By Hanna Lappalainen, Lead of the UArctic Thematic Network on Arctic Boreal Hub, Docent and
Stephany Mazon, Research Coordinator, Institute for Atmospheric and Earth System Research (INAR), University of Helsinki
The Arctic region is undergoing accelerated rates of warming and, as a consequence, potentially irreversible changes to its environment. It is evident that a sustainable future of the region will be based on scientific knowledge.
This knowledge, however, entails an integrated understanding of the Earth system, in particular its feedback system relating the atmosphere, ocean and land components. Yet this endeavor remains fragmented among the respective scientific disciplines. The Arena for the gap analysis of the existing Arctic Science Co-Operations (AASCO) is working to bridge the scientific research communities to chart a path towards a comprehensive practice of science.
AASCO is an initiative headed by the Institute for Atmospheric and Earth System Research (INAR) at the University of Helsinki and sponsored by the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation for 2020–2021. It is implemented in collaboration with UArctic, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the Sustainable Arctic Observations Networks (SAON), the Svalbard Integrated Arctic Earth Observing System (SIOS), the Institute of Remote Sensing and Digital Earth at Chinese Academy of Sciences (RADI – CAS), Moscow State University (MSU), and the Harvard Law School.
The first AASCO meeting was held online in November 2020. The two-day event comprised of short keynote presentations followed by open discussion on key large-scale research questions in the Arctic context, large-scale Arctic research frameworks, Arctic research infrastructures and future perspectives for integrated observations, and policy frameworks in the Arctic context.
The discussions served as a gateway to address the state of the current scientific knowledge of the region, and to emphasize and evaluate the efforts in conducting interdisciplinary science and strengthening the research infrastructure network in the Arctic. The discussions will be summarized as a white paper on the most urgent multidisciplinary science questions and as a policy-makers summary.
AASCO also provides an open online platform in the form of an e-exhibition that compiles communications material, digital services, and knowledge resources from the contributing partners to share their Arctic outreach materials. The aim is to offer a visual overview and source for the work and products stemming from the AASCO community. The e-exhibition will continue to be a living document, inviting all interested bodies to contribute to building the database of services and information resources of the Arctic region.
The 2nd AASCO meeting is planned for autumn 2021 in a hybrid format, offering online participation as well as in-person presence in Helsinki, Finland, conditions permitting. By streaming the talks and dialogue online, we aim to open the event to a broader audience of science and policy stakeholders.