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Toward an Integrated Arctic Observing Network 6 Detailed Implementation Ideas This chapter provides ideas for implementation steps for the Arctic Observing Network (AON) and is organized around the essential functions that the Committee sees as foci of effort on the AON. The ideas presented in this chapter are drawn from many sources, including from participants at the Committee’s workshops in Alaska and Denmark. These ideas are prioritized. Those in bold type provide details that support the Committee’s broad recommendations that appear in the final chapter. The broad recommendations are, in fact, integrated summaries of these detailed points. The items in bold type are considered critical for the AON to reach a level of implementation in the near future that satisfies the basic characteristics of the Committee’s vision of the AON (i.e., the “minimum” level mentioned in the Committee’s task). Other ideas in this chapter reflect potential enhancements of the AON that could occur over a longer time period. The Committee identifies and expands on four essential functions that support all observing activities in the AON, regardless of their mission or purpose. These functions are observing system development (which includes four components: assessing complete coverage, system design and optimization, technology development, and sensor and observer deployment1); data acquisition (which includes maintaining existing observation capabilities and filling critical gaps); data management, integration, access, and dissemination; and network maintenance and sustainability (which includes four components: network and observation sustainability, personnel development, coordination and integration regionally and globally, and communication). The order of these functions follows, as best it can, the arrangement of functions in Figure 6.1. There is no significance attached to the starting point in the list of functions because (as shown in Figure 6.1) the functions are linked in a continuous loop that reflects an ever-improving network. All functions operate in parallel with respect to time. In what follows, the Committee recommends implementation steps to fulfill this vision on an international basis. OBSERVING SYSTEM DEVELOPMENT (Essential Function 1) The essential function of observing system development has four components: assessing complete coverage, system design and optimization, technology development, and sensor and observer deployment. Component 1: Assessing Complete Coverage This component identifies gaps in coverage and recommends activities to eliminate them. There are two kinds of gaps: (1) lack of coverage of specific observations, whether temporal, spatial, or thematic and (2) lack of knowledge on what determines specific subsystem dynamics. The latter is a research question that may inform future data needs within the AON and the former is more directly related to current needs within the AON. Potential collaborators to this component include the Arctic Council working groups (e.g., AMAP—Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme) and Permanent Participants, the IPY (International Polar Year) subcommittees on observations and data management, CEOS (Committee on Earth Observation Satellites), GEOSS (Global Earth Observation System of Systems), IGOS (Integrated Global Observation Strategy), ISAC (International Study of Arctic Change)/SEARCH (Study of Environmental Arctic Change), WMO (World Meteorological Organization), thematic groups (e.g., groups with in-depth knowledge of observation gaps for permafrost, or hydrology, or human 1 Sensor and observer deployment is a necessary action in observing system development and therefore important to mention even though the Committee does not have specific input on the logistics of this action.
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Toward an Integrated Arctic Observing Network FIGURE 6.1 Flow diagram showing how the four essential functions of the AON (large ovals) relate to each other and the broader stakeholders. The direct connection of AON functions to the stakeholders indicates that the AON builds on and enhances existing capabilities. The placement of network enhancement at the center of the diagram and its connectivity to all elements of the network shows how the AON plays a central role in tying together many existing components, strengthening ties among observation platforms, data centers, and users, and generally supporting and enhancing observing activities of all participants. Graphics by N. Hulbirt and B.G. Bays, Jr., University of Hawaii.
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Toward an Integrated Arctic Observing Network dimensions), regional and national initiatives, and attendees of the State of the Arctic conference in 2006. Progress in assessing complete coverage2 could be made by Identifying key measurements that are currently under-represented, at risk, or without coverage. Where appropriate, this activity could use input from such techniques as statistical optimization approaches as well as Observing System Sensitivity Experiments (OSSEs) that would be developed and refined under the “system design and optimization” component (next section). Another facet of this process could involve feedback from assessments and syntheses that use the data from components of AON and can highlight weaknesses. Assessing the technological capacity and spatial and temporal adequateness of existing network components. Prioritizing and optimizing the mix, number, and locations for deployment of sensor and human-observer programs, especially those that will improve information flow, increase the AON’s cost-effectiveness, and enhance the capacity for cross-disciplinary cooperation. Identifying critical sites or systems that are at risk of being lost or are falling into disrepair. Demonstrate that jeopardized observations are key elements of a pan-arctic, long-term observing system. Tracking emerging key science questions and assessing gaps in data to address them. Identifying what predictions of change would be most useful to stakeholder groups associated with fisheries, marine transportation and development, renewable resource use/subsistence harvests and highlight current information gaps to fill. Making better use of contextual information by developing methods to integrate paleoenvironmental data and local and traditional knowledge (LTK) with modern instrumental records. Communicating gaps to the arctic community, research programs, and agencies. Component 2: System Design and Optimization This component improves methods for network design and optimization. There is a positive feedback within the envisaged AON structure between observations and these design and optimization approaches. That is, observations will provide better inputs or constraints for network optimization tools that, in turn, will guide improvements in the observing strategy. Observation location, density, temporal frequency, and timeliness can also be tuned to aid reanalysis and real-time prediction efforts. In all of these efforts, an enhanced AON data management system will improve availability of observations for use in system design and optimization. Finding ways of implementing AON designs will likely require examination of how work is proposed and reviewed. Any changes would need to be addressed by the funding agencies and investigator community. Potential collaborators on this component include institutions such as the Danish Meteorological Institute, Environment Canada, the European Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasts, and U.S. entities such as DOE (Department of Energy), NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration), NCAR (National Center for Atmospheric Research), NGDC (National Geophysical Data Center), NSF (National Science Foundation), NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), NSIDC (National Snow and Ice Data Center), and ONR (Office of Naval Research), among many. Collaborating projects could include ARCMIP (Arctic Regional Climate Model Intercomparison Project), AOMIP (Arctic Ocean Model Intercomparison Project), ASR (Arctic System Reanalysis), CARCMIP (Coupled Arctic Regional Climate Model Intercomparison Project), the Coordinated Enhanced Observing Period II (CEOP II), GLIMPSE (Global Implications of Arctic Climate Processes and Feedbacks), and THORpex (The Observing-system Research and predictability experiment). Broader networks such as GCOS, GOOS, GTOS, and GEOSS could also play a role. Progress on system design and optimization3 could be made by Designing the observing system using rigorous design tools such as OSSEs and statistical approaches. This will require exploring the utility of coupled OSSEs (atmosphere-ice-ocean-land), examining whether there is an observing system requirement to make the OSSEs more effective, and validating OSSEs. Dense observations are needed over a limited (testbed) area. This does not have to be a continuous process. The observations can be obtained in a short-term, intensive field program such as IPY. Designing integrated, multidisciplinary measurements at single sites. For example, ecosystem measurements require physical measurements (and vice versa) for context; coastal regions are best understood through integrated marine, terrestrial, and 2 The items in bold are judged to be necessary to achieve the basic level of the Committee’s vision for the AON. These ideas provide details that support general recommendation 3.1a and 3.4a. 3 These ideas provides details that support recommendations 3.1a and 3.4a.
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Toward an Integrated Arctic Observing Network human dimensions observations; and interpreting proxy indicators of change commonly involves relating physical and biological variables. Testing the importance of unmodeled processes and improving model parameterizations by using intensive observing sites with measurements targeting processes coupling variables, using data from a mix of terrains (tundra, forested, glacial, sea ice, etc.), testing the role of subgrid-scale processes, including tides where applicable, and including internal waves (most models are currently hydrostatic). Relating observable quantities to modeled variables by testing whether observations match needs of models (for example, many satellite measurements such as radiance and normalized differential radiance index are not represented in models), and testing whether models provide output that can be tested against observations. Improving data products through reanalysis. Developing real-time capabilities for error and failure checking on instruments, and quality control of data streams provided by models. Component 3: Technology Development This component improves the sensors, data telemetry, and operational infrastructure in the network. Potential collaborators to this function include European governments and the ESA, the governments of Japan and Australia, and the Canadian and U.S. funding agencies (civilian agencies such as NSF and NASA, and military agencies such as AFOSR [Air Force Office of Scientific Research], ONR [Office of Naval Research], and DARPA [Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency], for example), nongovernmental organizations, and private-sector entities. Progress on technology development4 could be made by Adopting a “systems engineering” approach that examines how things work together (including sensor deployment, operations, and data acquisition—i.e., similar to the satellite design and development process) within a single, integrated AON. Developing and deploying new sensor technologies and observational methodologies based upon overarching network needs (both extant and projected). Such needs would be expressed through workshops or a working group that represents the diverse AON community. Developing expert groups to support improvements in sensors and infrastructure. These groups would provide engineering expertise to the AON on technology trends and usage, and on the systems engineering requirements for integrating technology into deployable systems. These groups would assess current technology, draft a requirements plan that covers extant and projected arctic infrastructure needs (e.g., communications bandwidth, power storage, and generation requirements), and provide a roadmap to achieve these goals. Creating centers of excellence and a technology incubator program to support sensor and infrastructure development. The centers of excellence would provide technological expertise in strategic areas (e.g., communications, power systems, sensors) for the AON. These centers would focus on developing or modifying existing technology for reliable and robust operation in the Arctic. The centers would drive improvements in technology readiness toward an operational level from the present average state that is closer to research level. The technology incubator program would complement the centers by supporting single and small groups of investigators to develop new technology for the AON. The incubator program would attract experts from technical areas where specific expertise is not readily available within the centers of excellence. Partnerships with small businesses could be initiated by employing funding mechanisms like the SBIR (Small Business Innovation Research) or STTR (Small Business Technology Transfer) programs in the United States. Such a technology incubator program would expand the financial resources focused on AON needs, using those resources to engage the talent of small companies. Communicating realistic expectations of what a novel technology can achieve. Convey also its limitations and any cautions such as “this remote technology should not be seen as a replacement of ground-based monitoring.” Ensure that descriptions of new technologies are written for a range of audiences, including a nonspecialist decision maker. Creating infrastructure to encourage development and migration of sensors from the research to operational realm. Investigating new ways of overcoming physical, budgetary, cultural, and other constraints on observing. For example, exploring the potential for a pan-arctic distribution of inexpensive sensors, 4 These ideas provide details that support recommendation 3.2b.
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Toward an Integrated Arctic Observing Network developing culturally appropriate language and technology through new technologies to bridge barriers between disciplines and cultures, and overcoming physical and logistical challenges (e.g., challenges due to long night, ice, freeze-thaw, distance from infrastructure, telecommunications linkages, bears). Developing replacement sensors/platforms for existing systems that are becoming obsolete but also investigating whether old sensors should be continued (for continuity of long-term data streams) versus deploying improved sensors. Learning from other disciplines—e.g., space studies—through workshops or conferences to bring researchers from disciplines together. DATA ACQUISITION (Essential Function 2) This function acquires data using network assets. It includes devising strategies to maximize the value of existing measurement resources, maintain measurement sites or platforms, enhance the use of new systems, and is the function that fills the gaps identified by the “Assessing Complete Coverage” function of the AON. Examples of potential collaborators on this function—groups that are currently positioned to acquire data—are listed in Annex Table 3A.1. Progress on existing systems5 could be made by Maintaining ongoing critical observations. Revitalizing infrastructure that is judged a potential or actual critical gap and has fallen into disrepair or disuse (e.g., meteorological stations, river gauging stations, sea-level stations). Coordinating efforts to develop, deploy, and manage assets in the AON. The AON will not be successful with uncoordinated, single-investigator-type efforts. Encouraging ground-validation and crosscalibration activities to determine the equivalence of observations from different instrumentation, and to ensure the integrity and continuity of datasets. Moving pilot research projects to operational observation status. Creating datasets for key variables to use as a baseline for measuring variability and change. Incorporating LTK and observations, especially in topics of mutual interest and expertise such as ecosystem studies and extreme events. Resampling of historical (abandoned) sites (e.g., Sever sites, Russian boreholes). Rescuing data that are deemed valuable and likely to be lost. Making more efficient use of remote sensing systems by improving data products for existing systems (e.g., TOVS [TIROS Operational Vertical Sounder], AVHRR [Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer] and enhancing multisensor products; and ensuring continuity of expiring satellite sensors (e.g., those on MODIS [Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer], and RADARSAT). Progress on new systems could be made by Investing in new sensor and observer deployment to fill critical gaps. Investing in the incomplete areas of the AON through capacity building in local communities and other new observation programs. Investing in new sensor and observer deployment to obtain optimized coverage in the “ideal” AON (as opposed to the “minimal” AON coverage that would be achieved in item [i]). Investing in new satellite sensor deployment. Launching new field campaigns to validate satellite retrievals. DATA MANAGEMENT, INTEGRATION, ACCESS, AND DISSEMINATION (Essential Function 3) This function ensures that all data within the AON are readily located, are of high quality, and are readily accessible. Potential collaborators on this function can be found in Annex Table 3A.4, which includes examples of data centers. In addition to data centers, there are international efforts for the electronic Geophysical Year (eGY) and IPY that already are generating momentum for this function. Progress on data management could be made by following the recommendations in Chapter 4, most of which need immediate attention. To reduce repetition, those ideas are not included here. NETWORK MAINTENANCE AND SUSTAINABILITY (Essential Function 4) This function has four components: communication, coordination and integration regionally and globally, personnel development, and network and observation sustainability. These components collectively improve the efficiency and long-term continuity of the AON. 5 These ideas provide details that support recommendation 3.2a.
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Toward an Integrated Arctic Observing Network Component 1: Communication This component conveys information, ideas, and needs within and beyond the network. Potential collaborators on this component include the Arctic Council/COMAAR (Consortium for coordination of Observations and Monitoring of the Arctic for Assessments and Research), ARCUS (Arctic Research Consortium of the U.S.), CEON (Circumarctic Environmental Observatories Network), IASC (International Arctic Science Committee), and scientific organizations and academies. Progress in communication could be made by Establishing and/or enhancing communication strategies and mechanisms between existing diverse members of the AON (e.g., networks, centers, community monitoring). Facilitating breakdown of international barriers including language barriers. Developing coordinated outreach by AON components. Communicating what the AON is, how it can be used, and why it is worth using and/or participating in. This includes encouraging international cooperation in and understanding of the AON through events at international meetings (e.g., ASSW [Arctic Science Summit Week], and AGU and EGU (American and European Geophysical Union meetings, respectively). Training people to use the network data products to build up the community of users. Expanding the communication role of groups like ARCUS to help with such items as contacts, links, and meeting announcements. Establishing feedback loops and intermediaries between disciplines, user groups, and scientists, and between science and indigenous knowledge (for quality control, gap identification, etc). Promoting communication through multiple channels (e.g., wiki sites,6 portals, listservs, extranet, paper newsletters, and other “low tech” channels). A range of communications options will help build capacity for local communities to participate in the AON. Communicating to local observers the global implications, value, and interest in their observations. Providing scientists who wish to start working in the Arctic with toolkits demonstrating successful ways to involve local communities. Creating opportunities for exchanges between scientists and local people. Such a forum could help both scientists and locals develop and test hypotheses, develop and troubleshoot new methods, post questions to be answered (e.g., Have you ever seen a caribou do X behavior? What does the ozone hole mean and does it affect me?) This could be achieved through a Web site or other ways to exchange information. There could be a role for partnering with schools (through science teachers). Teachers could help students link to information, questions, researchers on the AON and take this back to the elders or other community members to get local knowledge. This helps young people learn computer skills, science, and traditional knowledge. Component 2: Coordination and Integration Regionally and Globally This component connects related network activities and people with similar measurement needs and interests on both a regional and a global scale. It promotes sharing of common approaches and experiences. Further, it promotes consensus on actions that generate mutual benefit for the AON and its components. It relies heavily on the AON’s communication component. Active and effective coordination keeps the flow of information and personnel development under continued growth but needs regularly fueled buy-in by users, operators, government, funding agencies, and others. Coordination can be achieved in two complementary areas: coordination of measurements and coordination of network-related activities (that may include measurements but also includes other functions of the network such as data management or gap identification). Potential collaborators on this component include funding agencies, the Arctic Council, GEO (Group on Earth Observations) partners, IASC (International Arctic Science Committee)/AOSB (Arctic Ocean Science Board), and United Nations technical agencies. Progress on coordination of observations could be made by Making transparent and widely available what observations are being made in physical, biogeochemical, and human dimensions realms, and the data products arising from them. Coordinating efforts to develop, deploy, and manage assets in the AON. This could include pursuing opportunities for co-locating measurements and/or sharing platforms. Ensuring that individual AON observations are connected into existing global networks (such as GCOS [Global Climate Observing System], GOOS [Global Ocean Observing Network], GTOS [Global Terrestrial Observing System]) as appropriate. 6 A wiki is a server program that allows users to collaborate in forming the content of a Web site.
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Toward an Integrated Arctic Observing Network Using data systems to provide the ultimate means for coordination and integration. For example, common protocols and intercalibration, standards, and conversion tools all contribute to coordinated measurements. Pursuing a coordinated strategy for recording episodic events. Progress on coordination of network-related activities could be made by organizing workshops, working groups, conference sessions, or other events or activities that bring together people with mutual interests and common challenges. For example, such activities might include identifying common gap-filling needs among various programs or focused activities (e.g., AHDR [Arctic Human Development Report], AMAP, Arctic NEON [National Ecological Observatory Network], CAFF [Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna), SEARCH] or learning about novel technologies from other disciplines (e.g., space studies, astronomers) at AGU or IUGG (International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics) annual meetings. Progress on coordination with global networks could be made by Making the AON the arctic component of GEOSS. As such, linking the AON into GEOSS as a separate, stand-alone network, as well as ensuring that individual observations are connected into other existing global networks such as GOOS, GCOS, and GTOS. Using fluxes in and out of the Arctic, and resultant impacts on climate, as a major rationale for coordination with global observing systems. Developing the intersection between routine local activities and global observing network components for mutual benefit. Component 3: Network and Observation Sustainability This component generates ideas and strategies for sustaining the network and the observations that contribute to it. Coordination, communication, and personnel development are related AON components that implement these strategies for sustaining the network. Potential collaborators on this component include science funding agencies, operational agencies, environmental agencies, UN technical agencies, private foundations, and NGOs. Progress on improving buy-in and network usage could be made by Maintaining continuity of datasets. Maintaining quality control and relevance of the network through use of network data in assessments and syntheses and subsequent feedback to the network so that monitoring activities, protocols, and technologies can be adapted as needs evolve, weaknesses are found, and gaps are identified. Developing performance assessment capabilities for network improvement. Maintaining regular contact among network partners. Establishing the AON as a key arctic component of GEOSS. Maintaining and promoting a high level of user-friendliness, usability, reliability, efficiency, innovation, and excellence in all aspects of operation. Ensuring that derived products can easily be generated from the network data output to illustrate strong productivity and value for money spent. Recognizing that some observations are not sustainable unless there are local people who value the measurements. Maintaining the expertise base and identity of partners who may contribute to furthering pan-arctic understanding whereas funding and primary scope is focused on regional or thematic topics. Including new partners over time to expand the expertise base of the network; improve weaknesses in disciplines, space, and time; and improve fundamental baseline datasets. Progress on improving support for the AON could be made by Ensuring involvement of many funding agencies, (e.g., IARPC [Interagency Arctic Research Policy Committee] members in the U.S. and similar entities and other organizations internationally). Ensuring involvement of governmental and nongovernmental organizations. Making the AON the arctic component of GEOSS (see related idea under “Coordination”). Working out international coordination of support for the network. The Arctic Council explicitly recognizes the importance of monitoring in the Arctic (e.g., Reykjavik Declaration) and could help facilitate and coordinate funding as an intergovernmental body, possibly through COMAAR. IASC and FARO (Forum of Arctic Research Operators) may be other important means by which international funding allocation could be facilitated. Each country involved in the AON could support and make their own observations and develop joint funding to build and support infrastructure to maximize integrative potential. Promoting interdisciplinary integration. There is much momentum at the disciplinary level for the development of arctic observing networks, but a
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Toward an Integrated Arctic Observing Network major challenge is to build enthusiasm for interdisciplinary integration. This is needed for large-scale synthesis and integration across the Arctic. Component 4: Personnel Development This component recruits and trains human capital for the network. Potential contributors to this component include IPY for graduate students, the GLOBE (Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment) program for K-12, the NOAA-Roshydromet joint observational program for Russia, government agencies, and universities (including the University of the Arctic). Progress could be made on personnel development by Utilizing LTK and observations, especially in monitoring themes that overlap with local interests and expertise such as ecosystem function and extreme events. Breaking down barriers and finding parallels between science and LTK. Providing scientists who wish to start working in the Arctic with toolkits demonstrating successful ways to involve local communities. Training people to use the AON to build up the community of users. Training the next generation of arctic scientists and local observers (including reversing the trend toward decreasing numbers of trained and active scientists in Russia). Incorporating the younger generation into monitoring programs and encouraging them to persist with monitoring even if the short-term excitement of monitoring is less than that of research. Improving mobility of researchers, and those involved in monitoring, between observation platforms, centers and programs, and data management centers. Recognizing that year-round, in situ observations are highly dependent on local human resources. ix. Recruiting engineers to create robust sensor and observation infrastructure for the Arctic. SUMMARY The detailed implementation ideas presented in this chapter include accompanying examples of many potential contributing organizations. The Committee envisions multiple collaborations on the four essential functions under a common vision for the AON. The political will to do this will also be needed to make the AON a priority and to commit to work together on a long-term, pan-arctic basis.
Representative terms from entire chapter: