David Hik of the University of Alberta presented on the topic of "Integrating Arctic Research: Implementing a Roadmap for the Future". In his presentation, he traced the roots of the International Polar Year and its legacy, including its scientific, collaborative and human impacts. Hik Introduced the idea of a International Polar Partnership among key international research actors in the circumpolar region, including UArctic, IASC, and IASSA. He also highlighted current trends in major Arctic research themes including environmental systems such as albedo, permafrost, herbivory, as well as traditional and indigenous knowledge. This leads to a common challenge about how to implement and coordinate research that integrates all major areas in the Arctic research agenda. Hik concluded that he still finds much to be hopeful about in how the Arctic scientific community has come together around key questions.
Terry Callaghan of Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences (retired), Tomsk State University, and the University of Sheffield gave his presentation on "Hidden Challenges in Arctic Science. He showed where some of the challenges lie in dealing with these larger question, including challenges in time, space and approaches. He warns of the mistake of trying to equate what we observe in the ecosystem with the current environmental conditions. We see instead sometimes long delays in the impact from earlier changes. Dialogue with indigenous peoples and other northern residents is essential to really know what is going on such as observations in winter and short-term events. The challenges of space include that certain places in the Arctic are experiencing very little or no change, while other areas are experiencing extreme change and we can't always explain why. He highlighted the problem that regional scale models are irrelevant to local communities but local scale projections have great uncertainties for scientists. We need to understand neighbouring areas to the Arctic through 'mega transects' that connect different environmental regions.
As for approaches, Callaghan laments that we have seen too few paradigm shifts in the past decades of Arctic research, and that we are still limited by the separation of disciplines. Building capacity for research and monitoring through programs such as INTERACT offers potential solutions.
Terry Callaghan has worked in the Arctic for 49 years on plant ecology, ecosystem science and environmental change. He developed several scientific fields and contributed to major Arctic and global organizations and environmental assessments including IPCC. He led the Abisko Scientific Research Station (Sweden) and developed a network (INTERACT) of 77 research stations. Terry published over 430 scientific papers and is a “Most Cited and Influential Researcher” on the Web of Science. He has been recognized by Honorary Ph.D.s from Sweden, Finland and Russia, medals from the King of Sweden and Queen of England, and the joint award of the Nobel Peace Prize to IPCC in 2007.
David Hik is Professor of Biological Sciences, at the University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada. His research interests are focused on the ecology and dynamics of Arctic and mountain terrestrial environments; determinants of social-ecological resilience; and the interface between science and policy. Currently serves as on the Advisory Boards of Polar Knowledge Canada; Arctic Centre (Rovaniemi); Alberta Environmental Monitoring, Evaluation & Reporting Agency; Arctic Institute of Community-Based Research (Yukon); and is Visiting Guest Professor, Polar Research Institute of China. He was President of the International Arctic Science Committee from 2010-2014.