Arctic Challenge for Sustainability Project

ArCS Blog

ArCS Blog

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.

PAME II-2018 meeting was held in Vladivostok, Russia, on October 1~4 including pre-meeting of expert groups. 55 participants from Arctic Council Member States, Permanent Participants and Observers and invited experts were gathered in the meeting. The meeting aims at updating activities of ongoing projects, preparing activity plan of continued projects, and discussing new project proposals for 2019-2021 PAME Work Plan, which will be adopted under a new chairmanship by Iceland from the next Ministerial Meeting on May 2019.

In spite of global warming, northern midlatitudes, over central Eurasia in particular, have frequently experienced severe winter in recent decades (Fig.1a). Remote influence from the Arctic sea-ice loss (Fig. 1c) on the Eurasian cooling has been suggested, but significance of this counterintuitive climatic impact of the sea-ice loss is still under debate due to discrepancy among modelling and observational studies.

I visited the Max-Planck Institute for Meteorology (MPI-M) in Germany from October 16-November 30, 2018 through the support from ArCS program for overseas visits by young researchers. I belong to the Atmosphere and Ocean System Laboratory at Niigata University and I am studying the variation of the tropopause, which is the boundary between the troposphere and the stratosphere. It has been suggested that the tropopause is an indicator of climate change and captures the global warming trend. On the other hand, it is well known that warming in the Arctic region is progressing considerably faster than the global average. During my visit, I aimed to clarify the actual condition of the tropopause variability in the Arctic region and its relationship to global warming and other internal fluctuations.

I participated in the AGU Fall Meeting 2018 held in Washington D.C. from 10-14 Dec 2018. During this meeting, I gave a poster presentation and participated in the oral sessions. I spent my free time visiting the sponsors’ exhibitions and sightseeing around the Washington D.C. area.