Arctic Challenge for Sustainability Project

ArCS Blog

ArCS Blog

In order to estimate an influence of ocean acidification in sub sea-surface waters to planktons bearing calcium carbonate shell, the subgroup of “theme 4” in ArCS project has conducted fixed point observation using bottom-tethered mooring in Pacific side of the Arctic Ocean. In this August, I joined the Arctic Ocean cruise (Leg 1) of ice breaker ARAON of Korean Polar Research Institute (KOPRI) to deploy our mooring, which had composed of sediment traps taking particles in water and some sensors to record hydrographic parameters such as pH, temperature, salinity, and ice thickness for a year.

The Ice Base Cape Baranova research station is located in Bolshevik Island of the Severnaya Zemlya Archipelago (79°18'N 101°48'E). The research station, operated by Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute (AARI), opened in 1980’s and reopened in 2013 after an almost 10-year temporal close. National Institute of Polar Research and the University of Tokyo had just started a joint observation research with AARI at the research station when I visited the Cape Baranova in November 2017.

We held a workshop with the residents of the Qaanaaq Village on 29th July. This workshop is to present our research activities to the local people, and to exchange information of environmental change and its impact on the society. This event has been organized every summer since 2016 to build a collaborative relationship with the locals. Researchers from Hokkaido University, Kyoto University and Calgary University participated the workshop this year. We introduced our research activities on ice caps, glaciers, the ocean and landslide, which were followed by questions from the audience. 20–30 people attended and listened to our presentations carefully.

The East Greenland Ice-core Project (EGRIP) aims to retrieve ice cores by drilling through the Northeast Greenland Ice Stream (NEGIS). Ice streams greatly affect draining a significant fraction of the ice from the Greenland Ice Sheet, and we hope to obtain new and fundamental information on ice stream dynamics through the project, thereby improving the understanding of how ice streams will contribute to future sea-level change.

The International Symposium, “On Land, Water and Ice: Indigenous Societies and the Changing Arctic” was held on July 5 and 6 at the Slavic-Eurasian Research Center, Hokkaido University. Making a feature of the various changes that confront the indigenous people in the Arctic, the symposium had two keynote speeches on the first day, which were followed by five sessions of presentations over two days.

Although consensus is growing among scientists that global warming is affecting the Arctic, some members of the public are skeptical and suspect that scientists may be overstating the risks. Actually, the argument that global warming is untrue may never disprove scientific findings of the phenomena. But, there is a suspicion that scientists are overemphasizing the warming tendency. The things that researchers connected with the ArCS project should do for the public is to explain to them the real situation of the Arctic by interpreting data from multifarious points of view.

Observations identified changes in the Arctic terrestrial water cycle caused by increasing snow and warming permafrost under the condition of warming climate. It is expected that the declining sea ice is associated with the changes of water cycle. The declination enhances evaporation from the open sea surface, resulting in wetter atmosphere and hence larger snow on land through atmospheric dynamics. The increased snow contributes to permafrost warming and the increase of river discharge.

I stayed at the Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI) in Germany from 3 March to 31 May 2018 with funding from the ArCS’ program for young researchers overseas visits. Bremerhaven, where I stayed, was a peaceful port town. People there enjoyed drinking beer and walking along the river banks every evening.