Association of Polar Early Career Scientists
 

APECS is happy to be able to link early career researchers with organisations interested in the polar regions, and whenever possible APECS sends a APECS representative to meetings on interest.Although we can usually only send one APECS member to a meeting, it is our goal to share information meetings and workshops with our wider membership.

In this section you will find the reports and summaries submitted by our APECS reps in order to share meeting topics and outcomes with our wider membership. You can also see them in the APECS News

Top Predator Meeting at POLAR2018

Antarctic Top Predator Meeting at POLAR2018

Jaimie Cleeland (APECS Representative to EG-BAMM)

The Scientific Committee for Antarctic Research (SCAR) Expert Group on Birds and Marine Mammals (EG-BAMM) met in Davos on June 16th, 2018 as part of POLAR2018. The meeting represents a gathering of polar researchers to discuss key issues and concerns regarding higher order Southern Ocean predators. Opened by Chair, Mark Hindell (IMAS, UTAS, Australia) and Deputy Chair, Yan Ropert-Coudert (CEBC – CNRS, France), the Davos meeting focussed on new technologies and international collaborative research initiatives.

Satellite imagery and drones are becoming increasingly popular tools to study polar wildlife populations. Hans Ulrich Peter (Polar and Bird Ecology Group, Jena University, Germany), Chair of the Action Group on Remote Sensing revealed that now through SCAR and the European Space Agency researchers have access to an important resource for censusing Antarctic wildlife: freely available and high quality multispectral imagery data from Sentinel-2 satellite based on a 10 days revisit time.

Anton van de Putte (Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences, Belgium) from the Trophic Interactions working group then enlightened us on the development of SCAR Southern Ocean Diet and Energetics Database (https://data.aad.gov.au/trophic/). This SCAR (EG-BAMM and Antarctic Biodiversity Informatics, EG-ABI) product contains information on the diet and energy flow for Southern Ocean species and ecosystems that is vital to a broad range of Antarctic and Southern Ocean biological and ecological studies.

The SCAR Health Monitoring Working Group aims to strengthen relationships within the Antarctic wildlife disease research community to work together on polar wildlife health. The group is currently working with EG-BAMM and Expert Group on Human Biology and Medicine (EG-HBM) members to develop protocols for mass mortality events of wildlife to be endorsed by SCAR and submitted to the Committee of Environmental Protection of the Antarctic Treaty through the Standing Committee on the Antarctic Treat System (SCATS). Andreas Barbosa (Spanish National Research Council, Spain) reported that after a successful workshop at Polar2018 a future workshop on methodology to study disease and health status in Antarctica is in planning. Clive McMahon (Sydney Institute for Marine Science, Australia) discussed new project assessing health of elephant seals across multiple Antarctic bases using blood samples and tagging.

The Retrospective Antarctic Animal Tracking Database (RAATD) is a multi-species assessment of Antarctic top predators to identify areas of ecological importance and an important SCAR product. Mark Hindell recounted on RAATDs latest activities, revealing that to date it has collated data from 79 contributors from 46 institutions, resulting in 4060 tracks over 3 million location fixes from Southern Ocean predators.

Susan Gallon (French Agency for Biodiversity, France) invited interested researchers to the Important Marine Mammal Area (IMMA) Southern Ocean Workshop, which will take place in Brest, France from 15th to 19th October 2018 (marinemammalhabitat.org). This meeting falls within an IUCN task force bringing together Marine Conservation and Management initiatives, which can utilise products of the IMMA Process.

Meagan Dewar (Federation University, Australia) gave a short presentation highlighting the Oxford Nanopore MinION, which is a small, cost effective device used for real-time processing for DNA and RNA sequencing, and its applicability to predator research in remote settings.

Prior to wrapping up, the meeting participants went on to propose four new working groups (WGs) recommended for scoping documents including:

  • Functional Response: a quantitative assessment of predator-prey interactions
  • Tag Resights: focussing on collation and integration of tag resightings
  • Demographic Synthesis to identify status and trends
  • Cetacean working group to summarize Southern Ocean research and highlight gaps in knowledge

The future of the proposed working groups looks bright with early career researchers well represented in all groups.

EG-BAMM welcomes new members to all meetings and encourages early career researcher participation in meetings and working groups. The next meeting is scheduled for the 2020 SCAR Conference in Hobart. At the meeting in 2020, new leadership roles will be determined for the upcoming eight years, including Chief, Deputy, and Secretary roles. See you there!

2nd Siberian Environmental Change Network Workshop

20171031 SecNet2 logos

Winter weather and climate extremes: How can researchers, authorities, and local peoples work together to record, predict and adapt?
Salekhard, Yamal-Nenets automonous district, 31 Oct – 4 Nov 2017

The message was clear: To understand world climate, you need to understand the Arctic. To understand Arctic climate, you need to understand the Russian Arctic. To understand the Russian Arctic, you need to understand Yamal!

The Siberian Environmental Change Network was founded in 2016 to provide a “super mega transect” of stations; to create a science mega facility analogous to CERN that would serve as the hub of Siberian research. The workshop was jointly organised by INTERACT and indeed several SecNet stations are INTERACT partners. But the main theme of the workshop was not increasing research infrastructure, but rather how to effectively work with all stakeholders including government and local residents. The unique, and refreshing aspect with this meeting was that instead of scientists talking about these issues amongst themselves, representatives from the various stakeholder groups were present and fully engaged in the meeting.

Due to the diverse backgrounds of the workshop participants the first day was spent on introductions. Thereafter, the format of the workshop centered on breakout groups. In the first breakout, participants were split according to sector (Researcher, Northern Peoples, Decision makers) and asked to identify the challenges and opportunities related to communicating with the other groups. Out of interest, I joined the Decision Makers group. In terms of communicating with scientists, they identified a lack of local experts able to engage with regional problems. Additionally, they highlighted the lack of clear, coherent priorities coming from the international science community. A positive example identified was the CALM network where rather than saying that ‘permafrost research is important’, exact variables that needed to be measured were defined. For communicating with local people, they raised the interesting point that after a few years the representatives of those communities may not be ‘representative’ anymore, after having spent considerable time away from home.

In the second breakout, the groups were mixed and each new group had to discuss areas of high priority, which required the three groups to work together. A common theme amongst all groups was education: developing Arctic specific courses and being able to deliver them close to home. Salekhard, population 40 000, has no university. Education includes learning about the legal system: how to influence the decisions that will impact you. Land access, was also identified as an area ripe for inter-sector collaboration.

In the final section of the workshop, all the discussions were summarised and an action plan developed to drive the momentum forward. The overwhelming impression I got from this meeting was that communication is crucial, whether that is within your own ‘group’ or between sectors. There are many examples of good practice and various guidelines have been developed, but to make a real impact they need to be widely communicated and translated (both in terms of language and style of delivery). Clearly not all scientists should/need to engage in inter-sector communication and would be best served by dedicated representatives. But, as was highlighted in this meeting, care needs to be taken that those representatives don’t just end up travelling from meeting to meeting, losing touch with their ‘constituency’ along the way.

I would like to thank the organisers of the conference for providing me opportunity to attend and experience Yamal, and Olga who provided real time Russian-English translation, without which this workshop would not have been as successful as it was.

20171031 SecNet2 picutres

APECS Germany at the 26th Annual Meeting of the German National Committee SCAR / IASC in Cologne (June 8-9, 2017)

Gruppenfoto German SCAR IASC Meeing 2017For the third time in a row, APECS received an invitation to select a representative among its members to be a guest at the annual meeting of the German National Committee SCAR/IASC (NK SCAR/IASC). The NK SCAR/IASC serves as the national body for the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR) and the International Arctic Science Committee (IASC), and it further plans and coordinates the activities of German university research in the field of polar sciences. The 26th iteration of the NK SCAR/IASC meeting was held at Schloss Wahn, located in the outskirts of the beautiful city of Cologne. The 2-day meeting was very well organized, thanks to Martin Melles and Eliza Stehr from the University of Cologne.

For this year’s meeting, however, the circumstances were a bit different from the previous two years, as July 2016 (just after last year’s meeting of the NK SCAR/IASC, attended by Heike Link as the former APECS representative) marked the official start of APECS Germany, the new German National Committee within the international APECS network. Hence, the current and still quite recently elected chair of APECS Germany, Andreas Preußer, took the opportunity to announce the formation of our National Committee on behalf of the current APECS Germany Board and the 176 German APECS members in total, as well as to give a short presentation on the first successful activities for young polar researchers in Germany that took place and/or were initiated in 2016/2017. Please check our website and facebook-page for more information on these events. Furthermore, a brief overview on international APECS activities over the last 12 months was given, with the most interesting news in this regard being the new location of the main seat of the APECS Directorate Office which moved from TromsØ (Norway) to Potsdam (Germany) in February 2017 and being hosted by the Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI) for the next 5 years.

Besides the 14 official members of the NK SCAR/IASC, currently being chaired by Günther Heinemann, 21 guests from various research institutions, funding agencies and federal ministries were attending the meeting - all occupying leading roles in the German polar research community. The list of affiliations included the Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI), the Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources (BGR), the Federal Environment Agency (UBA), the German Aerospace Centre (DLR), the GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Marine Research, the German Research Foundation (DFG) and its Priority Program for Antarctic Research (SPP-1158), the German Association for Polar Research (DGP) and of course APECS. Major topics concerning German polar research focused on the “International Framework”, “Infrastructure and Expeditions” (this year with a special focus on MOSAiC – the Multidisciplinary drifting Observatory for the Study of Arctic Climate), “National research planning and strategies” as well as more general SCAR and IASC matters from the respective SCAR and IASC international working groups.

 As almost every participant was invited to give a short report or statement on their respective contribution to these topics, the 2-day meeting was densely packed with interesting information. However, likewise to most scientific conferences there were several coffee-breaks available to serve as an extended stage to initiate discussions in a more relaxed atmosphere. 

In this context, it became clear that many attendees were quite happy to hear that APECS Germany had been officially founded and signalized willingness to support and collaborate in the future. As a first outcome, the coordination workshop of the Priority Program for Antarctic Research in September 2017 (APECS Polar week!) will likely set the framework for a 2nd APECS Germany workshop.

Overall, we are happy to see that the NK SCAR/IASC recognizes APECS (Germany) and the role of early career scientists (ECS) in general as an integral part of polar research in Germany. The invitation of an early career scientist to participate in their annual meetings can give valuable insights into national science activities and the translation of international science agreements and guidelines to a national level. Not less important – the NK SCAR/IASC is an ideal occasion to extend an ECS’s professional network by facilitating communication with experienced senior researchers, federal institutions and/or funding agencies.

If you are interested in learning more about APECS Germany and/or you want to actively participate in planning and organizing activities in Germany – get in touch with us! germany-board[at]apecs.is

APECS at the 13th Session of the CliC Scientific Steering Group

Clic logo1

The Climate and Cryosphere (CliC) Scientific Steering Group of the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP) met for its 13th session on February 17-18, 2017. The meeting was hosted at the Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand, and took place in conjunction with the International Symposium on the Cryosphere in a hanging Climate held from February 13-17, 2017. More than twenty presentations were in the agenda, and twenty-seven participants from thirteen different countries attended the meeting (both at the location and participating remotely). The meeting was led by CliC Co-Chairs Gerhard Krinner and James Renwick.

CliC group pictureLawrence Hislop, CliC Director, welcomed the participants and highlighted the different topics of the meeting: among them were evaluation of current projects benchmarking), identification of potential duplication of CliC activities, an update of the current Science Plan and new initiatives, linkages to other organizations and research groups, etc. 

A number of oral sessions covered the wide range of CliC and WCRP activities from contributing to the 6th Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to CliC supported Coupled Model Intercomparison Projects.

A focus was also on the multidisciplinary WCRP Grand Challenges: melting ice and global consequences, climate sensitivity, carbon feedbacks in the climate system, weather and climate prediction, water availability, sea-level change and its coastal impacts. The participants critically-reviewed the 2016-2020 CliC Science Plan, which describes their overarching research needs and themes: terrestrial cryosphere; marine cryosphere; ice sheets, glaciers and sea level; global and regional prediction and projection of the cryosphere.

Suggestions on the Science Plan were welcomed and led to an exciting discussion between the delegates about our future in an ongoing climate change. The core questions span the entire diversity of the Earth’s cryosphere: How much carbon is available in permafrost ? Why are Arctic and Antarctic sea ice behaving differently ? What is the contribution of glaciers and ice sheets to changes in global sea level on decadal-to-centennial timescales ? How does the cryosphere interact with the climate ? The answers are at the heart of an ongoing research effort across the science community. The group concluded that the current and proposed activities still reflect CliC priorities and that further work needs to be done to answer these questions.

CliC meeting room

As the APECS representative Christian Wild, I updated the participants on the actions of the Association of Polar Early Carrer Scientists (APECS). He pointd out that young scientists are passionate to contribute knowledge within the cryospheric community, be it through collecting invalueable observations, international research collaborations or education and outreach products related to the polar regions. CliC should clarify how to include Early Career Scientists generally in their activities through leadership, membership, planning and funding possibilities. Additionally, he gathered information about upcoming conferences/workshops and other opportunities for early career scientists to become actively involved. His participation at the meeting was a great experience and as his PhD topic targets the interaction between ice shelves and the ocean, he particularly enjoyed the discussion about the stability of the Antarctic ice shelves given the increase in both oceanic and atmospheric temperatures.

From a personal perspective, he had the chance to liaise with world-eminent experts of climate research and had the opportunity for more informal discussions during the breaks. Christian was also responsible for taking minutes and contributed to the meeting report. The final report of the 13th meeting of the WCRP’s CliC project Scientific Steering Group is now available at the CliC webpage and can be found here: http://www.climate-cryosphere.org/news/clic-news/1558-clicssg13reportavailable.

APECS at the EU PolarNet Town Hall Event in Brussels

EUPolarNet logo2The EU PolarNet was recently established as an umbrella organization for European polar research expertise and infrastructure. On 27th September a Town Hall Event was held at the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences in Brussels to engage important stakeholders and discuss European polar research priorities for the coming years. APECS had the chance to participate and did so in person of Igor S. Pessi and Henrik Christiansen.

Now, many may think policy meetings are rather dry events. While this can hold true for some cases, it certainly didn’t for the EU PolarNet Town Hall. Here’s a brief and personal report of some highlights:

After registration you’re told to “just turn right after the dinosaurs”. So, briefly inspecting giant creatures that didn’t make it through extreme climate change related to a giant asteroid, and then further on to discussions of present day climate change (for which we can’t blame an asteroid). Kristina Bär and Nicole Biebow provided excellent organization and after a warm welcome by Nicole and an amazing video with greetings from various polar researchers from the field (both Arctic and Antarctic) compiled by Kristina, the first talks and discussions began. The theme of the morning was “The 1.5° C climate target – What does the European society need from polar research?”. Amongst others, Jannie Staffansson held an extremely impressive, emotional plea for renewable energy and for inclusion of indigenous people in Arctic research. Their knowledge can be invaluable and they should not just be used as ‘data source’, but actively engaged. Peter Gibbs from BBC followed suit with his experiences of documenting Antarctic research in action. A must-see for anyone interested in science communication (see link below).

In the afternoon discussions revolved around “European priorities for polar research”. Jane Francis, director of British Antarctic Survey, started explaining what international collaboration can achieve and emphasized repeatedly that it’s in fact largely the future of younger generations that is at stake. Therefore, young people should play a dominant role in shaping future polar research and may come up with important new ideas. Obviously, APECS couldn’t agree more and it’s also up to us to make our voice heard. During the discussions for the conference statement Tom Armstrong, CEO of Madison River Group and long time expert on global change in the White House, critically reminded everyone that 1.5° C may be a noble goal, but scientists should know that it’s not a very realistic goal, especially in a world that has already breached the 400 ppm CO2 barrier this year. Climate change particularly in polar regions leaves four choices: adapt, mitigate, intervene, or doing nothing. The latter is usually by far the worst. The mission of EU PolarNet to coordinate and strengthen polar research is hence extremely important given the challenges, but also opportunities of climate change.

This really is but a very short excerpt, many more relevant talks can be seen in the recordings of the event here. A protocol and a conference statement will be published soon as well. Watch out for that!

APECS at the CAFF Board Meeting

CAFF Board Group Photo 2016The Arctic Council working group Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna (CAFF) hosted a board meeting September 6-8 2016 in Longyearbyen, Svalbard. An APECS council member, Karolina Paquin was invited to attend as a representative. The meeting brought together 38 delegates from member states, permanent participants, observer states and expert organisations. Delegates came from all the Arctic states, in addition to the much appreciated participation by South Korea and Japan in relation to the Arctic Migratory Bird Initiative (AMBI).

The status of ongoing projects and proposals for new projects were reviewed with efficiency, with delegates being quite pleased avoiding the need for push ups to stay awake. Make sure to keep your eyes open for upcoming publications from the projects in the next year (www.caff.is)! The projects reviewed were: Arctic Invasive Species, Arctic Marine Biodiversity Report (SAMBR), Coastal Biodiversity Monitoring Project (CBMP), Arctic Freshwater Biodiversity Report (SAFBR), Arctic Terrestrial Biodiversity Report (START), Arctic SDI, Mainstreaming/Ecosystem Services, Protected Areas: Marine and Terrestrial, Arctic Marine Cooperation Task Force, Sea Ice Associated Biodiversity, Salmon Peoples of Arctic Rivers, Traditional Knowledge and Wisdom, Arctic Migratory Birds Initiative (AMBI), Arctic Biodiversity Data Service (ABDS), and the Nomadic Herders Project.

This was Karolina’s first board meeting of this caliber, and she was left with a strong impression of the professionalism, rigour and passion of the delegates. She spoke with some delegates and inquired about the initiatives taken by their organizations regarding engagement with youth and early career researchers. She can tip APECES members to:

  • potential youth engagement with Gilbert Castellanos from the Alaska Fish and Wildlife Service
  • UNEP WCMC has occasional internships based in Cambridge, and are actively looking for help from an enthusiastic early career scientist with a penchant for working with large datasets
  • The Nomadic Herders have engaged with indigenous youth by holding a workshop with 35 participants to teach them about local sustainability, indigenous knowledge, CAFF, biodiversity and conservation

Some interesting tools are in development, with expected releases in 2017:

  • ArticDEM, a 2m resolution digital elevation model of the circumpolar Arctic to be released in Norway in Spring 2017, public domain and free to use
  • Arctic Biodiversity Data Service, a database with free to use data
  • Webinars to communicate the content of the developing reports
  • Globio3, a model to assess environmental, climate and biodiversity change and fragmenting habitats, to be used by decision makers

The CAFF working group is a wonderful collection of experts from around the world, and show genuine interest in how APECS can become a partner in initiatives. We can look forward to working with them in the future, and their board meetings allow for young scientists to gain insight into the how working groups function.

 

SCAR SSG-LS meeting

SCAR logo white backgroundDuring the biannual meeting and open science conference of the Scientific Committe on Antarctic Research (SCAR), the Standing Scientific Group of Life Sciences (SCAR SSG-LS) holds an open and closed meeting with its representatives. Established life scientists of currently 33 countries come together during this meeting to discuss their latest reports and advances.

At this year’s SCAR meeting and conference in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Jeff Bowman (Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, USA) and Henrik Christiansen (KU Leuven, Belgium) attended the meetings of SSG-LS on behalf of APECS. Yan Ropert-Coudert, the new chief officer, opened the first meeting, which took place mid-week of the conference and was well-attended by many spectators including early career scientists. Updates about the various expert groups (EGs) and action groups (AGs), as well as the two life science scientific research programs (AnT-ERA and AntEco) were presented. Many of the EGs and AGs and both AnT-ERA and AntEco continue to support early career scientist – they have for instance sponsored a number of early career scientists to attend this conference in Malaysia. To find out about such opportunities sign up for their e-mails lists (http://lists.scar.org/mailman/listinfo/antera and http://lists.scar.org/mailman/listinfo/anteco)! Besides proposing the continuation of some EG/AGs, the creation of a new AG, BEPSII (Biogeochemical exchange processes at sea ice interfaces) was proposed.

On Saturday the representatives gathered again for a closed meeting. Here, new initiatives, upcoming meetings (e.g. http://kuleuvencongres.be/scarbiology2017/) and highlights of national research programs were introduced. Budget discussions and votes took place as well. When discussing the new format of the life sciences meeting (having a first meeting mid-week), many noted the high attendance, which shows that there is an interest in this format. APECS strongly supports the idea of having an open, publicly advertised meeting embedded within the general conference program, as it may be a good opportunity for early career scientists to learn about the work of SSG-LS.

APECS at the German SCAR-IASC National Committee meeting

German SCAR IASC Meeting 2016APECS was invited to send a German representative as guest to the annual meeting of the German SCAR-IASC Committee. As the name already implies, the German SCAR-IASC National Committee (NK SCAR/IASC) is the official representative of German research in SCAR and in IASC. Once a year, the committee brings together the assigned (usually for 3 years) NK SCAR/IASC members and guests, established scientists from most research entities involved in polar research in Germany.

As chair, Günther Heinemann welcomed the participants on May 19 this year at the MARUM in Bremen. They could present updates of their organizations and had time to discuss during breaks along the well-organized 2-day meeting. On behalf of the currently 131 APECS members based in Germany, Heike Link presented APECS activities since summer 2015 with a focus on events involving German members. The presentation also stimulated a discussion about how and why a national APECS group could be initiated in Germany, but the interest and implementation has to come from Germany’s polar early career scientists themselves. An APECS Germany committee would certainly facilitate communication between the NK SCAR/IASC and early career scientists.

The more than 30 other statements or short presentations included information on their polar activities from the Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources (BGR), the German Aerospace Centre (DLR), the GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Marine Research, the German Research Foundation (DFG) and its Priority Program for Antarctic Research (1158), the German Association for Polar Research (DGP), APECS, and, of course, the different SCAR and IASC working groups. For APECS it was encouraging to hear from AnT-ERA’s chief officer and German representative, Julian Gutt, that they invest 55% of their budget in early career scientists. Volker Rachold, IASC Executive Secretary, emphasized the value of early career IASC fellows - including the Germans Allison Fong and Josefine Lenz - in their different groups. Having a regular APECS representative at the NK SCAR/IASC will not only allow young researchers to learn about the various polar research activities in Germany, but it will also improve the communication between early career and established polar researchers in Germany.

Interested in helping create an APECS Germany National Committee? Contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

APECS at the European Polar Board spring meeting

APECS was invited to attend the European Polar Board’s (EPB) spring meeting in Stockholm, Sweden April 11-12, 2016. The EPB is an independent organization that coordinates European Arctic and Antarctic strategic science policy.  It’s focus areas are launching joint research programs, coordination of Polar research infrastructures, and advising on relevant policy issues.

Much of the first day's discussions were on the internal activities and management of the EPB. On the second day, discussions focused on EPB partnerships to leverage its activities. Discussions centered on strengthening current EPB partnerships. Heather Mariash represented APECS, highlighting the Call for Bids, the Strategic Plan, the online conference, and specific ways the EPB and APECS can work together on creating opportunities for early career researchers. Since the EPB works on integrating research into science policy at both poles, it will be an important partner organization for APECS. Both organizations see a benefit of working together, and we hope to have an official MoU signed soon. APECS will continue to collaborate with the EPB through joint activates and communications.

Other EPB partner organizations present were:  Anton Van de Putte representing data management from the Standing Committee on Antarctic Data Management (SCADM), the European Climate Research Alliance (ENCRA) presented by Tina Swierczynski, and Ulf Jonsell presented activities from Sustaining Arctic Observing Networks (SAON). 

APECS at the 12th Session of the CliC Scientific Steering Group

Clic logo1The 12th Session of the CliC Scientific Steering Group in Denmark was held 2-4 February, 2016, at University of Copenhagen, hosted by Center for Ice and Climate. More than 35 presentations were in the agenda, and participants were predominantly from Europe, but with contributions from the USA, Japan, Canada, China, New Zealand, Argentina and Australia (participating both at the location and remotely). The meeting was led by CliC SSG Chair Greg Fiato and hosted by the SSG member Dorthe-Dahl Jensen.

Dave Carlson, WCRP Director, opened the meeting and highlighted the topics of the meeting: among them were identification of gaps and duplications in work of CliC, research opportunities, future activities and projects, links to the other organizations/groups, etc.

CliC Meeting 2016 2There were a number of oral sessions covering the Climate and Cryosphere (CliC) Scientific Steering Group (SSG) and the World Climate Research Programme (WCPR) activities, connections and linkages between CliC and other projects, sea ice, permafrost/hydrology, regional/transdisciplinary issues, prediction and predictability, and modelling. A focus of the meeting was also on the WCRP Grand Science Challenges: clouds, circulation and climate sensitivity; melting ice and global consequences; climate extremes; regional sea-level change and coastal impacts; water availability. The delegates also had the opportunity to join the CliC minisympopsium held at the Niels Bohr Institute on Februady 4th, 2016, to discuss the state of the Arctic Cryosphere. It was mentioned that with the current sources there are more opportunities for the participants from developing countries and young scientists (international funding). Also, there was a suggestion to establish a special fund (travel) to support young scientists to join the upcoming cryospheric meetings.

CliC Meeting 2016 3As the APECS representative Ekaterina Uryupova updated information the SSG participants on the efforts of the Association of the Polar Career Scientists (APECS). She pointed out that young researchers are contributing a lot to the observations related to the Polar and Alpine Regions, and the wider cryosphere. The education and outreach is possible through research collaboration, training, and using digital platforms. Ekaterina provided the SSG participants with the APECS statistical data, and showed a range of outreach products that APECS is responsible for. She was also responsible for taking notes and compiling the meeting report. The detailed report of the 12th meeting of the WCRP's CliC project Scientific Steering Group is available at the CliC website now - http://www.climate-cryosphere.org/media-gallery/1580-2016-clicssg12-report. In addition, information about the upcoming projects/opportunities for early career researchers has been gathered at the meeting.

Arctic and Antarctic Think Tank

IASC SCAR thinktankAt the end of February I was invited to represent APECS at an ‘Arctic and Antarctic Think Tank’ in Potsdam, Germany. The event brought together the executive committees of the International Arctic Science Committee (IASC) and the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR). Over 1.5 days the two organizations updated each other on their current scientific and policy activities and discussed ways to strengthen their existing collaboration.

Both organizations have recently published summaries of important research questions at their respective poles (Horizon Scan and ICARP III) and a major goal of the meeting was how to combine these two documents in order to increase awareness of the importance of polar research amongst national funding agencies and the general public. It is all very well to outline research questions, but plans for how to implement them are also needed. COMNAP (Council of Managers of National Antarctic Programs) is leading the Antarctic Roadmap Challenges (ARC) project which looks at how to implement the Horizon Scan research questions. An overarching theme is the development of technology e.g. remote sensing, memory capacity and durability. I really liked the way the ARC focused on common underlying needs rather than discipline specific issues, especially since it reminds researchers to look outside their discipline: the technology they are looking for may already be out there.

There was much interest in a new International Council for Science (ICSU) initiative called ‘Future Earth’. Future Earth aims to bring together diverse organizations with the common aim of promoting research for global sustainability. It currently does not have a strong polar or even climate focus and it was agreed that Future Earth should do more to engage with SCAR and IASC. What was interesting about this discussion was that it highlighted how important communication between organizations is in order to avoid unnecessary duplication of efforts. This is particularly important since many of these organizations are primarily run by volunteers on a limited budget.

Further discussions centered around plans for the joint SCAR-IASC conference (Polar 2018), promoting and archiving documents from the International Polar Year and increasing opportunities for early career researchers to be involved in the various working groups of each organization.

Attending this meeting gave me a fantastic insight into how these organizations function and work to influence research policy at a national and international level. It is certainly not an easy task to capture funders and the general public’s attention but actively working together and having a united Polar voice will undoubtedly help.

CAFF-CBMP- Freshwater Expert Network workshop

CBMP wkspThe Arctic Freshwater Biodiversity Monitoring steering committee held a 3-day workshop in Sonnerupgaard, Denmark October 5-8th, 2015. This workshop provided the opportunity for the freshwater expert network to coordinate their efforts on an international level to ensure consistency in assessment and reporting efforts during the creation of the first national State of Arctic Freshwater Biodiversity Reports (SAFBR), due to be completed in 2017. The freshwater expert network consists of nearly 30 scientists from 8 countries representing most the circumpolar member states. The group has a large breadth of expertise, covering both river and lake ecology, from plankton, macrophysics, to invertebrates, through to fish. 

Screen shot 2015 10 14 at 10.26.39 AM

The large scope of expertise contributed to interesting discussions on topics such as: key environmental stressors, assessment questions, analytical approaches, incoporating Taditional Knowledge, and country- or regional- specific strengths in data collection. 

It was a productive meeting, and provided good insight into the complexities of building international monitoring programs. By the end of the workshop, we had a plan and timeline for moving forward with the freshwater State of the Arctic Report. Thank you to CAFF and the Freshwater Steering Committee for including an APECS member to the workshop.

Contact APECS

APECS International Directorate
Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Center for Polar and Marine Research
Telegrafenberg A45
14473 Potsdam
Germany
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Our Sponsors

APECS Directorate Sponsor
AWI WortBildmarke Farbe RGB
Further Sponsors and Partners for APECS projects, activities and events