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Conference Program - Parallel Sessions

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Area 1 - Science Highlights and Area 2 - Synthesis and Integration

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Polar regions and linkages to global systems and beyond

1.1.1  Earth structure and geodynamics at the poles

Convenor: Fausto Ferraccioli (United Kingdom)
Co-convenors: Rick Saltus (USA) and Hernan Felipe Bobilla Rodriguez (Chile).

The International Polar Year 2007-2009 spurred intense geophysical and geological investigations over several frontier regions in both Antarctica and the Arctic. These investigations are providing novel views of: i) deep crustal and lithosphere structure; ii) the processes of geological evolution, including their relationships with super-continental assembly and breakup; iii) the opening of ocean gateways; and iv) the influence of geological boundary conditions on ice sheets. This session will provide an international and interdisciplinary forum where results from major geosciences projects will be presented. Examples include: airborne, marine and satellite exploration efforts; active and passive seismic studies; GPS and seismic polar networks; magnetotelluric and geomagnetic depth sounding; regional and continental-scale compilations of geophysical and geological datasets; models of lithosphere structure, geodynamic evolution, and geological boundary conditions.

Keywords: geophysical exploration; lithosphere and crustal architecture; geological and geodynamic evolution; data compilations; modelling and boundary conditions.

1.1.2  Polar ocean processes

Convenor: Mike Meredith (United Kingdom)
Co-convenors: Marika Holland (United States), Jennifer Jackson (South Africa), and Roman Kaysarov (Russia).

Oceanic processes occurring in the polar regions can operate across a multitude of scales, and can exert influences on planetary climate, biogeochemical cycles and ecological systems. Fundamental advances in our understanding of these processes were made during the International Polar Year 2007-2008, from a combination of dynamical analyses, modelling and observational studies. This session will highlight the advances made during IPY and subsequently. It will include foci on: drivers and controls of the overturning circulation in the polar regions; dense water production and export; air-sea-ice interaction; subduction and convection processes; cross-shelf transports and downslope cascades; ocean ice-shelf interaction; drivers and rates of mixing in the polar oceans; mesoscale and sub-mesoscale processes; causes and consequences of variability in water mass properties and circulation.

Keywords: polar ocean processes; ocean circulation; mixing; overturning; dense water production; climatic impact.

1.1.3  Polar processes and global biogeochemical cycles

Convenor: Soren Rysgaard (Denmark/Canada)
Co-convenors: David Barber (Canada), Ronnie Glud (Denmark), Torben R. Christensen (Greenland/Sweden), Casper Tai Christiansen (Denmark) and Alexandre Forest (Canada).

The Anthropocene is a time of extraordinary change in Polar Regions. Unprecedented variability in the rates, timings and magnitudes of change in the cryosphere, atmosphere, lithosphere and dependent variability in ecosystem function have been experienced. These rapid environmental transitions have major influence on biogeochemical processes that are fundamental to regional ecosystem dynamics and productivity. However, changes in the cryosphere will not only affect the local energy balance, hydrology and element cycling but have wide global implications over multiple timescales.

This session will address the impact of change in Polar Regions on biogeochemistry, with a focus on integrative studies that aim at resolving the past, present and future interrelations between polar processes and global biogeochemical cycles.

2.1.4  Teleconnections and modes of polar climatic variability

Convenor: Xiao Cunde (China)
Co-convenors: James Screen (Australia).

Multiple modes of climatic variability influence the Arctic and Antarctic, for example the SAM, ENSO, PSA, NAM, NAO and Arctic Dipole. These modes may not only be found in the instrumental records, but also in various high-resolution climatic proxies and in climate model simulations. Changes in these modes on various timescales have important consequences for the Polar Regions. Furthermore, many linkages or teleconnections exist between the climates of the Polar Regions and the rest of the Earth system. Thus, understanding the nature and mechanisms of polar climate variability and change have global importance. This session will focus on the following topics: (1) the dynamics, variability and trends of the polar climatic modes on seasonal, annual, decadal, centennial and millennial scales; (2) the impacts of changes in these modes as related to, for example, sea ice, snow cover, frozen ground, oceanic and atmospheric circulation; (3) teleconnections between the polar regions and the lower latitudes, from the stratosphere to the deep ocean, and their climate impacts; (4) detection and attribution studies examining the role of human activities in changing the polar climatic modes; and (5) model experiments exploring projected future changes in the polar climatic modes and their remote impacts. We welcome submissions, in particular syntheses, from observational, paleo-climatic, modeling, and process-based studies.

Keywords: climate modes; teleconnections; circulation; atmosphere; ocean; paleoclimate

2.1.5  Global impacts of a melting cryosphere, including ice sheets, sea ice and permafrost

Convenor: Bob Bindschadler (United States)
Co-convenors: Kirsty Langley (Norway)

Changes in the Polar Regions have global implications. Among the most discussed connections are ice sheet mass loss contributing to global sea level; sea-ice reduction affecting air-sea exchanges and hemispheric radiation balance; changes in surface salinity impacting the deep thermohaline circulation; and methane release from permafrost contributing extra amounts of a powerful greenhouse gas to the atmosphere. While not being limited to these polar-global connections, this session seeks contributions and syntheses that will illuminate such interactions with recent research conducted during the IPY, including the all-important aspect of the variability of regional responses.

Keywords: polar-global links; melting cryosphere; ice sheets; sea level; methane; radiation balance; thermohaline circulation.

Past, present and future changes in the polar regions

1.2.1  Atmospheric, physical and chemical processes in the polar regions

Convenor: Taneil Uttal (United States)
Co-convenors: Alexander Makshtas (Russia) and Jenny Fisher (United States).

The Polar atmosphere was a major focus area during the first IPY (1882-83). However in the recent IPY 2007-2008, the number of officially endorsed atmosphere projects was relatively small. This is of concern given the indisputable role that atmospheric components have in controlling the most visible manifestations of climate change including sea-ice distribution, the thermodynamics of permafrost, seasonal snow cover, glacial retreat, coastal erosion and the distribution of polar animals and plants. Important atmospheric research in this session covers a wide range of topics including energy budgets, atmospheric circulation, mass transport, greenhouse gases, aerosols, pollutants, clouds and precipitation. Additional critical topics are the development of pan-Arctic and pan-Antarctic observation networks that support process level studies. These are required to integrate system-level understanding and integrated climate and geochemical system models. These topics will be discussed in the context of legacy projects of the IPY and as contributors to the proposed International Polar Decade (IPD).

Keywords: energy budget, atmospheric circulation, mass transports, troposphere- stratosphere processes, observation networks, system models.

1.2.2  Evolving coastal near-shore and shelf processes in polar regions

Convenor: Cedric Chavanne (Canada)
Co-convenors: Paul Myers (Canada) and Jolie Gareis (Canada).

Continental shelves and slopes in polar regions are critical, but under-observed areas for physical and biogeochemical processes affecting global climate. Precursors to the densest water mass of the world oceans, Antarctic Bottom Water is pre-conditioned on the Antarctic continental margins. The acceleration of outlet glaciers around Greenland and Antarctica over the last decade has been partly attributed to increased submarine melting of the floating terminations of these glaciers, which modifies their buttressing forces. Shelf seas and near-shore coastal areas play a key role in the global carbon cycle as they link the terrestrial, oceanic and atmospheric carbon pools, but their evolution as sinks and sources of atmospheric CO2 under the rapidly changing polar environments remains uncertain. This session is concerned with the physical and biogeochemical processes controlling the water properties and the cycling of carbon and nutrients in polar coastal and shelf regions, their exchanges with the open ocean, and their evolution as climate changes. It will include ice shelf-ocean interaction, as well as coastal erosion and hydrology. Contributions are encouraged from IPY projects such as SASSI, CASO, BIAC, ACCO-Net and SCARF, as well as relevant non-IPY projects such as PARTNERS.

Keywords: polar coastal and shelf seas; ice shelf-ocean interaction; physical and biogeochemical processes; continental shelf/open ocean exchanges; carbon, nutrients and freshwater cycling.

1.2.3  Diminishing snow and ice

Convenor: Martin Sharp (Canada)
Co-convenors: Alexandra Jahn (USA), Jouni Räisänen (Finland), and Gesa Weyhenmeyer (Sweden).

Over recent decades, it has become increasingly evident that the ice and snow cover of the earth is decreasing. Research conducted during the IPY has both increased the amount of data available to investigate these changes, and resulted in improvements to the models that can be used to study the past and future evolution of the snow and ice cover. This session will focus on observations and modelling of the recent decline in sea-ice, ice sheets, glaciers, snow, and freshwater ice in the Polar regions, and on the effects of these changes on the physical system in the polar regions (i.e. changes in ocean and atmospheric circulation, ocean stratification, river runoff, marine and freshwater productivity, sea level).

Keywords: polar climate change; sea-ice; ice sheets; glaciers; snow; freshwater ice; Arctic; Antarctic; Greenland; freshwater; marine and freshwater productivity.

1.2.4  Permafrost on a warming planet

Convenor: Dr. Hugues Lantuit (Germany)
Co-convenors: Michael Angelopoulos (Canada).

Permafrost is a widespread feature of polar regions that underlies virtually all of the non-glaciated terrestrial Arctic and Antarctic. The International Polar Year (IPY) has brought permafrost studies and issues into the global spotlight by emphasizing the intrinsic interrelation between the thermal state of permafrost and the global climate system. The breadth of new research questions and activities stemming from the focused IPY period has made permafrost one of the focal points of modern environmental polar science and has opened many new scientific questions.

The session will present the results of the permafrost activities undertaken during and after the IPY with a special focus on the current state of ground thermal regimes in polar regions and the role of permafrost in the Earth climate system. Hence, this session will investigate the implications of degrading permafrost for northern communities, industry, wildlife, as well as the storage, decomposition and release of carbon (as carbon dioxide or methane) and nitrogen in and from frozen ground. It will feature results from field process studies, monitoring programs, remote sensing, modelling, and interdisciplinary efforts to include local processes in global climate models and vice-versa.

By encompassing all aspects of cold land processes, including those related to geology, geomorphology, biogeochemistry, hydrology, and microbiology, this session will highlight the role of permafrost in the Earth System and the impact of its changes on the environment.

Keywords: permafrost, ground ice, climate change, ground thermal regimes, carbon, carbon dioxide, methane, global climate models.

1.2.5  Indigenous and local knowledge and polar science

Convenor: Gita Ljubicic (Canada)
Co-convenors: Scot Nickels (Canada), Stephanie A. Meakin (Canada), Russell Fielding (United States), and Noor Johnson (Canada).

International Polar Year 2007-2008 (IPY) was unique from earlier polar years in the efforts undertaken to investigate the human consequences of environmental change across the polar regions. This included a consideration of cultural, historical, and social processes that are intertwined with environmental, economic, and political influences to shape the sustainability of circumpolar societies. Particular emphasis was placed on understanding, incorporating, and learning from Indigenous knowledge (predominantly around the circumpolar North), as well as exploring contributions that Indigenous knowledge or local expertise could make to polar environmental science. Scientists were also encouraged to consider how Indigenous and/or local knowledge could inform the design and implementation of their studies, or how results could be applied in beneficial ways in northern communities.

We also welcome sub-topics within the general session theme, that: i) highlight particular topical issues; ii) engage Indigenous/local experts and scientific experts on topics of mutual interest; iii) develop interactive workshops; or, iv) share international perspectives on issues of common interest. Ultimately this session aims to contribute to efforts to synthesize knowledge and results generated as part of IPY to expand our understandings of human-environment connections, and related implications for the well-being of circumpolar Indigenous communities.

Keywords: Indigenous, local, and scientific knowledge systems; human-environment interactions; Indigenous or collaborative research methodologies; knowledge integration or convergence; natural, social, and health sciences

2.2.6  Past, present and future polar climate change

Convenor: Ian Allison (Australia)
Co-convenors: Michael Fritz (Germany) and Michele Koppes (Canada).

The International Polar Year 2007-2008 took place during a period of extraordinary climate change in Polar Regions. Many IPY projects investigated both the status of polar environments, and polar changes and their causes. Rapid polar change continues. This session will focus on the synthesis of the results from the IPY projects and from subsequent investigations that grew from IPY projects. The session is particularly concerned with multidisciplinary aspects of polar climate change; with links between the north and south; and with feedbacks in the climate system. It will include:

  • studies of past polar climates that encompass all earth systems and that inform the present and the future state of the Arctic and Antarctic, using all available knowledge,
  • projections of future climate at the poles, particularly as they guide understanding of the impacts on the various systems covered in the sessions of Area 1 and as they enable us to meet the requirements of policy makers.

Keywords: polar climate change; teleconnections; climate feedbacks; past climate; future climate projection.

2.2.7  Sustainable Arctic development: integrated perspectives

Convenor: Paul Arthur Berkman (United Kingdom)
Co-convenors: Oran R. Young (United States) and Sandra Rodrigues Balăo (Portugal).

The Arctic Ocean is undergoing an environmental state change from a permanent sea-ice cap to a seasonally ice-free sea, fundamentally transforming opportunities and challenges across the marine and terrestrial North Polar Region. Natural and social science projects from the International Polar Year 2007-2008 reveal interdisciplinary perspectives on globalization, geopolitical strategies, military activities, resource extraction, transport and tourism in the Arctic. Rather than fragmented approaches for the Arctic, sustainable development and environmental protection (the "common Arctic issues" in the 1996 Ottawa Declaration that established the Arctic Council) require integrated strategies, such as ecosystem-based management and marine spatial planning. Practical considerations of institutional interplay and common interests are especially relevant to the holistic objectives of this session.

Keywords: common interests, sustainable development, environmental protection, interdisciplinary.

2.2.8  Environmental consequences of change

Convenor: Julia Schmale (Germany)
Co-convenors: Heather Mariash (Finland) and Jenna Gall (Canada).

Changes in the Polar Regions result from complex interactions and feedbacks between the cryosphere, atmosphere, oceans, biosphere and anthropogenic activity. On land, rising temperatures and shifting precipitation regimes alter vegetation, permafrost, river discharge, landscape, and fire frequency, thus changing carbon cycling, vulnerability to insects and parasites, and the cycling of pollutants, CO2 and black carbon. At sea, declining sea ice affects light penetration, surface temperature, the renewal of surface nutrients, and ocean acidification, thus impacting biological productivity, pelagic-benthic coupling, and carbon sequestration. This session focuses on the consequences of change including the variety of cascading effects and feedback loops between and within the environmental compartments.

Syntheses of environmental change at local, regional or larger scales, based on in-situ and remote sensing observations and model studies of past and present changes, ecological thresholds, vulnerability assessments and predictions are invited.

Keywords: Consequences of change; vegetation patterns; boreal forest/tundra; fires; ocean productivity; acidification; pelagic-benthic coupling; pollutant mobilization; UV radiation land use, feedback loops.

Polar ecosystems, biodiversity and effects of human activities

1.3.1  Polar terrestrial and freshwater ecosystems: status and change

Convenor: Ad Huiskes (Netherlands)
Co-convenors: Heidi Swanson (Canada).

This session will bring together Arctic and Antarctic freshwater and terrestrial ecologists to discuss the most recent research developments and present major syntheses of IPY findings. During IPY 2007-2008, both long-term monitoring studies and shorter-term experiments addressed effects of global change on polar freshwater and terrestrial ecosystems as well as the examination of threats to these regions. We invite polar scientists involved in IPY projects and other international efforts to present their research on invasive species, tundra ecology, limnology, fresh water fisheries, biogeochemistry, hydrology, terrestrial biota, and community and population biology. We anticipate discussion on maintaining continuity of monitoring stations post-IPY, gap analyses of missed components that should be examined in the future and we will focus on freshwater and terrestrial ecosystem components that are/may be especially sensitive to change now and in the coming years and decades. Pathways to impacts from science to policy action can also be considered here, if part of general syntheses.

Keywords: freshwater; terrestrial; fisheries; invasive species; tundra; populations; global change.

1.3.2  Polar marine ecosystems: status and change

Convenor: Dieter Piepenburg (Germany)
Co-convenors: Punyasloke Bhadury (India), Rolf Gradinger (USA), Nathalie Morata (Canada), José Xavier (Portugal).

Arctic and Antarctic seas support a diverse range of unique marine ecosystems. Characterized by extreme environmental conditions, they provide habitats for highly adapted and specialized organisms and communities, some of which are targets of commercial exploitation. Furthermore, biogeochemical processes in these high-latitude regions have important influences on global carbon and nutrient cycles. Polar seas are among the regions that are most susceptible to rapid ocean warming and acidification, two of the most pressing effects of antropogenic carbon emissions. While there is no doubt that marine ecosystems are being profoundly affected by these processes, our understanding of the scope of the changes and their ecological ramifications is limited. The International Polar Year 2007-2008 (IPY) and related international projects provided a unique opportunity to address these scientific challenges more comprehensively, in more detail and in a more coordinated, integrated and international approach. This cross-disciplinary session will provide a forum to present and discuss the latest advances in the research on polar marine ecosystems, particularly those achieved during IPY, as well as efforts to synthesize and integrate recent findings at circumpolar and/or bipolar scales. The session will encompass oral and poster contributions on a wide range of topics related to understanding the response of species, food webs and whole ecosystems to change, including drivers of the distribution, abundance and diversity of marine polar communities, adaptational traits in life history and ecophysiology of key species, food-web interactions, links between sea ice, water column and seabed, biogeochemical cycles, and ecosystem functioning.

Keywords: polar marine ecosystems, ocean warming, sea-ice decline, ocean acidification, ecological drivers, biodiversity, food-web dynamics, sympagic-pelagic-benthic coupling, ecosystem functioning.

1.3.3  Polar microbes, genetics, and molecular biology

Convenor: Carlos Pedrós-Alió, (Spain)
Co-convenors: Yoo Kyung Lee, (Korea) and Trista Vick (United States).

Microbes are important players in Polar habitats. They are major drivers of biogeochemical cycles in aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems. In the Arctic, for example, the thawing of permafrost could lead to dramatic increases in microbial activities and carbon decomposition with subsequent release of greenhouse gases. In the Antarctic, microorganisms are important in mediating nutrient cycling in surface lakes and subglacial environments. Understanding microbial populations and metabolisms is therefore necessary for determining the biogeochemistry in Polar ecosystems. In addition, survival mechanisms of microbes exposed to sub-zero conditions or freeze-thaw cycles contribute to our understanding of the resilience of life and to advances in biotechnology and astrobiology. This session will include current work in microbial ecology, microbial diversity, biogeography, genetics and metabolisms and is concerned with modern molecular tools such as genomics, metagenomics, or next generation sequencing as well as classical genetics and molecular techniques.

Keywords: polar microbes; microbial ecology; microbial diversity; genetics; molecular techniques.

1.3.4  Contaminants in polar environments

Convenor: Hayley Hung (Canada) and Lisa Loseto (Canada)
Co-convenors: Pedro Echeveste (Spain).

The Polar Regions receive contaminants, such as persistent organic pollutants (POPs), mercury, other metals and radionuclides, from far-away sources. Many of these pollutants have no local sources and/or were never used in the Arctic or the Antarctic but are detected at levels high enough to risk the health of the environment and humans. In this session, we will explore the current status of contaminants; their transport pathways; reaction, degradation and multimedia partitioning processes; fate, trends and impact on the polar environment, biota and humans; and how current and predicted changes in climate would affect contaminant distribution and trends. This session welcomes studies on all aspects of contaminants in the Arctic and Antarctic atmosphere, hydrosphere, cryosphere, terrestrial and marine biota, and humans. Evaluations on the effects of a changing climate on polar contaminants are welcomed. Presentations are not limited to IPY activities, but all research studies conducted within the timeframe of IPY (2007-2009) and subsequently, and should include observations from field, laboratory and modeling studies.

Keywords: persistent organic pollutants (POPs); mercury; metals; radionuclides; climate change.

2.3.5  Impacts of change and development on biodiversity and polar ecosystem services

Convenor: Louis Fortier (Canada)
Co-convenors: Jean-Sébastien Moore (Canada).

This session will focus on reviews and syntheses of results that capture the on-going and/or potential alteration of polar biodiversity and ecosystem services caused by environmental change or modernization or both. Regional, hemispheric or bi-polar syntheses that provide a prognosis on the future of biodiversity or that of a specific ecosystem service (e.g. fisheries, wildlife, vegetation, drinking water, tourism, GHG sequestration, erosion control, etc.) are invited. Baseline studies that inventory biodiversity, or document/quantify current ecosystem services are also accepted. Multidisciplinary syntheses that integrate the impacts of change in several sectors to produce an integrated regional or circumpolar assessment are particularly welcome. This session will be the occasion to review documented impacts as well as to speculate on future impacts under different scenarios of change, from the most optimistic to the most pessimistic.

Keywords: environmentally sustainable development; ecosystem services; strategic initiatives; polar biodiversity.

2.3.6  Linking science and policy towards environmentally sustainable development in polar regions

Convenor: David Hik (Canada)
Co-convenors: Aqqaluk Lynge (Greenland) and Klaus Gantner (Canada).

While session 2.3.5 addresses the impacts of change and development on ecosystem services, this session focuses on ways to assess the value of polar ecosystem services and on policies and strategies to preserve and optimize this value under the double stress of climate change and economic development. Can changes in polar ecosystem services be measured in terms of socio-economic costs and benefits? How do strategies to mitigate the impacts of oil and gas exploitation compare between the Siberian and North-American Arctic? What are the benefits and costs of moratoria on commercial fishing in Arctic marine waters? How can resource exploitation benefit local communities? Are there examples of strategic initiatives that facilitate a coordinated and co-operative approach to environmentally sustainable development and encourage long-term benefits over short-term gains? Are there mitigation and adaptive strategies and technologies in other remote areas of the globe that can be implemented in the Polar Regions? What are the best practices for science to inform environmental policy in Polar Regions? This session welcomes contributions from researchers, policy makers and the private sector on all aspects of environmentally sustainable development in the Polar Regions.

Keywords: environmentally sustainable development; socio-economic costs and benefits; strategic initiatives; informing policy.

Polar changes: health, society, culture and resources

1.4.1  Natural resource exploration, exploitation and commercial activities including tourism

Convenor: Lawson Brigham (United States)
Co-convenors: Andrii Fedchuk (Ukraine).

While continental Antarctica is shielded from resource exploitation by the 1991 Protocol on Environmental Protection of the Antarctic treaty, the Arctic is becoming increasingly attractive to developers as global demand for natural resources explodes and access is facilitated by sea ice recession. The modernization of the Arctic is driven by booming exploration/exploitation of oil and gas deposits, large mining projects, new shipping routes for intercontinental and destination shipping, the projected laying of intercontinental communication cables, the search for new fish stocks, increased popularity of polar destinations for tourism, etc. . In Antarctica, tourism is the main commercial activity in terms of scale and influence. What have we learned on these issues during the International Polar Year? This session will focus on exploitation of natural resources, as well as socio-cultural effects and political implications of commercial pursuits in the Polar Regions. The session is particularly concerned with multidisciplinary aspects of interrelationships between human activities management and observed environmental changes (e.g., increased access to new pristine areas by ships due to climate warming) with emphasis on the need for scientific information and regulation. Presentations that demonstrate practical management and regulatory options within the context of diversification, and that propose schemes for the prioritizing of human activities in the Polar Regions are particularly welcome.

Keywords: polar regions; natural resource exploration; commercial activities; Arctic and Antarctic tourism; environmental impacts; best practices of human activity management.

1.4.2  Human health and well-being, including food security in a changing Arctic

Convenor: Jon Řyvind Odland (Norway)
Co-convenors: Candice Lys (Canada).

The International Polar Year 2007-2008 took place during a period of extraordinary climate change in polar regions. Issues surrounding human health and wellbeing, food security, mitigation and adaptation will increasingly be the focus for science and public health work in the coming decades. This session will focus on the human aspects of climate change and environment in polar regions in the context of global change, in a multidisciplinary setting. Links between the north and south are important, as well as the different life conditions in all Arctic areas. Topics can be broad, but focused on human health and wellbeing in a shifting environment and the defined topics in the Ministerial declaration from Nuuk in 2011. Systematic overviews, as well as smaller studies of high scientific quality will be appreciated.

Keywords: Human health, climate change, food security, environment, mitigation, adaptation.

1.4.3  The history and archaeology of the Arctic and Antarctic: science, politics, resources and cultural heritage

Convenor: Dag Avango (Sweden)
Co-convenors: Hidde de Haas (Netherlands), Julia Laijus (Russia) and Liza Piper (Canada).

The IPY 2007-2009 represented a substantial and world-wide increase in interest for polar science, accompanied by an increasing international interest in natural resources, sovereignty- and governance issues. Similar developments have occurred before in history and researchers within different disciplines are trying to explain them. This session is devoted to research on the many strands of history of relevance to the Polar Regions, including environmental history, economic history, historical archaeology and the history of science and technology. Of particular interest to this sessions are presentations on how natural resource exploitation and politics in the Arctic and Antarctic have played out in the past and in the present. It will also deal with the material remains from such activities in the polar areas, including consideration of cultural heritage, its conservation and management. The session aims for a fruitful discussion on these issues across not only the historical disciplines, but also human geography, political science, and anthropology.

Keywords: Scientific research; Resource utilisation; Geo-politics; Diplomacy; Environmental history, History of Science, History of Technology, Cultural heritage, Archaeology.

2.4.4  Communities and change: vulnerability, resilience and adaptation

Convenor: Chris Furgal (Canada) , Henry Huntington (United States), Rebecca Klady (Germany) and Elena Nuykina (Russia).

The IPCC report and others have identified the Polar Regions as particularly "vulnerable," a status that has led to a dramatic rise in research on this and related topics in Arctic communities. Attempts to understand existing and future risks and vulnerabilities have shown that certain inherent strengths exist, such as resiliency and the capacity to adapt. In the context of environmental change, it is clear that there are many important forces present inside and external to Arctic communities that have the potential to influence future vulnerabilities, resilience, and adaptation. In this respect, environmental, social, cultural, and economic aspects are important for understanding Arctic communities and change.

This session aims to explore current and future considerations of the primary themes of vulnerability, resilience, and adaptation in Arctic communities. We invite cross comparisons of these themes, as well as discussions and synthesis of what we have learned thus far on these topics, both within and beyond the context of work conducted under IPY. The session hopes to also identify and explore different tools that have been used, or are proposed to transform knowledge into action associated with the concepts of vulnerability, resilience and adaptation. Other topics may include:

  • identification of knowledge or action gaps and strategies to address them,
  • the relationship between Arctic communities and the change, and
  • how knowledge about vulnerability, resilience and adaptation can act in concert or otherwise support community and individual empowerment and desired change.

The session is open to researchers, community members, policy planners, and all others interested in these themes.

Keywords: vulnerability, adaptation, resilience, Arctic communities

2.4.5  Polar governance, policy, and management in the face of change

Convenor: Lassi Heininen (Finland) , and Suzanne Lalonde (Canada),
Co-convenors: Michal Luszczuk, (Poland) and Geny Cobra (Finland).

From the Antarctic Treaty and the Arctic Council at the polar scale to Hunters and Trappers Associations at the hamlet scale, the governance of Polar Regions is a complex world where issues ranging from national sovereignty to housing are debated. Is the Antarctic Treaty System model applicable to the changing Arctic, and if so, to what extent and how? How do the national strategies and / policies of the Arctic nations to prepare for change in Polar Regions compare? At the regional scale, how do different governance regimes prepare for the impacts of environmental change and accelerated resource developments in the Arctic? To what extent is the devolution of governance, and innovations in legal and political arrangements, a solution to the numerous and synergetic difficulties faced by northern communities? This session will focus on syntheses and overviews that address governance, policy and management issues at all scales. Comparative studies contrasting governance models and strategies and policies to deal with polar issues among countries and regions are invited. Regional, international or bi-polar syntheses of policies that identify best approaches and practices are particularly welcome.

Keywords: governance; policy; management; geopolitics; sovereignty; devolution; syntheses; projections.

New frontiers, technologies and data practices in polar research

1.5.1  Earth - solar interactions and the cosmos beyond

Convenor: John Storey (Australia)
Co-convenors: Maurizio Candidi (Italy) and Catherine Walker (United States).

The polar regions offer a uniquely important view of the astronomical sky, and a privileged place for studies of solar-terrestrial interactions. Close to earth, particles and radiation from the sun shape near-Earth space and drive processes at the interfaces between various regions of the upper atmosphere. Beyond the earth, "space weather" plays a crucial role in fields of relevance to human activities, like communications and safety of air travel. Solar system objects, especially icy satellites, have important similarities to Antarctic ice masses. Looking further into space, observatories close to the Poles can take advantage of unparalleled observing conditions to study astronomical phenomena inaccessible from other sites. This session brings together researchers whose studies range from just above the earth's atmosphere to the edge of the Universe.

Keywords: solar-terrestrial physics; ionosphere; upper atmosphere; space weather; solar system; astronomy; astrophysics; cosmology.

1.5.2  Polar observing systems, including observations from space

Convenor: Marcel Babin (France/Canada)
Co-convenors: Gijs de Boer (United States).

The polar environment is remote, extreme and challenging to observe. Despite these obstacles, significant efforts have been put forth to better understand high-latitude processes through the deployment of new observing networks and technologies. During IPY 2007-2008, a coordinated effort was made to identify wide-scale polar observational requirements, and to assess which requirements could be met by existing observing systems and where there were gaps. This included evaluation of space-based and in situ observing systems, including those set by polar residents and based upon indigenous monitoring systems. The resulting vision of optimized polar observing systems and networks also provided a roadmap for the post-IPY era. A number of major initiatives from this IPY observing systems legacy are currently under consideration. They include an integrated Arctic Ocean Observing System (iAOOS), Sustaining Arctic Observing Networks (SAON) and the Southern Ocean Observing System (SOOS), the Global Cryosphere Watch (GCW), the Arctic Sea Ice Outlook (ASIO), a Circum Polar Biodiversity Monitoring Program (CBMP), new satellite observation programs, atmospheric networks in both polar regions and human-based observational activities and indigenous monitoring. In this session, we seek reports describing and updating progress with the development of such polar observing systems and networks. We strongly encourage contributions from both Arctic and Antarctic scientists.

Keywords: observations; Arctic and Antarctic observing networks; polar remote sensing; new observing systems.

1.5.3  Advances in technology in polar research, including subglacial exploration

Convenor: Jeremy Wilkinson (United Kingdom)
Co-convenors: Denis Samyn (Belgium).

New technological developments in scientific sensors, data processing techniques and deployment platforms are providing unparalleled access to polar data that address problems of global significance. Although the polar regions remain isolated and harsh environments for human measurements, automated systems were used extensively during IPY to provide detailed year round data over large areas. We invite contributions to this session that report the latest technological developments for polar measurements, including subglacial exploration. These might include autonomous underwater vehicles that can penetrate the ocean depths and make measurements beneath sea ice and within ice shelf cavities; automatic systems for detailed ice, oceanographic and atmospheric measurements; robotic land and airborne sensor platforms; sophisticated new radar, lidar and seismic geophysical techniques that can provide data from within the ice sheets and from the Earth's crust below them and the ocean; quantitative satellite borne sensors; and state-of-the-art biological techniques that provide clues to the origin of polar life and ecosystem complexity.

Keywords: automatic observing systems, autonomous underwater vehicles, robotic sensor platforms, remote sensing, geophysical techniques, DNA sequencing.

2.5.4  Accessing, sharing and preserving data: defining an IPY legacy

Convenor: Ellsworth LeDrew (Canada) , Mark Parsons (United States), Taco de Bruin (Netherlands), and Yennifer Hernandez (Uruguay).

Managing, integrating, and providing sustained access to IPY data remains a grand challenge for IPY. In The Scope of Science for the International Polar Year, 2007-2008, IPY organizers stated: "Building an integrated data set from the broad range of IPY research activities represents one of IPY’s most daunting challenges. An enduring data set, accessible to scientists and the public during IPY and for many decades into the future, will represent one of IPY’s strongest legacies." To make this 'enduring data set’ a reality continues to be a challenge.

In this session, we seek papers that cover topics along the entire range of effective data management from submission of metadata and data, to sharing the data to facilitate new interdisciplinary science and to long-term preservation and stewardship. Papers will report on successes and challenges encountered during the IPY, best practices learned, and what must yet be done to ensure the data legacy of IPY. Papers from all scientific disciplines are welcome, and interdisciplinary data management topics are especially encouraged.

A particular focus of the session will be on methods and case studies exploring how to transform and integrate different data to create meaningful information for diverse users. Users are defined very broadly from the policy analyst, to the scientists and to the public. Approaches to meeting their needs include the use of web services to combine data sets from disparate sources and social networking approaches to involve the citizen scientist. Papers illustrating such integration and innovative approaches to enhancing the future value of IPY data to the user are most welcome.

Keywords: Polar data archiving and retrieval; user information; citizen scientist

2.5.5  Improved projections and forecasts from climate and weather models

Convenor: John Cassano (United States)
Co-convenors: Andrey Proshutinsky (United States), David Small (Canada) and Masha Tsukernik (United States).

The importance of climate change in the polar regions is well known. Yet, the complexity of the polar climate system and the lack of consistent, long-term observations have limited our progress in understanding this critical and fast changing region of the earth. The lack of observations coupled with the threat of changes to the high-latitude environment makes improving our ability to model the weather and climate of polar regions extremely urgent. Improving our modeling capability requires synthesis of our knowledge of important physical processes from weather to climate scales and an evaluation of how well they are represented in state of the art climate and weather models. Challenges facing modelers range from providing accurate short-term forecasts of hazardous weather, such as polar lows and extreme winds, to improving long-term projections of climate change and separating the anthropogenic signal from natural variability. This session will focus on advances in climate and weather modeling in the polar regions that took place during the International Polar Year (IPY) 2007-2008 and advances in polar modeling that have occurred as a result of IPY activities. Presentations are invited on weather and climate modeling on all time scales, for both the Arctic and Antarctic. Presentations that discuss modeling advances resulting from IPY observational campaigns are encouraged, as are presentations that discuss the application of polar models to understand the physical processes acting in the polar climate system.

Keywords: polar climate, polar weather, climate projection, numerical weather prediction.