Arctic Challenge for Sustainability Project

ArCS Blog

ArCS Blog

A three-day meeting titled “Japan - U.S. Arctic Science Collaboration-Reflections on the Past Two Decades and Future Opportunities-” was held from Monday, 4 March 2019 to Wednesday, 6 March 2019, at International Arctic Research Center (IARC) of the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF), USA. During the meeting, ArCS led a one-day workshop titled “ArCS Workshop for Promoting Arctic Collaboration between IARC/UAF and Japan” on Tuesday, 5 March 2019 to promote joint research and observations by researchers of IARC/UAF and Japan. There were around 50 participants at the workshop.

CBird is the Arctic Council’s Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna’s. (CAFF) expert working group on Arctic seabirds. The international group includes delegates from all 8 Arctic states as well as 4 observer countries of which Japan is one. This March the group held their annual meeting in Akureyri, Iceland at the CAFF secretariat where they discussed ongoing and upcoming projects.

On Saturday, 23 2019, a public event “ARCTIC LIFE ~ with an Arctic hunter and glaciologist” was held at National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation in Tokyo. For this event, we invited Toku Oshima, a hunter living in Qaanaaq, a small village in northwestern Greenland. She supports our field research activities in Greenland carried out under the ArCS Project. She talked about Arctic  natural environment, traditional culture, life and importance of scientific research in Greenland. The purpose of this event was to share with the general public our knowledge and experience about the current Arctic environment, the culture and life of people living there, and the importance of the Arctic region.

On Friday, February 15, 2019, "Greenlandic and Ainu hunting cultures: From a perspective of environmental conservation and cultural succession" was held at the Hokkaido University Museum. In this event, Toku Oshima, a full-time hunter and our research collaborator from Qaanaaq, Greenland, and young Ainu culture bearers gave talks. The event also provided an opportunity to exchange views on hunting, fishing and efforts for cultural revitalization in a round-table talk.

In this time, the United States became the chairman, and it was the fourth meeting. Since the chairman changes every two years, this time was the last board meeting under the United States chairmanship. The meeting took place at the Alaska Native Heritage Center; it took about 20 minutes by bus from downtown Anchorage, Alaska.

On 17 February in 2019, a special lecture was given by Toku Oshima at Mombetsu Citizens’ Hall as a part of The 34th Okhotsk Sea & Polar Oceans 2019 Symposium events. T. Oshima is a full-time hunter in Qaanaaq, northwestern Greenland. She supports our glacier and ocean research activities in Qaanaaq during summer. She drives her boat for our ocean measurements in ice-covered fjords, as well as she plays a central role in a workshop with local residents. In her special lecture in Mombetsu, she introduced traditional hunting and crafts cultures in Greenland, and presented her activities to maintain the traditions. She stressed that traditional Greenlandic culture will be forgotten unless young people are educated and encouraged. Thus, she volunteers for teaching the traditional Greenlandic culture to the next generation. ‘’Today, parents do not have enough time to teach how to make traditional clothes to their child. This is the reason why I am teaching’’ she said. Her strong message impressed more than 150 people in the hall.

I stayed at Aberystwyth University in UK for three weeks from late November to December 2018. The purpose of my stay was to conduct a collaborative study on surface darkening of the Greenland ice sheet with a glaciological research group of the university.

In recent years, the Greenland ice sheet has melted rapidly. This rapid melting is caused by not only climatic warming but also by darkening of the ice surface. The darkening of the ice surface is caused by contamination of impurities, ice and snow grain metamorphism, and presence of meltwater. To predict the future change of the Greenland ice sheet, it is essential to understand how these factors affect the surface albedo and to quantify the spatial and temporal variations of the ice surface reflectance.