Arctic Challenge for Sustainability Project

ArCS Blog

ArCS Blog

Aalborg, the fourth largest city in Denmark (See Photo 1), is known as the town in which the largest number of Greenlanders in Denmark live (See the following article in Greenland’s national newspaper Sermitsiaq, electronic edition, March 7, 2018: “Rekordmange grønlændere bor i Danmark”) (Also, see Photo 2). The city also has strong industrial and trade ties with Greenland - there is a port that serves as a major transport hub in the exchange with Greenland (Greenland Havn) and the headquarters of Royal Greenland, the world’s largest supplier of maritime products, are located. Thanks to the financial support of the ArCS’ Program for Overseas Visits by Young Researchers, I was blessed with the opportunity to spend ten months, from 20 March 2017 to 31 January 2018, in that city where, although in Denmark, one can feel the presence of Greenland a lot.

I visited Sakha Republic in northeastern Siberia during July-September, 2017. The aims of my stay were 1) to conduct summer field surveys and 2) to develop future research opportunities with scientists specialized in subarctic ecosystems.

Large areas of northeastern Siberia are covered by taiga forests, which play critical roles in global carbon and nutrient cycles. High-latitude regions have experienced rapid environmental changes that can affect carbon fluxes (fixation and emissions) of the forests. I mainly focus on carbon dynamics in the soils, as soils contain a large amount of organic carbon which can be a source of greenhouse gases under projected warming. I conducted field works in taiga and taiga-tundra ecotones and collected data to estimate carbon stocks and respirations in the soils.

With financial support from ArCS’ program for overseas visits by young researchers, I visited the Scripps Institution of Oceanography (Host Researcher: Prof. Fiamma Straneo) in San Diego, USA from 29 January to 9 February, 2018. Prof. Straneo is a physical oceanographer studying high latitude oceanic processes and their role in the climate system, including ice sheet-ocean interactions. The aims of my visit to the institution are to introduce my newly developed observational system and to discuss the collected physical oceanographic data with scientists in the physical oceanography group. Within this observational system, we deployed temperature, conductivity, and pressure sensors at depths of 5 and 100 m in a fjord in Greenland. This was done by lowering the cable-attached sensors from the edge of the glacier front. The observation allows us to gain insights on how the glacier melts in the ocean interior during summer.

ArCS activities consist of three categories: promotion of internationally collaborated research, enhancement of platforms for research in the Arctic, and dispatch of young researchers and specialists to Arctic research institutions and conferences. Here, promotion of research refers not only to natural science but also to social science to assess possible impacts of changes in the vulnerable Arctic environment on the world human activities and lives of people living there. 

After 4 straight days of successful samplings, today that was originally planned as a “spare day” for sampling turns out to be a free day. Curious on seeing a sunrise in Salluit at 62 degree north, I got up around 4 am hoping to capture the sunrise. To my disappointment, it was cloudy with drizzle drops accompanied by south-easterly winds, making every drop felt like freezing ice for me, a Solomon Islander. I was busy trying to pull down my jacket’s sleeve when the grasses below me moved.