Arctic Challenge for Sustainability Project

ArCS Blog

ArCS Blog

I visited Italy and Russia from 14 March to 13 April, 2019 through the support from the ArCS Program for Overseas Visits by Young Researchers. This is the second time that I was able to get support from the program. My first visit in 2017 was to the Sakha Republic, Russia, where I started the polar bear research project with the Yakutian researchers. The main purpose of my second visit was for disseminating the results of our research and meeting with my collaborators for further development of polar bear study in Russia.

From May 18th to June 1st, I visited Alaska through the support from the ArCS Program for Overseas Visits by Young Researchers. The aim of this study is to reveal the process of material cycle associated with sea ice growth and decay and its relationship to marine ecosystem. Sea ice stores abundant nutrients. Sea ice likely supplies nutrients in the ocean during spring or summer melting season, and this has potential impact on the marine ecosystem through biological processes such as phytoplankton bloom. 

Project team of ArCS Research Theme 2 "Variations in the ice sheet, glaciers, ocean and environment in the Greenland region" began a summer field campaign in Qaanaaq, northwestern Greenland, to investigate ice sheets/glaciers ocean interaction. One of our focuses is Qaanaaq Ice Cap located north of Qaanaaq Village. We have been measuring surface mass balance and ice flow velocity since 2012. This continuous effort provides us important information about glaciers in northwestern Greenland, where field data are sparse. We installed weather stations and time lapse cameras on the ice cap for continuous observations of snow/ice melting and surface conditions. Our data show exceptionally rapid snow/ice melting this summer. We carefully observe weather and snow/ice conditions to investigate the effects of warm summer on shrinking Qaanaaq Ice Cap.

A workshop titled “Canada-Japan Future Collaboration Workshop on Arctic Environment based at Canadian High Arctic Research Station (CHARS) Campus” was held on Monday, 1 July 2019 and Tuesday, 2 July 2019, at CHARS, Cambridge Bay, Canada. The goal of the workshop was to deliver and exchange information of on-going and future possible research projects in the Arctic environment surrounding  Cambridge Bay、Nunavut with Canadian counterparts and local stakeholders. The meeting was organized in collaboration with Canadian counterparts at Polar Knowledge Canada (POLAR) to strengthen the bilateral research collaboration between Canada and Japan.

Accurate weather forecasts form an imperative component of field observational campaigns. Accuracy is important, of course, but understanding the uncertainty is just as crucial. Observations on the hand are vital for Numerical Weather Prediction (NWP) models and centers for numerous reasons: improving forecasts through data assimilation, assessing their performance, and advancing model physics through process evaluations. Maximizing the values of observations and NWPs intuitively require communication between both parties. Aiming to initiate discussions in this context, a leading NWP center, European Centre for Medium-range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) hosted a workshop during the 10th and 13th of June, 2019, titled “Observational campaigns for better weather forecasts” in Reading, UK. The workshop oral sessions included: model diagnostics using data, cloud physics, tropical cyclones, stratosphere, mountains, and winds, and polar processes. 4 members from the ArCS project participated with the Theme 1 PI presenting an oral talk from a perspective of a NWP user during the 2018 R/V Mirai field campaign while the others had poser presentations regarding sea ice forecast and air temperature biases and uncertainty of satellite-retrieved sea ice concentration. More broadly, discussions during the workshop included how to strengthen the link between observational campaigns and NWP centers, uncertainty estimation of the observation and models, and how to improve numerical models with past observational campaigns.

I stayed at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) from 13th February to 14th April with support from the ArCS’ program for young researchers’ overseas visits.

During my stay, I got sediment samples taken by Healy, an icebreaker ship of United States, and investigated diatom resting stage cells in sediments of the northern Bering Sea, Chukchi and Beaufort Seas. Diatom resting stage cells are like “seeds” which have high durability. They are formed under nutrient- and light-limited conditions.

Second round-table conference on Arctic between government officials and researchers was held on Monday, 10th June 2019.

There were about 30 participants consisting of about 20 researchers, mainly from ArCS participants, and 10 government officials from the Cabinet Office, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, MEXT and other ministries.