughout the environmentally diverse Arctic.
All INTERACT’s aims, deliverables and milestones have been reached. The results are outstandingly numerous, of high quality and have generated significant impact. INTERACT has built capacity and has furthered our knowledge of the North beyond what was promised. This knowledge is highly beneficial to local residents and the global community.
Growing a geographically comprehensive and multidisciplinary research infrastructure. INTERACT grew from 33 partners in 2010 to 77 in 2015, with new “Observer Stations”. The stations are in 19 countries and together hosted over 5,000 researchers in 2014 and 76 individual networks. INTERACT now facilitates research and monitoring from northern forests and mountains to high-Arctic polar deserts and even to the Greenland Ice Sheet.
Communicating within INTERACT, communicating throughout the World. A website and a Station Managers’ Forum enabled exchange of ideas and volumes have been produced including a “Station Catalogue”, guidelines for management planning for research stations and research and monitoring activities (to 2000). Links with relevant networks, representation at high-level meetings and co-leadership of a global (GEO) activity were established.
Improving monitoring, research and data availability. Equipment to measure biospehric feedbacks to climate has been developed, tested and distributed. Data are centrally available and publications are being prepared from analyses of the data. Automated measurements of phenology have been developed to reduce laborious field measurements and environmental impact and sensor networking has been explored to increase efficiency of data capture.
Improving data management. An innovative system has been developed to combine station management with the capture of metadata on projects displayed in GIS format. This system is being applied to an increasing number of stations and its metadata is being fed into SAON. Also, new software has been developed to help researchers visualise and analyse data.
Enhancing access for researchers to the Arctic. The Transnational access program was highly successful and set new records: WP 4 achieved circum-polar TA to 24 stations in 10 countries; enabled 539 users from 19 EU Member States or Associated States, including young scientists, to access the Arctic; and produced 263 publications. 7251 person-days of access were used by 185 groups. Canada and the USA funded TA to their stations. The 263 TA publications include the INTERACT Stories of Arctic Science book and mass outreach video course as added value.
Outreach and Impact. INTERACT gives outreach throughout Society. Educational and outreach resources include a school text book, articles for schools, a mass outreach course in English and Russian, an outreach book, videos, brochures, posters, photo-gallery, on-line glossary, blogs, and public talks. INTERACT has worked with Indigenous Peoples and other local communities and with Ministries, Governments and Royalty. 37,000 people were reached through 213 presentations.
INTERACT is THE Arctic terrestrial network, is a model for other regions and initiatives, and has IMPACT.
Project Context and Objectives:
Accelerating environmental changes in the Arctic and global impacts. World attention is now focused on the Arctic because of its rapidly changing climate, and because of co-occurring changes in land use, socio-economics and globalisation. In particular, geopolitical issues related to increased access to natural resources have alerted many nations to the growing importance of the Arctic. Recent research and analysis of long term observations have indicated that the Arctic’s land surface and its ecosystems are changing in many places. Permafrost temperatures are increasing, active layer thicknesses are increasing, snow cover duration, timing and snowpack structure are changing, most glaciers are retreating, lake ice duration is decreasing, ponds are forming in some areas as permafrost thaws while they are disappearing in other areas, biodiversity is changing as well as the timing (phenology) of biological events, vegetation zones are changing as shrub and forest expansion occur, and events such as forest fires, mid-winter thaw and insect pest outbreaks are increasing in severity and frequency. These changes affect the residents of the North in terms of ecosystem services, transport and infrastructure stability and they affect the global community through feedbacks to climate and impacts on global biodiversity. However, the processes leading to change are complex and vary throughout the diverse environments of the Arctic.
Needs to build capacity for observing, research and outreach. The Arctic is so vast, so sparsely populated, and environment so harsh that our environmental observing capacity is limited compared to most other latitudes. Consequently, our predictive power is also limited and projected rates of some important changes (such as changes in terrestrial biodiversity, permafrost and trace gas emissions) have been underestimated. Many new initiatives have been developed to improve our observational capacity and our understanding of the Arctic’s rapidly changing environment but they require the development and sustainability of existing fundamental building blocks i.e. infrastructures. Key pre-requisites for improving environmental observation in the Arctic are to sustain the current observing capacity of existing infrastructures and their networking activities throughout the Arctic, expand this observing capacity by responding to new needs from the research, assessment and wider community, improve the efficiency of observing by developing and deploying new observing technologies and standard protocols, and to make archived and new observations more accessible to a wide range of users. An essential part of capacity building is to engage local communities and the next generation of researchers.
INTERACT’s main objective is to build capacity for identifying, understanding, predicting and responding to diverse environmental changes throughout the wide environmental and land-use envelopes of the Arctic. To achieve this, INTERACT was structured into 8 WPs.
• Coordination, (WP 1) aimed to ensure the smooth-running of the Consortium’s activities and the achievements of its aims.
• A Station Managers’ Forum (WP 2, Networking) aimed to provide a platform for exchange of information between station managers and other participants within INTERACT, and to use this platform to collect and disseminate knowledge.
• An external networking WP (WP3, Networking) aimed to secure the further integration of INTERACT with other projects and networks within and external to the EU, and particularly into the Sustained Arctic Observing Network, the International Arctic Science Committee, and the Circum Polar Biodiversity Monitoring Program.
• A transnational access WP (WP 4, Transnational Access) aimed to manage an efficient and transparent system to allocate funding to researchers that apply for access offered by Infrastructures in the network and to ensure the high quality and relevance of the science undertaken by the visiting researchers
• One Joint Research Activity (WP 5) aimed to leverage low-power wireless communication capabilities to make in-situ sensing easier to manage and more effective and explored the automation of monitoring plant phenology.
• As feedbacks to global climate from the Arctic are a major issue of global concern, WP 6 (JRA) aimed to use the site infrastructures to improve monitoring and facilitate research into key feedback mechanisms from Arctic ecosystems in a changing climate.
• Because data on the changing Arctic are increasingly needed, WP 7 (JRA) aimed to develop and experimentally deploy a geo-tagging service for collecting spatio-temporal metadata about the activities of research in the field, and to develop a repository, adapted to the needs of terrestrial researchers, that will facilitate data handling and analysis.
• Finally, INTERACT aimed to communicate with all areas of society, both locally and globally. WP 8 (Outreach) therefore aimed for the INTERACT community to inform and interact with the public, local and other stakeholders and students.
All INTERACT’s aims, deliverables and milestones have been reached and considerable added-value has been attained. The results are therefore, outstandingly numerous, of high quality and have generated significant impact. Consequently, INTERACT has built capacity for research, monitoring, and education and has furthered our knowledge of the Arctic and the North beyond what was promised. This knowledge is highly beneficial to local residents and the global community that INTERACT has reached out to in many ways and at many levels of society.
Growing a geographically comprehensive and multidisciplinary research infrastructure (WP 1, WP 3). In 2010, INTERACT consisted of 33 partners – in 2015, 77 research stations were associated with INTERACT, new ones joining as “Observer Stations”. INTERACT links 77 stations in 19 countries and together these stations host a growing number of researchers each year from all over the world that reached over 5,000 in 2014. The network also hosts 76 individual discipline networks. INTERACT now facilitates research and monitoring throughout the North, from northern forests and mountains to high-Arctic polar deserts and even the Greenland Ice Sheet. Non-EU partners from the Russian Federation, in the USA and in Canada have been fully integrated within INTERACT.
Communicating within INTERACT – communicating throughout the World (WP 1). A website was developed for INTERACT www.eu-interact.org. This is both an internal communication system and our window to the rest of the world. It has been populated with ever-increasing information on the growing number of research stations joining INTERACT and ongoing activities in the major components of the INTERACT Consortium. The web site is constantly updated and has been developed to facilitate transnational access applications.
Presenting the facilities and environmental settings of Arctic and Northern Research Stations (WP2). A catalogue with descriptions of ‘Terrestrial field sites for environmental research in the Arctic’ (33 INTERACT and 11 Observer Stations) was compiled by WP2 in 2012. This is a one-stop shop for information on Arctic and northern research stations. By 2015, INTERACT had grown to include an additional 44 Observer Stations so WP2 published the up-dated “INTERACT Station Catalogue 2015” as significant added-value. Currently, the databases and process developed in INTERACT are being used by CONMAP and the EPB/EU-PolarNet to co-produce a similar catalogue including European Antarctic Bases, and European polar ships and aircraft.
Bringing the Station Managers together (WP2). The managers of the research stations have been brought together at annual Station Mangers’ Forum meetings held throughout the project period to exchange ideas, develop collaborations, improve station management, develop new research, standardise monitoring and make data more accessible.
Improving station management and the research environment for scientists (WP2). There is a vast array of experience on station management in INTERACT on all topics from application handling to safety in the field. Station managers have for the first time shared and developed best practices for running research stations and improving the user experience published by WP 2 in the volume “Management planning for arctic and northern alpine research stations – Examples of good practices”.
Arctic networking – Global networking (WP 3, WP 1). INTERACT has established links among relevant networks. INTERACT is formally an IASC network, leads a task within SAON and has established MoUs with many Arctic organisations. INTERACT’s networking gives added value to EU investments in European research and monitoring and, through participation in Tri-lateral EU, Canada and USA meetings enables the EU to play a leading role in providing Arctic infrastructure on land. INTERACT has initiated and co-led international workshops with IASC (on snow) and CBMP (on biodiversity). INTERACT is also active at the global scale: it is part of a European Project and co-lead in the Group on Earth Observations (GEO) activities.
Increasing awareness of research and monitoring: establishing a baseline (WP 2). INTERACT station managers have produced a report on research and monitoring activities that have taken place at INTERACT stations (both Partner Stations and Observer Stations) since the year 2000. It present recommendations for an INTERACT Minimum Monitoring Program and provides descriptions of best practices for monitoring of selected parameters. This report is published together with a searchable metadata database.
Monitoring biospheric feedbacks from the Arctic’s land surface to climate (WP 6). In 2011, an already established carbon flux monitoring station at Zackenberg, Greenland, was upgraded to the new ICOS standards following the ICOS-level 2 standards. This case study has been subsequently applied to 10 locations at 4 other INTERACT Stations along a climatic gradient. All these INTERACT stations now hold multi-year datasets and the data are being made available from a central server placed at ULUND to support wider GHG flux measurement operations as well as regional climate model validation. Already, data gathered on GHG and energy exchange at several INTERACT sites have been analysed and papers have been submitted for publication while other stations are deploying the equipment.
Automating Measurements in the Field - Plant Phenology (WP 5). Many monitoring activities in the field are labour-intensive in harsh conditions and sometimes in potentially dangerous circumstances, so it is important to automate field measurements. A field study devised homography aided plot based phenology measurements. The new workflow replaces the manual counts previously done in the field on physical plots, with counts done on images. A main development is an automated image processing algorithm that normalizes pictures from the field into a common format.
Improving sensor performance and networking (WP 5). Sensor networking is a key technology to allow remote, virtual access to the sensors deployed in the field but is too rarely deployed. A snapshot of sensor networking in the INTERACT field stations showed that a small portion of all data loggers deployed in the field stations is currently available remotely from the station or online via the Internet. WP 5 demonstrated the feasibility and the potential of transforming data loggers deployed in the INTERACT stations into networked devices that can be connected to the Internet, and thus transformed into virtual instruments.
Improving data management (WP 3, WP 5, WP 7). INTERACT already provides data and metadata to numerous repositories and end users and this has led to a very complex system where data discovery is difficult. An innovative system has been developed by WP7: the AbiskoGIS (later developed into the generic NordGIS and INTERACTGIS). This combines station management, particularly the application procedure for visiting scientists, with the capture of metadata on projects displayed in GIS format. The system includes monitoring meta data and is publically available. This system is being applied to an increasing number of INTERACT and other stations and its metadata is being fed into the SAON initiative. In addition, new software has been developed (ScanDB) to help researchers visualise and analyse data. This system is being applied to data from the Greenlandic Stations.
Enhancing access for researchers to the Arctic (WP 4). INTERACT’s Transnational access programme was highly successful and set new records: WP 4 achieved circum-polar TA to 24 stations in 10 countries by leveraging added-value; enabled 539 users, including early career scientists, to access the Arctic; and the scheme produced 263 publications. Altogether 7251 person-days of access were used by 185 groups. Canada and the USA funded TA to their stations. The user groups were from 19 EU Member States or Associated States. The largest discipline among the user groups was Ecosystems and Biodiversity, followed by Global Change & Climate Observation. The gender balance was 66% male and 34% female; new users represented 74% and 44% were young scientists. The TA publications were of various types, including papers in international peer-reviewed journals. The INTERACT Stories of Arctic Science book was produced to make important results from the TA projects available to a wide audience. The book and mass outreach video course based on it are added value, subsidised by Tomsk State University and the University of the Arctic. They present 52 stories representative of 7 themes.
Outreach and Impact
INTERACT gives outreach throughout Society. Educational and outreach resources include a school text book, articles for schools with a circulation of 16,000, a mass outreach course in English and Russian with over 1,100 learners, an outreach book, videos, brochures, posters, photo-gallery, on-line glossary, blogs, and public talks. INTERACT has worked with Indigenous Peoples and other local communities to identify stakeholder needs and has introduced Citizen Science. The Consortium has worked with Ministries and conservation agencies, and maximised outreach by working with Royalty.
During 2011-2015, the number of research stations rose to 77; together they hosted over 5,000 researchers in 2014 and 76 networks; TA enabled 539 users to access the Arctic and 263 publications resulted; INTERACT has visibility from schools to Royalty and Governments, and contributes to local communities and Global networks. INTERACT produced 350 publications and gave 213 presentations that reached 37,000 people. INTERACT is THE Arctic terrestrial network, is a model for other regions and initiatives, and has IMPACT.
INTERACT is a network of terrestrial field bases in Arctic and adjacent alpine and forest areas of the Northern Hemisphere. The network is funded for 2011-14 by EU’s Seventh Framework Program as an ‘Integrating Activity’ under the theme ‘Research Infrastructures for Polar Research’. This project has a main objective to build capacity for identifying, understanding, predicting and responding to diverse environmental changes throughout the wide environmental and land-use envelopes of the Arctic. To achieve this objective, 33 research stations and partners joined the INTERACT Consortium (Figure 1). Subsequently, a further 44 stations joined as “Observer Stations” (Figure 1) that were fully integrated into INTERACT activities but at their own cost. The Consortium was organised into different topics.
• Work Package (WP) 1 (Coordination) aimed to ensure the smooth-running of the Consortium’s activities and the achievements of its aims;
• WP 2 (Networking) aimed to provide a platform for exchange of information between station managers and other participants within INTERACT, and to use this platform to collect and disseminate knowledge embedded within the network;
• WP3 (Networking) aimed to secure the further integration of INTERACT (i) across the boundary of the EU, (ii) with other projects and networks within the EU, (iii) into the development of a Sustained Arctic Observing Network, (iv) as a player in the International Arctic Science Committee, and (v) as a lead of the terrestrial aspects of the Circum Polar Biodiversity Monitoring Project;
• WP 4 (Transnational Access) aimed to manage an efficient and transparent system to allocate funding to researchers that apply for access offered by Infrastructures in the network. It also aimed to ensure the high quality of the science undertaken by the visiting researchers and the relevance of this research in the context of high level research questions formulated by leading international organisations such as IASC;
• WP 5 (Joint Research Activity) aimed to leverage low-power wireless communication capabilities to make in-situ sensing easier to manage and more effective;
• WP 6 (Joint Research Activity) aimed to use the site infrastructures to improve monitoring and facilitate research into key feedback mechanisms from northern terrestrial ecosystems in a changing climate;
• WP 7 (Joint Research Activity) aimed a) to develop and experimentally deploy a geo-tagging service for collecting spatio-temporal metadata about the activities of research in the field, and b) to develop a repository, adapted to the needs of ecologists and other terrestrial researchers, that will make it easier and more efficient to manage, publish and curate the data products obtained through INTERACT;
• WP 8 (Outreach) aimed for the INTERACT community to inform and interact with the public, local and other stakeholders and primary, secondary and tertiary students.
All these aims, deliverables and milestones have been reached and considerable added-value has been attained. The results from this infrastructure consortium are therefore, outstandingly numerous, of high quality and have generated significant impact. There are three main categories of results: results in terms of building the infrastructure network; results of Joint Research Activities that developed specific technologies, methodologies and software; and results from research projects supported by Transnational access that have generated hundreds of scientific publications. Consequently, INTERACT has built capacity for research, monitoring, and education and has furthered our knowledge of the Arctic and the North beyond what was promised. This knowledge is highly beneficial to local residents and the global community that INTERACT has reached out to in many ways and at many levels of society.
(Please note that all references are listed in Template A1 and a list of acronyms can be found in the Appendices).
2. Development of the infrastructure and networking
2.1 Growing a geographically comprehensive and multidisciplinary research infrastructure (WP 1, WP 3)
INTERACT has a highly efficient, effective and small management and coordination structure. The management and coordination team has been proactive and also responsive in establishing collaboration beyond the initial partners: in 2010, INTERACT consisted of 33 partners – in 2015, 77 research stations were associated with INTERACT. Also, during this period, INTERACT became formally a network within IASC and signed MoUs with many networks and organisations. These networks and organisations range from national, through regional to global and INTERACT is now co-lead of the GEO Cold Regions activity and is also represented in the GEO ecosystems activity. The current status is that INTERACT links 77 stations in 19 countries and together these stations host a growing number of researchers each year from all over the world that reached over 5,000 in 2014 (Figure 2). The network (42 stations sampled) also hosts 76 individual discipline networks (Table 1). INTERACT now facilitates research and monitoring throughout the wide environmental envelope of the North, from northern forests and mountains to high-Arctic polar deserts and even the Greenland Ice Sheet (Figure 3a). Furthermore, as environmental change is complex and variable throughout the North, INTERACT facilitates research and monitoring into areas that are responding to environmental change in different ways, some of which are counter-intuitive (Figure 3b).
An important task in “growing INTERACT” was to fully integrate non-EU partners within INTERACT. These partners operate research stations in the Russian Federation, in the USA and in Canada. A major way of integrating these stations includes collating their information on monitoring, research, station management etc. and publishing it on the INTERACT web site to create a one stop shop. The INTERACT non-EU partners were also encouraged to play an equal role in INTERACT as EU partners, but without EU funding. Furthermore, the coordination team and Partner 2 (NERI) have been invited by non-EU partners to advise on issues regarding station management and operation at their meetings. The complete integration of the non-EU partners of INTERACT is visible already by their inclusion on the INTERACT web site (D.1.2) the Station Catalogue (D 2.3) and their attendance at INTERACT meetings (D2.1 D2.2 D3.1).
There is no doubt that INTERACT is THE environmental network of the North and is being used as a model for the Antarctic, for marine research and even for EU consortia that are outside the area of environment.
2.2 Developing management tools
The web-based management tool Progecta has been set-up by CLU and tuned to specific needs to monitor INTERACT partners and activities and to ensure an efficient communication transfer (D.1.1). All the information about the schedule, activities, milestones and deliverables and partners’ budgets were stored in the central database, and a specific domain http://interact.PROGECTA.info has been dedicated to the project.
Many facilities have been implemented in order to increase the communication among the partners and to allow to the Coordinator to easily follow any deviation from the planned activities. A specific INTERACT PROGECTA User Guide has been prepared and distributed to all partners and the system was demonstrated during the Kick-Off meeting. PROGECTA has been used to monitor the state of advancement of project activities. Project participants have been continuously informed by PROGECTA to optimize resources and to respect time constraints and the budget of the project: an automatic alert message informs the responsible partner about a close due date, deliverable release or approval, or about a critical situation. Any important news about the progress of an activity is automatically communicated to WP leaders and the Coordinator. There was a major update of PROGECTA released during Month 15 that included new features such as a People tool, File Manager, Monthly Report and History.
2.3 Communicating within INTERACT – communicating throughout the World (WP 1)
A website was developed for INTERACT by a professional company and published at the start of the project D1.2. The INTERACT web site (together with annual Consortium General Assemblies) is an internal communication system and our window to the rest of the world (Figure 4). During the last five years, it has been populated with ever-increasing information on the growing number of research stations joining INTERACT and ongoing activities in the major components of the INTERACT Consortium (D1.3). The web site is constantly updated with links and news on MoUs as our numerous collaborations with the rest of the world increase further.
The “Home” page (Figure 5) is the welcome page to the web site from which the visitor can navigate to the numerous INTERACT results and news items while the “About” pages present basic information on the project and also contain downloads of results from coordination activities such as minutes and presentations from annual consortium meetings, brochures and posters. General information on the field sites is presented on the “Field Sites” pages. In addition, the pages graphically demonstrate how the stations – that have increased from 33 to 77 in 5 years – strategically sample the environmental envelope of the North.
“Joint Research Activities” pages focus on “Virtual Instrumentation”, ”Improved measurements of feedbacks” and “Data management”. These pages present the deliverables reports which contain the numerous results that together logically follow the sequence of improving the methodology and technology for long-term monitoring at filed stations, improving physical communication systems and making data more accessible.
The “Station Managers’ Forum” pages present the ongoing activities and minutes from the eight Station Managers’ Forum meetings which can be downloaded. Also, three major achievements are down-loadable volumes in pdf-format, these are The Station Catalogue, Management Planning book and Data and Monitoring report.
“Transnational access” introduces the concept and practice of Transnational Access. They also present information about the infrastructures offering access, the calls for access, and descriptions of selected projects as well as scientific publications resulting from visits. The pages also contain blogs from field visits and a pdf of a popular science book based mainly on these visits produced by 138 contributors from 17 countries. A particularly important development was the establishment of a web based system for receiving applications for Transnational Access and for the evaluation of the proposals. The website is continuously updated with news, information and useful functions.
“Outreach” pages present daily information from some of the research stations via their web cams, photos from the surrounding environments, a glossary of Arctic environmental terms and a presentation of the people working in INTERACT. A link to a mass outreach video course on the “Changing Arctic” produced by INTERACT, Tomsk State University and the University of the Arctic is available on the Outreach pages (see the Dissemination Section below and Figure 52).
2.4 Presenting the facilities and environmental settings of Arctic and Northern Research Stations (WP2)
A catalogue with descriptions of ‘Terrestrial field sites for environmental research in the Arctic’ (33 INTERACT and the eleven Observer Stations) was compiled by WP2 (D 2.3) at the start of the project.
The INTERACT Station Catalogue is a one-stop shop for researchers, policy makers, projects and scientific networks for the identification of suitable study sites for their arctic research. It contains a variety of information in a standardised format about all of the individual INTERACT Field Stations at the date of publication in March 2012 (Figure 6). The Station Catalogue included facts about the environment, facilities and services provided at the stations and demonstrates the uniqueness of each station (Figure 7) as well as the large diversity of the entire INTERACT network. A hard copy was produced for wide dissemination (free of charge) and a pdf is downloadable from the INTERACT web site).
The topics covered include all relevant information: general, location, climate, physical setting, station facilities, logistics, scientific equipment and services, access and transport information, as well as the main science disciplines performed at each station (Figure 7). This information was provided by the station managers in the form of fact sheets, descriptive texts, photos of the stations and their surroundings, and activities. The information acquired has been checked for consistency, standardised, edited, sent for layout with the INTERACT branding, and published.
By 2015, INTERACT had grown to include the original 33 partner stations and an additional 44 Observer Stations! Because of the great success of, and demand for, the 2012 Station Catalogue, WP2 up-dated this catalogue and in 2015 published the “INTERACT Station Catalogue 2015” (Figure 6). This was not a deliverable but a significant added-value contribution to INTERACT. The format, visual impact and contents have received wide-spread appreciation from the public, through school teachers and researchers, to Ambassadors and Royalty (Figure 8). Currently, the databases and process developed in INTERACT are being used by CONMAP and the EPB/EU-PolarNet to co-produce a similar catalogue including European Antarctic Bases, and European polar ships and aircraft.
2.5 Bringing the Station Managers together (WP2)
A fundamental task underpinning the whole of INTERACT was to bring together the managers of the research stations to meet, exchange ideas, develop collaborations, improve station management, develop new research, standardise monitoring and make data more accessible. In addition, the meeting gave the managers the opportunity of being totally involved in the operation and development of INTERACT.
Some of the activities resulted in products such as the Station Catalogues described above. The task of bringing station managers together was implemented by WP2 that formed a Station Managers’ Forum. Although communication flowed throughout the network regularly, WP2 arranged meetings, usually back to back with annual Consortium Meetings, and usually held at a research station to gain first-hand experience of challenges and opportunities of running a variety of infrastructures in contrasting settings. Both INTERACT Partner Stations and Observer Stations were represented at the meetings which were held throughout the project period. Minutes of the business discussions were provided to record activities and decisions at the meetings which were fundamental to the development of INTERACT. The meetings were held at Abisko Scientific Research Station, Swedish Lapland, January 2011 (D 2.1) Hvalsø, Denmark, October 2011(D 2.2) Svanhovd, Northern Norway, February, 2012 (D 2.4) Krkonoše National Park, Czech Republic, September 2012 (D 2.5) Greenland Institute of Natural Resources, Nuuk, March 2013 (D 2.7) Abisko Scientific Research Station, Swedish Lapland, September 2013 (D 2.8) and Oulanka Research Station, North-east Finland, February 2014 (D 2.10). In addition, a final meeting was held in Jablona, near Warsaw, in November of the extension year 2015 with financial support from the Polish Observer Station and the Canadian Embassy. This was not a deliverable and was an important added value product to continue INTERACT activities.
2.6 Improving station management and the research environment for scientists (WP2)
Throughout the INTERACT Consortium, there is a vast array of experience on station management – some going back over 100 years – and on all topics from application handling to safety in the field. Now that station managers are meeting together, they can for the first time share and develop best practices for running research stations and improving the user experience. Furthermore, new stations are being established, for example in Russia, Canada and Svalbard, and the managers of these stations can now learn from a wide range of experiences. WP 2 has therefore solicited best practices on station management throughout INTERACT (including the Observer Stations). The network-wide best practices have been compiled into the volume “Management planning for arctic and northern alpine research stations – Examples of good practices” (D 2.6). This is a considerable achievement because the report is approximately 250 pages long and is a comprehensive statement based on the best experiences from all the INTERACT Stations.
The scope of the report (Figure 9) is to identify and describe best practices and key considerations of relevance to station management under arctic and alpine conditions, although it will be a unique and very valuable reference source for many types of research institutions. As stations in the network operate under very different legal regimes, financial conditions, environmental and climatic conditions, as well as remoteness, it was not possible to identify specific best practices that fit all stations. Instead, we have described key issues that should be considered and addressed by station management, and we have supplemented this with examples of good practices from stations operating under different conditions (e.g. different climate, remoteness or size). Eleven themes were selected for the report by station managers: Management plans and check lists, Policies, Staff, Visitors, Permit issues, Health and safety, Environmental management, Marketing and outreach, Research and monitoring, Training and education, and Knowledge capture and data management
Where appropriate, chapter texts were supplemented with examples from INTERACT Stations and in some cases from external sources. Examples related to a specific theme are presented as a link in the text or at the end of a chapter, as a station example describing how the station deals with a specific theme, or in an appendix. Draft theme texts and examples from stations were sent for review within the network before completion.
The detailed contents page and an index provided at the back, allow station management to identify sections relevant for specific management issues. The printed version of this report, freely available on request, has an attractive lay-out with the INTERACT branding and excellent illustrations as established by the Station Catalogue. The volume is also available on-line as a pdf (http://www.eu-interact.org/station-managers-forum/publications/station-management/ ).
2.7 Arctic networking – Global networking (WP 3, WP 1)
INTERACT has been pro-active in establishing links among relevant networks and in being responsive to requests to network based on the external perceptions of the importance of INTERACT (D 3.5). INTERACT is formally an IASC network, leads a task within SAON and has established MoUs and links (D3.5) with many Arctic organisations such as NEON, UArctic, SIOS, ENVRI+, EPB, SAON, ISAC, APECS, CNNRO, FARO. INTERACT’s involvement with EU-funded programs, either through MoUs (e.g. PAGE21 and SIOS: Figure 10) or through mentoring (e.g. INTERACT Chairs the ANAEE International Advisory Board and gave advice to EURODISH) gives added value to EU investments in Arctic research and monitoring. Furthermore, INTERACT’s requested participation in Tri-lateral meetings among the EU, Canada and the USA enables the EU to play a leading role in providing Arctic infrastructure on land throughout the North.
Through its International Advisory Board (WP 1), INTERACT reaches out to the Russian Academy of Sciences, Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada, the National Science Foundation, USA, the European Polar Board (EPB) and the European Environmental Agency (EEA). Furthermore, INTERACT partners include WWF and AMAP.
One example of INTERACT-lead networking is the international workshop entitled “Understanding Biodiversity Changes and Causes – Synergies in Arctic Terrestrial Biodiversity Research and Monitoring” held in Hvalsø, Denmark in 2011 with the purpose of identifying synergies between ongoing biodiversity projects and programmes in the Arctic.
The Workshop was organised jointly with the International Arctic Science Committee’s Terrestrial Working Group and the Circumpolar Biodiversity Monitoring Programme under the Arctic Council. Among the invited participants were several European projects financed by the EU, e.g. LIFEWATCH, SIOS. 83 people participated in the workshop representing a large number of networks, organisations, programmes and projects.
A Synergy Group identified a mechanism for communication between organisations (Figure 11) and identified concrete synergy actions. For example, the concept of the ABC has been further discussed, eg. when representatives of INTERACT, IASC, CBMP, SAON and ISAC met during the IPY meeting in Montreal April 2012 and this networking lead to a planned collaboration between CBMP and INTERACT during the requested second phase of EU funding.
While INTERACT has established networking throughout the Arctic, it is also active at the global scale. INTERACT has been a European Project in the Group on Earth Observations (GEO) since 2011. GEO aims to build a comprehensive Earth Observations System of Systems (GEOSS). INTERACT Transnational Access Coordinator Hannele Savela has represented INTERACT in the GEO Cold Regions and Ecosystems task components since 2012. Currently, she is one of the co-leads of the GEO Cold Regions Initiative, which coordinates global, joint efforts to provide various end users and stakeholders Earth Observation data and information services related to the cold regions, including the Arctic, Antarctic, Himalaya-Third Pole and Mountain areas (Figure 12).
3. Improving Environmental monitoring and research and data management
The INTERACT legacy for long-term monitoring by research stations consists of improved monitoring technology and methodology developed by JRAs (WPs 5 and 6: see below), dissemination of proven and standardised best practices from specialist networks and station experience through the Research and Monitoring report (WP2; Figures 13 and 14), expansion of the monitoring capacity in a growing INTERACT network (WP 1: see section 2.1 above) and dissemination of experience from the Arctic to the Antarctic and global cold regions through collaboration with the European Polar Board and GEO/GEOSS (See section 2.7 above: WPs 1, 2, 3 and 4).
3.1 Increasing awareness of research and monitoring: establishing a baseline (WP 2).
INTERACT station managers produced a report on research and monitoring activities that take place at INTERACT stations (both Partner Stations and Observer Stations). The report is the third publication in the series of INTERACT publications produced by the Station Managers’ Forum. It documents the research and monitoring activities that have been carried out since the year 2000 at the stations. It present recommendations for an INTERACT Minimum Monitoring Program and provides descriptions of best practices for monitoring of selected parameters from protocols of scientific networks and programs.
This report is published together with a searchable metadata database. The report presents:
- INTERACT research and monitoring activities
-INTERACT observational capacity
- Scientific networks in which INTERACT station staff is represented
- Overview of scientific disciplines and parameter groups sampled at INTERACT stations since the year 2000
- Best practices for long-term monitoring
- INTERACT Minimum Monitoring Program
-Scientific networks and programs with best practices sampling protocols.
The report can be used by both station managers and the scientific community. Station managers can use the report to find inspiration for developing or revising the monitoring program at the station, by consulting the recommended INTERACT Minimum Monitoring Program, identifying gaps in disciplines or parameter group coverage at the station, and looking through the descriptions of scientific networks and programs and following relevant leads to best practice sampling protocols. Also, the scientific community can use the report to identify stations that conduct science (disciplines/monitored parameter groups) relevant to their field and identify potential new study sites by searching out gaps in the geographical coverage of relevant disciplines/monitored parameter groups.
The disciple groupings used in the report are: Anthropology, Sociology, Archaeology; Astrophysics; Atmospheric chemistry and physics; Climatology, Climate Change; Community based monitoring citizen science; Ecosystem services; Environmental sciences – Pollution; Geocryology; Geomorphology; Geodesy; Geology, Sedimentology; Geophysics; Glaciology; Human biology, Medicine; Hydrology; Isotopic chemistry; Limnology; Mapping, GIS; Marine biology; Microbiology; Oceanography, Fisheries; Paleoecology; Paleolimnology; Soil science; Terrestrial biology, Biodiversity; Terrestrial biology, Ecosystem function.
To enable the identification of relevant research and monitoring projects or gaps in the scientific knowledge, the geographical coverage of the different scientific disciplines and monitored parameter groups is presented on maps (Figure 14).
3.2 Monitoring biospheric feedbacks from the Arctic’s land surface to climate (WP 6)
Biospheric feedbacks from the Arctic’s surface to the climate system are a major focus of concern with possible global consequences and consequently research and monitoring are essential. Fluxes of carbon are particularly important in the tundra and several INTERACT Stations are measuring these fluxes. However, upscaling from sites and comparisons among them cannot be easily made because of lack of standardisation of measuring equipment and techniques. To solve these problems and to establish new data streams, the Integrated Carbon Observing System (ICOS) was established by the EU. INTERACT WP 6 is in collaboration with ICOS to standardise measurements and to initiate new observations.
In the summer of 2011, an already established carbon flux monitoring station in the Zackenberg Valley, Greenland, was upgraded within D 6.1 to the new ICOS standards with new, state-of-the-art sensors (enclosed path gas analyzer LI-7200, LICOR Inc, USA; and 3D sonic anemometer Gill HS, Gill Instruments Ltd, UK). A power system with combined fuel cells (EFOY) and solar panels has been installed to ensure year-round measurements. Data is being logged at 10 Hz on a CR1000 data logger (Campbell Scientific Inc, USA) during the manned period (May-October) and 5 Hz during the un-manned period (November – April) due to data storage issues. Additionally, sensors monitoring important environmental characteristics such as net radiation (Kipp&Zonen CNR4), snow depth (sonic range, SR50a), soil fluxes (Hukseflux), air, soil and snow temperature, air pressure, precipitation sensor etc., have been installed or upgraded. The upgrade was successfully completed (Figure 15) and data is now being produced following the ICOS-level 2 standards. Also, the installation now forms part of routine observations at Zackenberg and the data will be made available through the Station’s database, through a WP6 INTERACT server in Lund and eventually, the ICOS carbon portal. This development is a case study that has been subsequently applied to other INTERACT Stations.
Advice was given during discussions with a climate modelling group on the ideal locations of these additional stations and the following advice was obtained: a) spread out stations over the INTERACT climate envelope, b) try to avoid physical boundaries (sea, mountains etc.), c) avoid mountain areas and stay in the lowlands if possible, and d) give preference to sites with other information available and data being gathered (which is the case for all the INTERACT Sites).
Consequently, it was decided that 10 sets of sensors would be distributed among 4 different INTERACT sites to cover a large part of the INTERACT climatic gradient that has not been covered previously by earlier initiatives. More than one set of sensors would be placed at each site and the new sensor sets would complement already existing infrastructure to cover for example changes in vegetation (forest vs. no forest) and changes in hydrology connected to permafrost vs no permafrost. We aimed to complement already ongoing activities and to develop systems that can fully monitor the energy exchange that has not been possible to do earlier at the chosen sites. Sites discussed and agreed on were: Nuuk, West Greenland, a fen and a heath) Zackenberg, Northeast Greenland (a heath), Svalbard, high Arctic (a fen), and Abisko, Swedish sub-Arctic (on lake, birch forest, fen and palsa locations). Equipment was therefore established and tested at the 10 contrasting locations (D 6.2). In addition, further energy exchange measurements were added to seven out of ten towers as part of the deliverable as a clear wish was expressed from the climate and feedback modelling community which requested improvement of the availability of these types of data.
Initial problems were experienced at all locations, mainly with the power supply as a new fuel cell technology was problematic, and with a manufacturing problem of the net radiometers. However, all installations were established according to the deliverable (D 6.3) and during 2012, despite many practical and technical hurdles, all INTERACT stations that hosted the GHG and energy exchange equipment now hold multi-year (2012 to 2015) datasets on energy exchange and several of them also include greenhouse gas measurements (D 6.5: Figure 16). The data that have been gathered are being made available from a central server placed at ULUND. This data will support wider GHG flux measurement operations as well as regional climate model validation.
Already, data gathered on GHG and energy exchange at several INTERACT sites have been analysed for cross comparisons (D 6.4 and D 6.6). These are valuable for understanding the spatial variability of the Arctic terrestrial landscapes and their feedbacks to a changing climate. The deliverable has multiple spatial and temporal dimensions and publications have been achieved which are only the first in a series of envisioned analyses. Publications include A comparative approach to assess variation in surface energy fluxes in northern high-latitude ecosystems: An analysis by Christian Stiegler, Anders Lindroth, Magnus Lund, Torben R. Christensen, and Mikhail Mastepanov. In addition, an abstract of a presentation delivered at the AGU in December 2013 and EGU in April 2014 (Carbon dioxide and surface energy balance of subarctic palsa mires related to permafrost degradation, Christian Stiegler, Anders Lindroth, Torben R. Christensen, Margareta Johansson) and submitted for publication in a journal is presented in Table 2 and the group provided a science story to the Transnational access outreach book (see section 5 below). Also, a Nordic Center of Excellence funded PhD program (Christian Stiegler) has focused on analyzing and making cross-comparisons of data from the INTERACT towers and this has been defended successfully in February 2016.
The studies so far show that, in general, pronounced differences in net radiation (Rn) occur between the Abisko fen and the palsa plateau sites, which might be caused by a lower albedo and increased surface temperatures at the wet fen. Diurnal turbulent fluxes of latent heat (LE) exceed the fluxes of sensible heat (H) at all investigated mires. Nevertheless, large differences between the sites have been observed. On average, 62% of the available Rn at the fen sites was partitioned into LE, while H and ground heat flux (G) consumed 28% and 10% of Rn. At the palsa plateau sites, LE consumed 56%, H and G consumed 35% and 9% respectively. Diurnal trends in CO2 and water vapour exchange do not significantly differ between the sites. The results show that the dry surfaces and the wet surfaces are distinctly different sources for sensible and latent heat fluxes. During periods of low Rn the difference is less pronounced. CO2 fluxes do not significantly differ between the wet fen and dry palsa sites.
Future analyses will include local, regional and circumpolar scales. The data from the WP6 comparison efforts are now making their impact through communications in the scientific literature, at scientific meetings and in PhD training.
3.3 Automating Measurements in the Field - Plant Phenology (WP 5)
Many monitoring activities in the field are labour-intensive, involve working in harsh conditions and sometimes in potentially dangerous circumstances. Also, as observers change from season to season, observer bias is sometimes also an issue. For these reasons, it is important to improve the automation of field measurements.
Plant phenology (the timing of seasonal events such as leaf bud-burst and flowering) is an important indicator of climate change impacts on vegetation and is an important driver for ecological interactions such as pollinator biodiversity. The “Biobasis” long term monitoring program at the Zackenberg Research Station in Northeast Greenland includes phenology as an important factor to measure and focuses on inter-annual variability of phenology and productivity.
There are various ways of measuring phenology but D 5.3 is interested in the one based on plot counts. Plots are structures designed to mark a piece of land designated for monitoring. Examples of measured variables are: percentage of snow cover, number of fully open leaves and number of male flowers of a species. To make plot counts is labour-intensive for a technician who repeats the measurements throughout the growing season and year by year. To optimise the process, a new workflow for phenology monitoring was devised based on photos taken in the field. This is the necessary first step towards an automatic monitoring system for phenology. The workflow presented in D 5.3 allows for an offline, reproducible counting of plants at various stages of their development. The image time series thus acquired in the field can be reused for other purposes or distributed as raw data for documentation. The field test conducted at Zackenberg shows very promising results.
The D 5.3 report includes a description of the homography aided plot based phenology measurements devised. The new work-flow for plant phenology monitoring was tested at Zackenberg during the summer season of 2012. The new workflow replaces the manual counts previously done in the field on physical plots, with counts done on images. Much of the photo-plot work-flow relates to images and how these are processed. A main component is an automated image processing algorithm that normalizes pictures from the field into a common format. After applying a normalization algorithm the images seem to be taken from the same point. A graphical user interface (GUI) was also designed to annotate images (Figure 17). It differentiates itself from other labelers in that it is specifically designed to work with time series of phenological plot images. Future work includes the application of advanced computer vision techniques to automatize (part of) the phenology monitoring process based on images collected from cameras carried by technicians, from fixed location cameras, or from cameras embedded on drones that fly over large sections (instead of plots).
The results of this deliverable formed part of a PhD for Javier Gonzalez at the Institute of Technology, University of Copenhagen (2015).
3.4 Improving sensor performance and networking (WP 5)
Ecological research and possibly education can benefit from Internet-based access to the sensors deployed at Arctic field stations. While the paradigm of virtual instrumentation is well-understood for remote sensing (where satellite images and associated filters can readily be made available on the World Wide Web), the notion of virtual instrumentation is yet to be defined for in-situ sensing. Our premise in WP5 is that sensor networking is a key technology to allow remote, virtual access to the sensors deployed in the field.
A report was produced (D 5.1) in which the issues related to sensor networking in the Arctic were surveyed. Ecologists in the Arctic have deployed in-situ sensing infrastructures to observe and monitor the biotic and abiotic factors in a given ecosystem for years. They primarily rely on fixed data loggers to collect and store data from a wide variety of sensors. The goal of sensor networking is to transform these data loggers from stand-alone, isolated systems to networked systems that can be controlled and accessed online. In the report, the issues related to short range and long range communications are listed, existing solutions are described for station managers - and the issues that remain to be solved are discussed. Finally, a snapshot of sensor networking in the INTERACT field stations is given based on a survey of 22 station managers.
The snapshot of sensor networking in the INTERACT field stations showed that a small portion of all data loggers (incl. Digital sensors such as cameras) deployed in the field stations is currently available remotely from the station or online via the Internet (Figure 18). Interestingly those two numbers are different – it is typically the case when a data logger is connected via a 0-hop infrastructure – either satellite or GPRS, while the station itself is not on the Internet. Only two stations have deployed low power short range communication networks (such as 802.15.4 or Pakbus) while a third of the stations have some form of Wifi in place. Interestingly, satellite connections are more widespread than Wifi. In this respect, it is interesting to note that none of the 22 field stations that answered the survey has been involved in the preparation of the next generation satellite infrastructure for the Arctic. This is definitely a problem, and WP5 has established contact with the Articom community to get the INTERACT community involved in the next phases of the next generation satellites preparations.
While half of the stations have Internet available for scientists on site, only two stations have extended Internet coverage for data loggers. There is a long way to go towards the vision of virtual instruments. Interestingly, half of the sites report that they have staff with expertise on wireless networking. So there is a strong basis for adoption of appropriate technologies for virtual instrumentation. The D5.1 report is accompanied by a Web site (D 5.2) that contains background information and related links at the following URL: http://www.eu-interact.org/joint-research-activities/virtual-instrumentation/ . The web pages were formatted according to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) (see http://www.eu-interact.org/joint-research-activities/virtual-instrumentation/best-practises/). The content of the web pages is: 1. What is a Wireless Sensor Network? 2. What is a radio link? 3. What is a 900 MHz or 2.4 GHz radio? 4. What is an antenna? 5. What is 802.11? 6. What is 802.15.4? 7. What is a protocol? And 8. How to dimension a Radio Link?
Based on the lack of implementation yet need for sensor networking, WP 5 within D 5.4 demonstrated the feasibility and the potential of transforming data loggers deployed in the INTERACT stations into networked devices that can be connected to the Internet, and thus transformed into virtual instruments. But what kind of radio link can be established in the harsh environmental conditions of the INTERACT consortium? What kind of techniques can be used to plan a deployment? What kind of technology is best adapted to the arctic conditions? What is the actual impact of the meteorological conditions on performance? How to overcome the limitations of low quality radio links? These are the issues addressed in D 5.4).
In D 5.4 the results of two campaigns conduced at Zackenberg and Abisko were synthesised in a report investigating the establishment of wireless radio links to data loggers deployed in the field, the quality of these radio links in the harsh arctic environment, and the merits of delay tolerant networks to achieve resilience in the presence of low quality radio links.
The results of the deployment and measurement campaigns are very promising and the technology for establishing quality radio links for data loggers deployed in the Arctic is rapidly maturing. The key issue is the planning of deployments and the resilience of the deployed solutions. The design of radio links for the Zackenberg station has been established (e.g. Figure 19) and the potential of a delay tolerant network has been investigated, possibly based on the utilization of UAVs for carrying data in the absence of high quality radio links.
Consequently, a quadrocopter-prototype (Figure 20) has been developed and evaluated during a master thesis project by J. Hotby, University of Uppsala, Sweden. The quadrocopter can navigate autonomously between different GPS-positions that are updated during flight trough Xbee-modules. All levels from sources code, design of the electronics to development of the chassis was performed during the project. The quadrocopter was tested on an open field in Uppsala. During GPS-navigation the quadrocopter was able to achieve a stationary position with a mean stationary offset of less than 0.5 meters even in light winds. Further tests are required in harsher environments.
At Abisko, experiments on delay tolerant networks involved building a mobile phone application for the Android operating system that wirelessly can connect to sensor nodes and transfer sensor data into its database. In the same way, when the mobile phone gets into contact with infrastructure networks (e.g. cellular network or wireless access points at the research station), it transfers the data in its database to the server. Thus, remote sensing with long distance between sensor nodes and the server at a research station can be bridged by the mobility of users.
These results are very encouraging and should be followed by further measurement campaigns, to validate the D5.4 designs.
3.5 Improving data management (WP 3, WP 5, WP 7)
Making data more accessible and providing formats that make data use more easy ensure legacy for the vast quantities of data captured throughout the INTERACT research stations. INTERACT already provides data and metadata to numerous repositories and end users and this has led to a very complex system where data discovery is difficult. Data is currently channelled to station archives, repositories associated with specific networks, and also regional and global repositories. However, a particular challenge is to capture data gathered by visiting researchers hosted by the stations. Consequently, INTERACT has improved data management in a number of ways.
The production and up-dating of the INTERACT Station Catalogue, and the volume and data base on Research and Monitoring since the year 2000 (see sections 2.4 and 3.1 above), have been very useful in making information on the facilities and activities at stations widely visible in the form of metadata. In addition, a particularly innovative system has been developed by WP7: the AbiskoGIS (later developed into the generic NordGIS and INTERACTGIS; Figure 21). The AbiskoGIS combines station management, particularly the application procedure for visiting scientists, with the capture of metadata on projects that is displayed in GIS format (D 7.2). The system has been refined to include monitoring meta data (D 7.5) and made publically available at http://www.abiskogis.se from 2013-01-01 (D 7.4). This It is a web-based geographic information system that is providing geo-referenced metadata regarding research and monitoring activities performed under the auspices of the Abisko Scientific Research Station through the approximate period from 1980 until present. In addition, the system is generically designed for every-day administration of station-based research and monitoring activities, including semi-automated handling of visitors and their associated lodging. Via the administration of visitors, standardized (INSPIRE-compatible) protocols (D 7.8) are utilized for harvesting new metadata that describe their intended research and monitoring activities. When these metadata are added to the existing geo-database, present station activities are connected with the past at real-time pace. Since the provision of metadata is a compulsory prerequisite for being able to enter the station, the procedures for continuous update of the geo-database breathes life into the system, and constitutes an essential key to its survival. A rationale for how the database may be queried (sampled) via the user interface of NordGIS/INTERACT GIS is presented in D 7.9. This system is being applied to an increasing number of INTERACT stations and also to the SITES network of Swedish Research Stations. Metadata thus captured by INTERACT is being fed into the SAON initiative.
In addition to making data more accessible, new software has been developed (ScanDB: Deliverable 7.6) to help researchers visualise and analyse data. Deliverable D 7.1 focused on two case studies (Biobasis observations in Zackenberg and CO2 flux data from Abisko) to describe the activities that take place throughout the data lifecycle, to identify the users that are involved in those activities and the tools that are used to support them. Based on these case studies and on a review of the data management tools available today, the baseline functionalities of ScanDB wer defined. This is a repository for ecological data products that should complement existing tools to more efficiently support data products management throughout their lifecycle. ScanDB is a tool to help scientists to store time-series coming from different sources and with different properties. Since there is no standard way of describing how to work with scientific data, each scientist defines his/her own workflow. This makes it hard for many scientists to work together and share data. ScanDB V0 helps scientists, allowing them to import data sets into a repository, annotating changes and keeping track of how data is updated with time. In this way, scientists can work directly with the data stored in the repository, avoiding "information specialists" and other middlemen, and increasing information awareness for other scientists. Also, by increasing provenance information, scientists can better determine the quality and lineage of the data in the repository. The ScanDB V0 software has been designed and is now available at D 7.3 and a refined version, the ScanDB V1 trusted cells software is available by anonymous ftp at ScanDBV1.zip (D 7.6). The README file describes how to install the software. The INTERACT Metadata Management System is accessible on http://interact.madgik.di.uoa.gr:8080 . A usability report is also available (D. 7.7).
This methodology is currently being applied to data from the Greenlandic Stations within INTERACT as part of the GEM program.
4. Results from the establishment of a transnational access programme
INTERACT’s Transnational access programme was highly successful and, we believe, set new records: we achieved circum-polar TA to 24 stations in 10 countries; we enabled hundreds of users, including early career scientists, to access the Arctic; and we produced hundreds of publications.
There are three main types of results from the trans-national access program: (a) the results of the operational development of the program which successfully produced an efficient and effective flow path from deciding on and publishing calls through to evaluation and making arrangements for visits with research stations; (b) the achievements of the work package in terms of numbers nationalities, ages, disciplines and countries visited by award recipients and (c) the scientific results and publications resulting from the completed visits (see Deliverable D4.3 and section 4.3 below).
4.1 Transnational Access Operational System
The Thule Institute at the University of Oulu led the Transnational Access work package, WP4 and the first task (D4.1) was the selection of the WP4 coordinator, Dr Hannele Savela, for the whole project period (April 1st 2011 to 31st December 2015 including the extension year of 2015). Dr Savela’s tasks included ensuring information flow among the visitors, among 24 research stations, the TA Evaluation Board and the lead coordinator. The TA coordinator was responsible for TA calls and TA Board meeting arrangements, reporting and overall running of the WP4.
The TA Evaluation Board consisted of 11 members: 5 were experts in the various disciplines represented among the INTERACT stations, 5 were station managers representing geographical regions throughout the Arctic and one was an early career scientist nominated by APECS. The experts represented the fields of ecology, microbiology, biogeochemistry, permafrost, geomorphology and freshwater biology while the regional coverage was represented as North America, Greenland, the North Atlantic, Scandinavia and Russia. The Board was chaired by the INTERACT Coordinator and the Secretary was the TA Coordinator.
The Board decided on key strategic calls to fill important research gaps (such as winter ecology and biogeocycling processes) identified by major international initiatives and the Board evaluated applications to these targeted calls as well as general applications that were also widely solicited by the TA Coordinator (Figure 22). The TA Board evaluated all proposals using scores from one to five (poor to excellent) based on four evaluation criteria: Scientific quality of the planned research (novelty, innovation and feasibility, overlaps or conflicts with existing research); Scientific merits of the user group leader (professional quality, young researcher vs. researcher with merits); Relevance for the INTERACT goals (added value); Value for money (costs vs. new scientific knowledge).
The Board met virtually and physically to discuss individual applications where assessments varied greatly between Board members and to review the development of the science coverage in TA projects. Where applications by early career scientists, and particularly those from Central European countries failed due to inexperience, the Board acted as mentors making suggestions and allowing a revised application to be submitted. Finally recommendations were made that were passed by the TA Coordinator to the appropriate station managers who could accept, or very rarely reject, the recommendations. Following the final decisions, the TA Coordinator kept close contact with agreed user groups and station managers to ensure a smooth process. Subsequently, the application and evaluation systems were refined, for example, by making the evaluation process an on-line procedure. Feedback was solicited from users and station managers.
Altogether 90% of the user groups and 80% of station managers that provided access provided feedback in their project report (D4.4). The overall success of the Transnational Access scheme and the importance of TA in facilitating Arctic research was shown from user (Figure 23) and stations perspectives (Figure 24). The general satisfaction of the TA User Groups towards their access visits was at a high level and they feel like they have been supported in their research by the TA coordination and station staff: e.g. ”The INTERACT administration was very friendly and helpful and replied to all questions extremely fast and competently.” ”The support and engagement of the station staff ensured the success of our complex field program.”
The station managers also clearly appreciated the EU Transnational Access scheme as a tool in facilitating research and international collaboration, as exemplified by the following comment in one of the feedback responses: “Amazing team job! Thanks so much for the great time working with you within TA. Transnational Access is very productive, effective and much needed tool for larger and international research collaborations!” The main positive impacts were: gaining new users, the initiation of new research projects, and increased visibility (Figure 24). The most important topic identified for improvement was the complex system of travel reimbursement that varied from station to station.
Achievements of the Transnational access system
Results of the transnational access system exceeded those proposed in deliverable D. 4.2 because access to North American research stations was achieved with funding from various sources in Canada (2 stations) and the US (2 stations). Transnational Access (TA) was offered to 20 terrestrial research stations located in the northernmost parts of the Europe and the Russian Federation. Altogether 7251 person-days of access were used in 2011-2014 by 185 user groups (539 users) that were selected after scientific evaluation (D4.2). This represents 73% of the total amount of days offered in the Grant agreement. Altogether 303 eligible user groups applied for TA. The overall success rate was 64%. TA to Canada and the US with national funding from North America is an added product to INTERACT (Figure 25, Table 3).
The TA calls executed during the projects’ lifetime (including extension year) were: 1, March-April 2011 (for summer season 2011); 2, August 2011 (for winter season 2011 – 2012); 3, November-December 2011 (for summer season 2012); 4, October 2012 (for winter 2012/13 and summer season 2013), 5, February 2013 (targeted call for summer season 2013 for access to the Boreal stations), 6, August-September 2013 (for winter 2013/14 and summer season 2014) and 7, March 2015 (for summer season 2015) only for the North American stations.
The user groups were from 19 EU Member States or Associated States. Most TA user groups (34%) were from the UK, followed by Austria (8%) and Germany, The Netherlands and Sweden (7% each). The largest discipline among the user groups was Ecosystems and Biodiversity (47% of the user groups), followed by Global Change & Climate Observation (27% of the user groups) and Other –Earth Sciences (13%). Other disciplines (Water Sciences/Hydrology, Other -Environment, Molecular and cellular biology) were each represented by less than 10% of the user groups. The category “Other” (2%) consisted of individual groups representing veterinary sciences, other life sciences, law, and engineering and technology (Figure 26). The gender balance of the TA users was 66% male and 34% female. New users represented 74% of the users, whereas 27% were returning users. Altogether 44% of the users were young scientists (undergraduate, post-graduate, post-doc).
One particular success story was an experiment on pollinator activity at 16 INTERACT sites. This was commented on in the world-leading journal “Science” (Figure 27) but apart from the important science impact, the project established the modus operandi for future “Remote access” demonstrating a) the power of access to multiple stations that cannot all be visited simultaneously; b) the economic efficiency of a project that does not require a user group to access multiple stations in remote areas and c) the maturity of the INTERACT network in which multiple stations act together to facilitate important research in a standardised way at multiple locations.
5. Results from research projects supported by Transnational access (please note: all references are listed in the Appendix or in the INTERACT Stories of Arctic Science Book)
The transnational access programme resulted in 263 publications of various types, including papers in international peer-reviewed journals (D4.3). It is impossible to list all the results from these published papers. However, the INTERACT Stories of Arctic Science book was produced to make important results from the Transnational access projects available and linguistically accessible to a wide audience. It is freely available on the INTERACT web site as an educational resource, an outreach resource, and an information source for researchers on topics beyond their fields of interest. The book is not an INTERACT deliverable and is added value, subsidised by Tomsk State University and the University of the Arctic. It presents 52 stories representative of 7 themes, each headed by an overview chapter written by experts – often members of the Transnational Access Evaluation Board. Furthermore, it has a Preface written by Her Royal Highness Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden. Example results from 2 stories are presented below for each theme to show the diversity, high quality, importance and success of the transnational access projects.
5.1 Landscapes and land-forming processes
In the overview to this section, Bleuten and Jonasson (2015) introduce the stories which present the appearance, properties and dynamics of landforms as a framework in which to understand the dynamics of physical and biological processes in relation to climate warming.
Evaluating radar remote sensing data for Arctic tundra landscapes. INTERACT is an ideal infrastructure for validating computer models of changing land surfaces as well as for ground-truthing information derived from satellites. However, these validations are implemented far too rarely. Sobiech-Wolf (2015) worked at the Zackenberg Station in Northeast Greenland and mapped the spatial distribution of vegetation types and the structure of the surface (Figure 28), measured soil moisture at more than 4,000 points, and determined the biomass and vegetation water content at 20 different locations. In the laboratory, she analysed the corresponding satellite images and explored correlations between the radar signals and the natural conditions in the study area, finding that the spatial signal variations neither match the main vegetation distribution in the valley nor the soil moisture distribution. Future analysis will show if the biomass water content or the surface roughness (structure) is the dominating factor influencing the signal or if the X-band satellite signal is a mixture of too many parameters to get spatial environmental information out of shortwave radar images.
Outburst flood characteristics of a glacier-dammed lake in Northeast Greenland. In complete contrast to the slow land-forming processes occurring over millennia, short term events also shape the land surface and they can be dangerous. One such process is the rapid draining of lakes formed by glacier melt. This has been investigated by Rea et al. (2015) near the Zackenberg Station in Northeast Greenland. During the annual melting period, a glacier-dammed side valley is filled with meltwater from snow and ice of the surrounding glaciers and a significant but short-lived lake is built up in about two months. Eventually, the lake water overcomes the barrier and is totally drained in days or weeks. This is called a “glacial lake outburst flood” (GLOF). However, a more catastrophic, rapid-rising type of GLOF, which is very difficult to document, shows a discharge in just hours or days and a catastrophic flood wave rushes through the valley. This cannot be explained by the classic theory. Thus process-orientated studies are needed and the project was able to achieve a continuous GPS and geophysical monitoring strategy over the whole fill- and drain cycle of a glacial lake in Greenland in 2012 (Figure 30). Due to the very successful field campaign, the project team could gather a precious and rare data set. The first results suggest the infiltration of a high pressurised water sheet at the ice dam-glacier bed intersection at least one week before the outburst itself.
Permafrost is an integral part of many northern landscapes and has profound implications for infrastructures and economies in the North (Johansson, 2015). Also, it interacts with many ecosystems, local hydrology, vegetation, biogeochemical, and biogeophysical cycling (land-atmosphere linkages). Some of these topics have been researched by transnational access projects.
Greenhouse gas dynamics in a changing sub-Arctic landscape. Sub-Arctic ecosystems such as in northernmost Scandinavia are especially sensitive to climate changes because they experience a mean annual temperature close to 0 °C. Although its coverage is discontinuous, permafrost is still present, which means that crossing the 0 °C threshold can trigger large landscape changes which induce changes in the greenhouse gas balance which, in turn, will affect climate. Within a peatland undergoing permafrost thaw near the Abisko Station, Jammet et al (2015) mounted a permanent measurement station located between two ecosystems representative of a post-permafrost stage: a fen-type wetland and a shallow lake. The station measures surface atmosphere exchanges of greenhouse gas and energy and various other environmental information in order to explain the variability in the fluxes observed. In summer the lake emits less methane than the wetland it borders (Figure 31) but winter was observed as an important season for the production of carbon dioxide and methane: 20% of the annual fen methane emissions were observed during the coldest season.
Stable isotopes as indicators of environmental change. Palsa (hummocks with a permafrost core) peatlands are an important carbon pool and their carbon balance is predicted to be changed by the current climate warming in the sub-Arctic (e.g.near the Abisko Station). Natural abundance of stable carbon isotopes is a useful tool to detect palsa degradation and palsa development. Such analyses help to understand processes related to natural and climate-induced changes including peat formation and peat decomposition. Consequently, Krüger and Alewell (2015) analysed 36 soil profiles from degraded to non-degraded sites in three palsa peatlands. In transects, they found significant differences between the degraded and non-degraded sites in stable carbon isotope abundance with increasing depth down the profiles (Figure 32). Palsa mires have a complex relief of hummocks, which are upheaved by permafrost thickening and the wetter depressions in between, called hollows. Differences in the depth patterns of stable isotope abundance indicate the disturbance of hummocks by permafrost thawing as well as disturbance in the hollows due to the input of degrading palsa material. Furthermore, isotopes indicate the uplifting of the peat by permafrost in the intact palsas due to a change in decomposer metabolism (from anaerobic to aerobic).
5.3 Snow and Ice
Higher air temperatures are resulting in rapid changes in Arctic snow and ice extent and thickness (Rosqvist, 2015). These changes matter globally because of interactions between the climate and the cryosphere, often leading to accelerated warming through positive feedback mechanisms. Changes in snow and ice are also highly important for ecosystems and people in the Arctic. The “snow and ice” section contains stories based on the structure, contamination and reflectivity of the snow pack and on the changing characteristics of glaciers.
Adaptations and survival of microorganisms on snow and ice. Glaciers are often assumed to be lifeless, yet they are colonized by a plethora of algae, bacteria, fungi, and even invertebrates which do not just survive but thrive on snow and ice surfaces. Among these microorganisms, snow and ice algae (microscopic, single-celled plants) grow and reproduce dramatically (they bloom) during the summer melting season. These algal blooms transform snow and ice surfaces (Figure 33) into colourful environments (Figure 34). Algae produce coloured pigments (e.g. green, red and black), for various reasons, including as protection against cold or as screens against the high, Arctic UV radiation. Such colours can massively reduce albedo and enhance melting. Thus snow and ice algae regulate a relatively large part of Earth’s global carbon cycle. Benning (2015) therefore visited INTERACT stations in Southeast Greenland and Arctic Sweden. They found that the albedo values measured in green and red snow or grey ice are approximately 30-35 % lower than in clean white snow (Lutz et al., 2014). Such drastic changes will invariably lead to a positive feedback.
Glacier monitoring in Southeast Greenland. The warming in Greenland over the past 30 years has resulted in increased mass loss both from the Greenland Ice Sheet and from smaller alpine glaciers contributing to global sea-level rise. Since half of the estimated global glacier surface area and two thirds of its volume are located in the circumpolar Arctic Region, this makes glacier observations and the understanding of glacier surface mass-balance trends of northern latitudes essential. Out of approximately 20,000 individual alpine glaciers in Greenland comparable long-term estimates are only available from one site – Mittivakkat Gletscher near the Sermilik Research Station in Southeast Greenland. Mernild and Hanna (2015) studied the glacier and to effectively demonstrate the effect of climate change in the context of long-running glacier records (Mernild and Hanna, 2015; Mernild et al., 2013). They documented record annual mass loss in 2011 for the Mittivakkat Gletscher (Figure 35) in an archive dating back to 1995 and showed that the glacier is significantly out of balance with its present day climate and is committed to additional losses of at least 70 % of its current area and 80 % of its volume over the next decades.
5.4 Land-atmosphere linkages
Due to the strong seasonality in energy receipts at high northern latitudes, as well as the enhanced sensitivity of many biological and chemical reactions to warming when temperatures are low, these regions represent the “front-line” in terms of on-going and potential impacts of climate change on biogeochemistry and the Earth System (Wookey and Christensen, 2015). Related to this is the energy balance of ecosystems which in itself will have interactions with climate as the proportions of energy absorbed and reflected by different land surfaces will change with changing vegetation and duration of lake ice and snow cover. INTERACT-funded projects have tackled some of the key unknowns and uncertainties in the biogeochemistry and biogeophysics of northern high latitudes.
Energy exchange in the Arctic– a “butterfly effect” for the global climate? Because the tundra covers large parts of our planet, changes in energy balance are of crucial importance for the global climate system, Stiegler et al. (2015) studied albedo (reflectivity of a surface). They found that snow cover has an important impact on the energy balance at two INTERACT stations (one near Nuuk, West Greenland and the other Zackenberg, Northeast Greenland). When the snow has melted, soil moisture and the type of plant cover also affect albedo (Figure 36). As snow duration is declining and taller plants pushing up through the snow are invading many tundra areas, albedo is being further reduced. Although the effect is small on a local scale, shifts in the exchange of energy and greenhouse gases between the tundra and the atmosphere can change our global climate. Stiegler et al. (2015) are investigating how powerful the effect is.
Fluxes of biogenic volatile organic compounds from plants in Greenland. Plants emit different amounts of biogenic volatile organic compounds (which are trace gases) mostly dependent on temperature and light conditions. BVOCs can react with greenhouse gases or enhance aerosol production in the atmosphere with significant impact on the climate system. The composition of the specific chemical blend emitted, as well as its variability with season is, however, hardly known. Also, the climate impacts of these aerosols currently is one of the least understood processes in the climate system. Working at the Arctic Station, West Greenland, Holst (2015) was able to make sophisticated measurements over a large part of the growing season into late autumn. The ecosystem in Disko Bay emitted about the same amounts of BVOCs as those from other sites at high latitudes, for example in Abisko in sub-Arctic Sweden– even if the vegetation is different. At both sites the emissions increase strongly with temperature (Figure 37), showing that temperature stress for the plants due to climate change might boost emissions of BVOCs from these ecosystems. As the specific trace gases measured during this project are important for forming aerosols, we need to understand the processes causing their emissions to be able to improve the climate models.
5.5 Life on Arctic Lands
Over the last 25,000 years of human history, the Arctic, of all places on Earth, has experienced perhaps the most dramatic of changes in geography, plant and animal life, and human occupation (Körner et al., 2015). With the Arctic experiencing the most rapid rates of warming on the planet over the past few decades, and with undeveloped areas becoming accessible for transport and mineral and oil exploitation, Arctic ecosystems are continuing to change dramatically. The stories in this section focus on ecological and biodiversity responses to climate change.
Patterns of insect herbivory along altitudinal gradients in a polar region. At the global scale, the larger part of herbivory is attributed to insects, either as background herbivory when insect populations are at their “normal” densities, or as “outbreak” herbivory when populations of some species occasionally reach very high numbers, dramatically damaging plants. Although background losses of plant foliage to insects in sub-Arctic forests are relatively minor, from 1.5 to 7.5 %, even a small increase in background herbivory due to climate warming can cause severe negative impacts on tree growth. Studies of insect-plant interactions along natural abiotic gradients near the Khibiny Station in the Kola Penninsula were carried out by Kozlov & Zverev (2015) to evaluate the impacts of climate on insect herbivory and to predict effects of climate change on plant damage by insects. In the first study of the altitudinal pattern in insect herbivory conducted beyond the Polar Circle, Kozlov & Zverev (2015) demonstrated surprising results in that in harsh environmental conditions at the upper tree limit some unknown factors may facilitate insect herbivory relative to the more benign environment of low-altitude forests (Figure 38), counterbalancing adverse effects of lower temperatures on insects.
Is rodent-borne Ljungan virus responsible for mortality in migrating Norwegian lemmings (Lemmus lemmus)? In 1998, a new virus (Ljungan virus, LV) was isolated in wild populations of bank voles (Myodes glareolus). Recent optimization and testing of a serological technique using LV-positive rodent samples show that humans can apparently be infected with LV, or an LV-type virus, but its ability to cause symptoms has not been definitively proven, and species-specificity has not been investigated. Since the bank vole and other rodents could act as reservoirs of LV, knowledge of LV’s geographical and host range is necessary to assess its potential importance as a human pathogen and to identify possible zoonotic reservoirs. Also, because LV is one of the only rodent-borne viruses that causes pathologies in the rodent itself, this virus may also have an effect on rodent ecology. In 2010, the role of LV in lemmings and in lemming cycles had not been examined. Consequently, Hauffe et al. (2015) worked at the Kilpisjärvi Biological Station in Finnish Lapland to collect samples during population peaks for screening LV. Only two out of 122 Norwegian lemmings were positive for LV, so it seems unlikely that LV is responsible for the mortality of lemmings at high densities. Hauffe et al. (2015) also found that the bank vole is probably the main reservoir of LV and, for the first time, detected LV in the tundra vole (M. oeconomus). Their samples will also be used for further studies on the virus, including estimates of genetic variability, which are essential for the future development of a vaccine, should this prove necessary.
5.6 Life in cold waters
The Arctic can be thought of as a vast circum-polar wetland (Vincent and Paavola 2015): most of the World’s waterbodies greater than 0.1 km2 occur on northern permafrost catchments and collectively total more than 300,000 km2. Northern, inland waters are very diverse and very important as habitats for aquatic life, as sentinels as well as integrators of environmental change, as potential emitters of globally significant quantities of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere and as a vital resource for the people who live and work in the North. This section presents some of the current themes in northern freshwater research taking place through the INTERACT network of terrestrial field stations.
Finding cold-adapted bacteria to combat organic pollutants in the Arctic. Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) are long-lived persistent organic pollutants whose widespread use and chemical stability has led to extensive environmental contamination, even in remote areas such as the Arctic. Despite their persistent nature, PCBs can be transformed, even at low temperature, into chemical substances by different microbial metabolic pathways, both in the presence or absence of oxygen. Cold adapted bacteria therefore possess high biotechnological potential. Investigations on the ecology and physiology of such bacteria are needed to develop efficient bioremediation strategies. Consequently, the late Michaud and co-workers (2015) wanted to find a relationship between the amount of PCBs detected in water and sediment and the occurrence of cold-adapted PCB-degrading bacteria. They worked at the Bioforsk Svanhovd Station near Pasvik River, the largest river system in Northern Fennoscandia. This river is contaminated by a wide range of toxic and bioaccumulative substances, including PCBs. A moderate PCB contamination was determined in water and sediment samples and a number of PCB-oxidizing bacteria were isolated. These were able to degrade PCB mixtures at low temperature and harboured genes involved in the PCB degradation process.
Microbial biodiversity in polar lake ecosystems: why is it different at the North and South Pole? Ecosystems in shallow Arctic and Antarctic lakes are largely based on biofilms, complex microbial communities of bacteria and micro-eukaryotes (small single celled plants and animals), which inhabit the bottom sediments as mats. Despite the huge importance of microbial organisms in aquatic ecosystems, their biodiversity remains understudied and hence little understood. It has often been assumed that microbial species, unlike animals and plants, have unlimited dispersal and will therefore be found wherever the environment is suitable for growth. As a result, formation of new species in isolation should be negligible and global biodiversity low. The Arctic and Antarctic offer a unique opportunity to test this hypothesis so Sabbe et al. (2015) made a comparison of biofilm diversity between Arctic and Antarctic lakes. They worked at two INTERACT stations, to cover the low Arctic zone near the Greenland Institute of Natural Resources, West Greenland, and the high Arctic at Zackenberg, Northeast Greenland. Their preliminary results uncovered a high microbial diversity in the Greenland lakes with species different from those in similar habitats in Antarctica (Figure 39). This suggests different evolutionary pathways for biofilm community development in each Polar Region and evidence that the current theory of evolution in isolation can be questioned.
5.7 People in the North
People have inhabited Arctic and sub-Arctic regions for millennia Dick et al. (2015). Today the northern circumpolar region of our planet is home to approximately 13.1 million people who are spread across a vast territory of 8 countries and some 21.5 million square kilometres. Of this population, Indigenous Peoples are estimated to represent about 10 percent of the total population. Other inhabitants included descendants of Norwegian Vikings and Russians that migrated to the Arctic during the past 1,000 years. In the North, the issue of remoteness and traditional ways of life in many northern communities have buffered modernisation and massive resource development. Arctic residents, specifically the Aboriginal peoples, are resourceful, resilient and adaptive, with an intimate relationship to the land. This link has provided them with their resources for subsistence and structured their spiritual and cultural identity. Today, Arctic residents are faced with unprecedented change in the dual context of climate change and rapid socio-economic development (globalization). The “People in the North section” focuses on the impacts of change relevant to Arctic residents.
Ecosystem service social assessments in extreme environments. The ecosystem services (ES) concept has become a prominent framework for ecosystem assessment and research relevant to people. ES are ecological processes that give rise to benefits to humans that make life possible and worth living. These include processes that assure livable climate, fertile soils, and clean air and water, processes that allow humans to derive food and materials from the Earth, and processes that create cultural landscapes that provide recreation and social meaning. The ecosystem services concept is becoming integrated into environmental policy and planning, and cultural services should play a central role in shaping policy alongside provisioning (e.g. natural foods) and regulating (e.g. carbon capture) services. Orenstein and Zaidenberg (2015) studied cultural ecosystem services and compared two different extreme environments: the Cairngorm Mountains of Scotland, an INTERACT site, and the arid regions of the Dead Sea. Questionnaires and in-depth interviews with diverse stakeholders in the Cairngorms revealed that local residents have a strong affinity for both geography (landscape, mountains, openness) and biodiversity (trees, flowers, animals), while characteristics of the extreme environments (wind, precipitation, winter day-length) along with biting insects are among the least favoured environmental characteristics (Figure 40). The population expresses high commitment to environmental and ecological values and believes that economic development and environmental protection can, and should, occur together. Both the Dead Sea and the Cairngorms respondents see tourism and agriculture as the basis of their economies. In the Cairngorms, most respondents did not want to see more population growth in the region, while in the Dead Sea, population growth was seen as essential to long-term socio-economic sustainability.
Working with local communities to quantify Arctic ecosystem services. There are trade-offs in any activity which exploits the environment, from the opening of an area for hiking to the development of mineral extraction (promoted as providing substantial income to the local community). However, in the fragile Arctic environment with very slow recovery rates, ecological damage may be long-lasting and potentially irreversible, so care of the environment is particularly important. Representatives of local communities from around the Abisko and Tarfala research stations in sub-Arctic Sweden were asked by Smith (2015) to explain how their lives are linked to the ecosystems. A decision tool (a Bayesian Belief Network (BBN) helped construct a snapshot of the current situation (Figure 41) and probe potential pressures, providing a way to evaluate trade-offs and empower communities. BBNs set within an ecosystem services framework clearly helped to identify environmental issues in northern Sweden by using a formal and transparent process. This could provide the people of the North with a useful tool to take stock of their environment and also empower communities to discuss their different interests and establish compromises.
6. Results from Outreach
The results from outreach activities within INTERACT are presented below in the section “See Dissemination”
INTERACT represents legacy from excellent networking throughout the Arctic during the International Biological Programme’s Tundra Biome Project of the late 1960’s and early 1970’s (D1.5). These contacts and collaborations have persisted for nearly 50 years leading to the establishment of the EU project SCANNET in 2000 which grew to 33 research stations in 2010 and later formed the core of the present 7th Framework project INTERACT. During the current 5 years period of INTERACT, the number of research stations has risen to 77 and these together host over 5,000 researchers each year and 76 networks in various disciplines. This is the fundamental impact of establishing INTERACT. Although quantifying the impact of INTERACT is not easy and its true impact and legacy will be identified only after many years, it is already possible to identify some types of legacy and major impacts on science, education, diplomacy and environmental policy.
The impacts and legacy of the results from the science projects are presented in Section 9 under “Exploitation of results”
By establishing collaboration among 77 research stations in all northern environments, INTERACT has built capacity for monitoring that provides the data for research and has developed a more efficient and improved platform for research projects. INTERACT applies a united voice of 77 research stations (Figure 1) and institutional experience extending back more than 100 years to support the initiation of new research stations and more effectively manage existing stations. WP1 and partners have given advice to potential station owners and developers (e.g. CHARS, Canada, Ob Basin Mega Facility, Russia) and WP1 has written letters of support for stations threatened by closure. Advice on the development and management of research stations has been comprehensively compiled by WP2 based on best practices for station management, experience-sharing at Station Managers’ Forum Meetings and mentoring. INTERACT (WP1) has also given advice for the establishment of a Swedish infrastructure network (SITES, WP1) and a Greenlandic network (GEM: WP2) while providing advice and data for the establishment of an EU polar network (EUPOLARNET). The Arctic’s terrestrial infrastructures are now in a much more advanced stage to provide information and data of relevance to local communities on local environmental issues as well as to provide network-wide information and data to address global issues. Furthermore, the numerous links developed with all areas of society and with organisations and policy makers, together with new forms of making data more accessible, now enables easy access by educators and other stakeholders such as environmental managers to relevant data. While facilitation decision making on current issues, the advanced infrastructure is now available to collaboratively address future environmental issues of the North.
7.3 Monitoring and research
The impact of INTERACT on long-term monitoring by research stations consists of improved monitoring technology and methodology developed by JRAs (WPs 5 and 6), dissemination of proven and standardised best practices from specialist networks and station experience through the Research and Monitoring report (WP2; Figures 13 and 14), expansion of the monitoring capacity in a growing INTERACT network and export of experience from the Arctic to the Antarctic and global cold regions through collaboration with the European Polar Board and GEO/GEOSS (WPs 1, 2, 3 and 4). INTERACT is sought after for collaboration and input at many international meetings and by many international organisations.
INTERACT has built capacity for increased research, stimulated collaborative research, and under-pinned research developments which together represent considerable impact.
Increased capacity for research has been achieved by increasing the network size by over 100% (WP1), enhancing research station facilities (measurement of carbon emissions and energy by JRA WP6 and communication between sensors distributed in the field and the central research station hub - JRA WP5), and making data more widely and easily accessible (JRA WP7). A significant stimulation of research has been achieved through transnational access (WP4). Through this highly successful scheme, over 500 researchers have been funded, hosted and aided to work at 24 research stations in every Arctic country and several neighbouring northern countries. EU transnational access funds were levered successfully to achieve Candian and US funding to make TA truly circum-polar.
Many of the TA researchers are early career scientists: many have used TA funding to leverage national funding: and many have started new collaborations with research stations and other researchers visiting the stations. Already, one measure of impact on science is the 263 publications of various types resulting from TA (D4.3). Furthermore, 87 scientific papers have been published by other members of INTERACT while 213 presentations at scientific meetings have been given (Template A2).
While impacting science through numerous detailed studies, INTERACT has also had an impact on the type of science developed at research stations. One important mechanism has been to prioritise TA calls (WP1 working with WP4) for projects based at more than one station. While scientifically targeting spatial variation in the research topic, the strategy also increases collaboration among stations hosting the same researchers and enlarges the pool of researcher contacts leading to cross-fertilisation of ideas and new science directions and approaches. In addition, INTERACT has worked with IASC and ICARP III to identify gaps in science knowledge, construct road maps to fill the gaps, and implement priority research and monitoring needs. The work on changing Arctic snow cover and its multiple consequences, derived from INTERACT-IASC-AMAP-CliC meetings in Denmark and Japan has been accepted for publication as a multi-authored, international, scientific paper in Ambio (Bokhorst et al., In Press) and the international community established at the INTERACT-led workshops is continuing its activities. However, the impact and legacy does not end there: INTERACT is now being requested to give similar input to IASC, CBMP, FARO, CNNRO etc.
Another important stimulus to research collaboration is the initiative by WP2 in the Research and Monitoring volume (D2.9) to list 76 networks hosted by INTERACT stations with contact details and details of methodologies. This will expand the networks, collaboration within the networks and collaborations among researchers wishing to work within their topics throughout a wider range of environments.
The research and monitoring topics at the stations and facilitated and introduced by INTERACT have varying degrees of immediacy for societal relevance. Improved monitoring and research into climate, climate feedbacks and biodiversity adds to multinational assessments (e.g organised by AMAP, IASC, WWF) that contribute to major international processes and regulations at a global level. At the same time, consultations with local stakeholders about their perceptions of environmental issues have immediate societal relevance and the dialogue has enriched the knowledge bases of both local communities and scientists. In the longer term, engagement with education at all levels and the provision of educational resources will better enable future generations to prevent and respond to future societally relevant environmental issues. The sought-after involvement of INTERACT in many international processes and the enthusiastic up-take of enhanced educational materials significantly endorse the societal relevance of INTERACT activities.
7.4 Data capture and accessibility
Making data more accessible and providing formats that make data use more easy, ensure legacy and impact for the vast quantities of data captured throughout the INTERACT research stations. The potential impact of developments within INTERACT are huge and some impacts are already evident. A particularly innovative system developed by WP7 is the AbiskoGIS (later developed into NordGIS and INTERACTGIS; Figure 21) that combines station management, particularly the application procedure for visiting scientists, with the capture of metadata on projects that is displayed in GIS format (D 7.2). This system is being applied to an increasing number of INTERACT stations and also to the SITES network of Swedish Research Stations. Metadata captured by INTERACT is being fed into the SAON initiative thereby extending the impact.
7.5 National and international polar and environmental policy
Members of INTERACT interact with high level decision makers, highly influential people and national and international organisations. INTERACT is made aware to them (Figure 42) and is included in some high-level processes such as giving advice to various Governments on societally-relevant issues. Stations have been visited in the field by Royalty, Presidents, and Government Ministers. Presentations have been given to Royalty, a Russian Minister, Russian Governors of 4 northern regions, Presidents (France, Iceland), Ambassadors (11), Senior Arctic Officials and senior members of the EU, NSF and Canadian funding agencies. Letters of support for a national polar programme have been written and INTERACT is represented on an all-party, two-house, government advisory council. Although it is difficult to document decisions made as a result of INTERACT high-level activities, it can be speculated quite securely that research and monitoring activities at northern research stations and INTERACT scientists contributed importantly to climate impacts assessments such as Ozone Depletion Effects, ACIA and SWIPA and IPCC that together resulted historically in the Montreal Protocol and its Amendments, and recently, the agreement of 195 countries at the Paris meeting to limit carbon emissions. INTERACT is therefore, facilitating action on societally-relevant issues of global importance.
7.6 Education and Mentoring
Perhaps the greatest long-term impact and legacy that INTERACT can derive is through education and inspiration of younger generations and particularly of future generations of polar scientists. Mentoring is given to APECS members is several ways: by inviting them onto the Transnational access board, ensuring they are represented at science meetings, and encouraging them within transnational access projects. An MoU between INTERACT and APECS has been signed. An MoU has also been signed by INTERACT and the University of the Arctic. Together with Tomsk State University, Russia, we have produced a mass outreach video course “The Changing Arctic” described below under “Dissemination”. Many stations host undergraduate summer schools and support teaching at home universities. At the secondary school level, INTERACT members visit schools and have written two publications (one with a circulation of 16,000: Figure 18) for schools while up-dating teachers on Arctic issues. Presentations at teachers’ conferences contributed to the inclusion of cold regions studies in Advanced level geography courses in the UK. In addition, the Transnational Access Board has recognised the linguistic and scientific cultural disadvantages of some early career scientists from Eastern Europe and has provided guidance and the opportunity to resubmit applications.
7.7 Public awareness
INTERACT members constantly engage with the public, both Arctic residents (e.g TA stories in section 5.7) and the general public. Also, the web pages, particularly those of WP8 “Outreach”, communicate widely and provide resources for educators. Together, the INTERACT Community gives hundreds of public talks each year with individuals giving up to 20 talks per year, each attended by up to 250 people. It is difficult to estimate the impact of such INTERACT activities but the increase in public awareness is huge and the interest by the public and educators confirms societal-relevance.
7.8 Environmental protection and conservation
The monitoring and research at INTERACT stations has been used to document the need for environmental protection and conservation. Some stations and partners are heavily focused on pollution (e.g. Bioforsk) while others document the population trends of vulnerable species (e.g. Labytnangi). Many stations (e.g. Abisko and Zackenberg) host environmental and ecosystem manipulation experiments that predict the effects of changing climate on biodiversity. In addition, several TA projects have research focused on pollution (particular black carbon impacts on snow; Figure 44) and threatened biodiversity (e.g. bee species; Figure 44). To create even greater impact, INTERACT is working with AMAP and CAFF that have responsibilities with, and report to, the Arctic Council. Recently, INTERACT supported an initiative in Siberia to protect an area of nearly 9,000 km2 of the Vasyugan Bog, the largest bog in the World (Figure 44). This initiative was successful and an INTERACT member (Tomsk State University) will co-manage this area for conservation, carbon capture, research and monitoring. Potentially, this impact could be of global significance.
INTERACT does not recognise any national or cultural boundaries. It has successfully networked 77 research stations from 17 countries that work together and even share resources within the TA pool (see Deliverable 4.4). Also, it has given opportunities to researchers from 19 countries to visit the Arctic through TA. Although a bottom-up process, this “diplomatic” aspect has had a high impact at a high level: 11 Ambassadors have either supported INTERACT directly via letters of support, or indirectly by attending meetings (Figure 45) and providing receptions: they explicitly recognise the impact of INTERACT on international diplomacy at a “bottom-up” level. Letters of support come from Their Excellences the US Ambassador to Sweden, The Canadian Ambassador to Sweden, and the Russian Ambassador to Sweden. Other types of indirect support come from Their Excellences the British Ambassador to Iceland, the Norwegian Ambassador to Iceland, the Canadian Ambassador to the Arctic and the Canadian Ambassador to Poland. The high visibility of INTERACT among Ministers in the Russian Duma (Figure 46) and Governors of Russian Northern Provinces has even led to INTERACT facilitating contacts between national governments (WP1).
INTERACT has achieved global visibility and has reached out to all levels of society, from young school children to regional Governors, Government Ministers, Royalty and Presidents (Figure 47). The dissemination mechanisms that have achieved this success include a dedicated web site; talks to school teachers, schools and the public; scientific presentations; published public outreach including brochures, articles, blogs, twitter, LinkedIn and video clips; scientific publications; meetings with local people at research stations; visits to research stations by influential people; presentations at science conferences, production of a mass outreach course and media appearances in several countries including newspapers, radio and TV (Template A1).
8.1 Web site
INTERACT’s dedicated web site (www.eu-interact.org) disseminates many types of information including information on the members of INTERACT, activities, resources for outreach and education, and INTERACT products (D1.2 D 1.3). The web site is also used for dissemination of transnational access calls and results.
8.2 Public talks (including schools and teachers conferences).
213 public talks have been given by INTERACT scientists with up to 20 per year given by individuals. The age span of the audiences ranges from 4 years (in UK primary schools) to +90 in UK Probus Club meetings. Requested talks come from public organisations such as The University of the Third Age, Natural History Societies and “Science Clubs” .
8.3 Scientific presentations and meetings
350 scientific presentations have been given by INTERACT partners and Transnational access recipients based on INTERACT activities at scientific meetings. The meetings range from very specific, single discipline conferences to major international events. Examples of the latter include a keynote address by Dr M. Johansson at the Arctic Science Summit Week in Toyama, Japan (2015), to over 1000 delegates, and keynote addresses by Prof T.V. Callaghan to the Arctic Circle Meeting, Iceland, (2014), to over 1300 delegates including Presidents and Ministers and to an Arctic meeting in London (2013) attended by a former French President, UK Members of Parliament and Government Ministers, as well as to a meeting of the Arctic Council’s Science Coordination Committee.
INTERACT partners have also contributed science presentations to Ph.D. courses and summer schools held at most if not all research stations. Examples include presentations at the Tarfala Research Station (Figure 48) and the AKTRU Station summer school. Furthermore, INTERACT has convened science meetings. We have worked together with IASC and other organisations to convene an international workshop on snow (held in Copenhagen, October, 2014) and this was elaborated in a side meeting at the IASC Science Summit Week in Toyama (2015) where priorities and a road map for snow research and monitoring were developed. A manuscript resulting from this international process is in press in the journal Ambio, “A Journal of the Human Environment” (Bokhorst et al., in press).
8.4 Published public outreach
In addition to the popular science book described below, INTERACT has produced and widely distributed several brochure up-dates (e.g. Figure 49) as well as posters and roll-ups (see appendices).
8.5 Scientific publications
INTERACT scientists have produced two main categories of scientific publications: in-house products and papers published in international journals and conference proceedings. Altogether, 350 publications have been achieved, 263 of these by activities associated with transnational access (D4.3) (Figure 50). A successful publication (Roslin et al., 2013; Figure 27), which was a forerunner of remote access was commented on in the leading journal “Science”.
In-house products with outstanding illustrations and standard INTERACT branding include four reports by WP3 (two station catalogues, a book on management planning for Arctic and northern research stations, a volume on research and monitoring meta-data from research station activities back to the year 2,000) and a scientific outreach book based mainly on transnational access projects produced by WP1 and WP4 (Figure 51). The book, “INTERACT Stories of Arctic Science” includes 52 stories written for the educated public by 134 authors (associated with INTRACT) from 17 countries. This product was added-value rather than a deliverable (see section 5). All books are freely available in hard copy and as pdf files on the INTERACT web site.
8.6 Meetings with local people at research stations
At some research stations, meetings were held with local residents including indigenous peoples to share information on the changing environment. Meetings took place in the Cairngorm Mountains of Scotland, the Tarfala Research Station and at the Abisko Scientific Research Station, both in Swedish Lapland. Science stories were produced from the transnational access products (see section 5.7) while the process at Tarfala included Sami reindeer herders and was reported on by Sami TV.
8.7 Station visits by influential people
Within the period of INTERACT, visits by Ministers and Royalty have been made to some stations such as Zackenberg (e.g. Figure 47). Prior to INTERACT, The Samoylov Station was visited by Russian President Putin, the Abisko Station was visited by the King and Crown Princess of Sweden and Ministers of Environment from 27 countries.
8.8 Presentations at science conferences
We have given 213 presentations to all levels of society from young school children to Governments and Royalty (Template A2). At the same time, we have arranged meetings, given many presentations at scientific meetings and have given keynote presentations at major international conferences. The size of the audiences ranged from 2 to 21,000. Altogether, we have reached out to more than 37,000 people with these presentations.
8.9 Media appearances
Perhaps most media interest has been shown by regional and national TV networks in Russia with 4 appearances in 4 months. TV coverage has also been received in Sweden and Greenland while radio coverage was received in Iceland, Italy and Switzerland. Newspaper coverage has been received in Italy.
8.10 Mass outreach video course
A mass outreach video course “The Changing Arctic” (www.coursera.com) was produced by INTERACT in collaboration with Tomsk State University and the University of the Arctic and an English language version was launched in 2015. The video course consists of 12 video lectures (one on INTERACT), examination questions, and an essay suggestion. Discussion groups are moderated by Tomsk State University staff and a certificate internationally recognised is awarded to “formal learners” while the course or any part of it is freely available to the public and educators. Within 4 months, the total number of “learners” reached more than 1,000 and the number is increasing rapidly, particularly as a Russian language version has now been launched. The course is based on information mainly from the “INTERACT Stories of Arctic Science” book. WP1 and WP4 provided the content, WP1 presented the course and all costs were provided mainly by TSU with a contribution from UArctic. The production was by “Lektorium” of St. Petersburg and represents important added-value.
9. Exploitation of results
All of the many types of INTERACT’s results have been exploited. INTERACT’s wide representation is being exploited by providing expertise, data and facilities.
INTERACT is an infrastructure project. However, Joint Research activities have been dedicated to improving the technology and methodology for understanding feedbacks to climate warming that could have global significance (WP 6). The importance of greenhouse gas emissions and energy exchange from Arctic land and water surfaces is globally recognised and ICOS has developed to monitor these important feedbacks internationally. However, the vast northern areas are under-represented in the ICOS network and the harsh northern environments have specific challenges such as poor performance of energy sources for field equipment, remoteness of access and infrequent possibilities for maintenance. Consequently, ICOS compatible equipment for measuring energy exchange and trace gasses was developed and tested at 10 locations at 4 INTERACT stations. Specific cold-environmental and equipment performance challenges were overcome and multi-annual, year-round data is being captured and made available. Stations not involved in the WP (e.g. Oulanka) are now leveraging national funding sources to establish their own equipment and contribute to the data base. Furthermore, WP 6 has analysed the data and is communicating the results of these analyses and the equipment development in publications, a Ph.D. thesis and at conferences. Through collaboration with ICOS and other organisations, the results will contribute importantly to monitoring the Arctic amplification of global warming and therefore have significant societal relevance.
Results on senor networking and communication with research station hubs as well as development of automated monitoring of plant phenology (WP 5) have the potential for exploitation but more developmental work is required first. Also, many of the hundreds of TA projects within INTERACT have potential exploitation in many areas of societal relevance but the paper trails from field research to exploitation are too early to identify.
9.2 Infrastructure, monitoring and networking
The success of the INTERACT vision and process has more than doubled the size of the overall infrastructure as Observer Stations have joined. Furthermore, during the INTERACT period the number of researchers using stations has more than doubled from about 2,000 per year in 2010 to more than 5,000 in 2015 (Figure 2). Although it can be debated to what extent this increased use of stations is from INTERACT activities, it is certain that INTERACT provided access for over 500 researchers between 2011 and 2015. Added to this, a sample of 42 Stations revealed that together they host 76 individual, single discipline networks. Together, these statistics illustrate impressive exploitation of the original network, infrastructure and monitoring activities.
There is no doubt that INTERACT is THE terrestrial network in the Arctic. Consequently, INTERACT is exploited as a network by other major international initiatives. Because INTERACT is not a legal entity and therefore cannot be directly involved in other initiatives, it has “Ambassadors” that are representatives. Examples are the Thule Institute partners within EU-Polarnet, University of Copenhagen partner in ENVRI+, the Lund University partner and other INTERACT partners in the proposed Arctic Union proposal, the NERC partner in ILTER and the Coordinator in ANAEE (as the Chair of the International Advisory Board). In addition, INTERACT has been used to advise major EU consortia such as EURODISH (Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences partner). Clearly, INTERACT is sought after even in unrelated topics because of its success. Currently, the databases and process developed in INTERACT are being used by CONMAP and the EPB/EU-PolarNet to co-produce catalogue based on the INTERACT Station Catalogue but including European Antarctic Bases, and European polar ships and aircraft. Also, development of Arctic networking and data management through the CLINF project (on infectious disease spread), recently funded by the Nordic Council of Ministers, has developed through involvement of the University of Uppsala Partner (WP 7).
9.3 Data capture and accessibility
New research developments on capturing data and making it more accessible under-pinned by INTERACT include development of the AbiskoGIS (WP7). Initiated by the Abisko INTERACT station in Swedish Lapland, the AbiskoGIS has been given new functionalities and developed into the NORDGIS applied to the “SITES” network of Swedish research stations (www.fieldsites.se) with Swedish funding. At the same time, the system has been developed to be applicable to INTETACT (the INTERACT GIS) and several INTERACT stations are funding or exploring specific developments for their own management and data harvesting needs. Because of the high standards of meta data protocols used, the INTERACTGIS can be harvested by external users such as SAON. At the same time, the development of the ScanDB software (WP5) to provide a common framework in which to analyse data has been accepted and applied within the national Greenland Ecosystem Monitoring programme.
9.4 Education and outreach
INTERACT products and results have greatly increased the resources for education and outreach in the forms of lectures, books, photogallery, glossary, blogs etc. which are all freely available on the INTERACT web site. In addition, the topical results from stations and TA projects have enriched the knowledge base of educators. Perhaps the best example of exploitation of new results from TA projects is the Coursera mass outreach course, in English and Russian, reaching over 1,100 students in just a few months (Figure 52, section 8.10).
9.5 Environmental protection, conservation and wellness
Much of the research and monitoring carried out at the INTERACT research stations focuses on various aspects of environmental pollution, nature protection and wellness. Most stations have routine monitoring programmes that feed into national and international processes to protect the environment. They also have experiments to identify drivers of change of biodiversity, for example. In addition, several of the Transnational access projects explicitly document pollution, for example black carbon and microbes on snow (Figure 34), and PCBs in rivers, while others identify the status of threatened species (e.g. Figure 44) and still others investigate carriers of pathogens potentially significant for humans (section 5.5). Although the paper trail does not yet end in policy decisions, important work is being supported by INTERACT to seek remedial measures such as identifying cold-adapted microbes that can break down PCBs and the genetics of pathogens so that vaccines can be produced against the Ljungan virus (see sections 5.5 and 5.6).
Although it is early to detect exploitation of such results in the short term, INTERACT has supported a successful initiative in Siberia to protect an area of nearly 9,000 km2 of the Vasyugan Bog, the largest bog in the World covering 52,000 km2 (Figure 44). An INTERACT member (Tomsk State University) will co-manage this area for conservation, carbon capture, research and monitoring
http://www.tv2.tomsk.ru/real/vasyuganskoe-boloto-glavnyy-holodilnik-zemli . Potentially, this exploitation of INTERACT expertise could be of global significance.
9.6 The “big picture”
Overall, the advances made in INTERACT provide a much improved infrastructure for research and monitoring of Arctic change and its global implications while hundreds of publications already have increased our knowledge on a wide range of topics. Improved data accessibility combined with increased knowledge feed directly into major regional and global environmental assessments that inform and influence policy makers to improve the well-being of local communities and the global population. While INTERACT gives advice directly to local and national government, perhaps the greatest exploitation and impact of use of results is the Kyoto Process and the Paris Agreement of December 2015 by 195 countries on carbon limitation: this process depended on information from organisations such as IPCC. In turn, these organisations depend on data and assessment from research stations and their visiting scientists. As the Arctic is changing faster than anywhere else on Earth, the exploitation of Arctic science based at research stations has had a major impact on the international climate change agreements reached so far.
List of Websites:
INTERACT's web site can be found at: www.eu-interact.org
Contact details to INTERACT Coordinator:
Prof. Terry V. Callaghan
Grant agreement ID: 262693
1 January 2011
31 December 2015
€ 9 507 984,80
€ 7 300 000
Deliverables not available
Grant agreement ID: 262693
1 January 2011
31 December 2015
€ 9 507 984,80
€ 7 300 000
Grant agreement ID: 262693
1 January 2011
31 December 2015
€ 9 507 984,80
€ 7 300 000