The Arctic and the 4 million people who work and live there are feeling the effect of climate change much sharper than anywhere else in the world. The Arctic environment is changing due to increased temperature. The thinning of the sea ice, melting of the Greenland Ice Sheet, and thawing permafrost bring about alarming changes. Such changes have both global and local implications, including e.g. natural hazards, extreme weather, sea level change, coastal erosion and changes in the ecosystem. Furthermore, exploitation of the Arctic resources, marine transportation and other human activities are expected to increase, putting additional pressure on this vulnerable environment.
However, we do not have enough marine data and knowledge about the state of the Arctic and ways to address those changes in a sustainable way. This is why the European Commission funded a project to build an Arctic Observation System – INTAROS. The project started last December and held its kick-off meeting in Bergen earlier this month.
The INTAROS project is coordinated by the Nansen Environmental and Remote Sensing Center (NERSC) in Bergen, Norway, with professor Stein Sandven (chair of the EuroGOOS Arctic ROOS and a long-standing EuroGOOS member) leading the work. INTAROS is one of four EU projects focusing on the Arctic and will contribute to the implementation of EU Arctic Strategy. INTAROS brings together expertise from 49 partner organisations in 20 different countries in Europe, North America and Asia with the long-term goal to implement an integrated sustainable Arctic Observation System for future generations. EuroGOOS is partner in the project, responsible for delivering recommendations on the system requirements, developing a business case and an economic benefits analysis, and contributing to the international OceanObs conference 2019.
INTAROS will develop an integrated Arctic Observation System by extending, improving and unifying existing and evolving efforts in the different parts of the Arctic. The project will capitalise on the existing systems and databases of atmosphere, ocean, cryosphere and terrestrial data. INTAROS will combine existing distributed data repositories with the new ocean measurements and provide tools for data discovery, aggregation, analysis and visualisation. A seemless information platform will be developed for an easy access to this information, critical for understanding of the environmental changes in the Arctic. INTAROS will also install new instrumentation to measure physical, chemical, biological and ecological parameters for the atmosphere, ocean, cryosphere, and terrestrial environment. These measurements will fill information gaps, compliment remotely sensed data, and improve model predictions for the Arctic. International cooperation within and beyond Europe will be essential for the outcome of the project. A pan-Arctic forum will be set up to support formulation of agreements and collaboration across the EU member states, non-EU countries and transnational organisations.