The Second PACES Science Workshop

When: 27-29 June 2017 | Where: Victoria (Canada) | Contacts: Julia Schmale, Sandy Starkweather

At the 2nd PACES Open Science Workshop, leading investigators in the Earth-Arctic system gathered to discuss the latest issues regarding sources, processing, and impacts of trace gas and aerosol pollution in the Arctic. The workshop was focused on improving predictive capabilities of Arctic air pollution processes and the interaction between Arctic air pollution and Arctic societies through discussions and presentations. PACES aims to review existing knowledge and foster new research on the sources and fate of Arctic air pollution, its impacts on climate, health, and ecosystems, on the feedbacks between pollution and natural sources, on climate responses, and on societal perspectives, including sustainability, adaptation and economic feedbacks.

Key recommendations for improved understanding of pollution processes and impacts emerged from discussions at the workshop, including motivation for new modelling and field observations.. These include efforts to develop international collaborative experiments aimed at improving knowledge of processes controlling export of pollution from mid-latitudes to the Arctic, as well as experiments targeted at sampling sources and processing of pollution in an Arctic urban environment.

For more information please see the PACES website

Scientific Highlights

• Long-range transport of pollution to the Arctic is intimately linked to Arctic climate change and changes in large-scale circulation patterns but such linkages require improved quantification.

• Natural sources of trace constituents in the Arctic such as dust aerosols or biogenic hydrocarbons, and their potential evolution as a result of climate change, are poorly constrained.

• Large uncertainties surround the formation and processing of local air pollution under very cold, dry, stable conditions in the Arctic.

• Model treatments of wet deposition and chemical/aerosol processing are still significant and are motivating the planning of a new field experiment (IMPAACT) designed to sample air masses in a quasi-Lagrangian fashion during transport of pollution from Asia to the Arctic.

Towards an Interdisciplinary Research Agenda for Arctic Air Pollution (PACES)

When: 2 April 2017 | Where: Prague (Czech Republic) | Contacts: Julia Schmale, Sandy Starkweather

The Arctic is increasingly considered an Anthropocene climate frontier, as the consequences of global warming look set to first and foremost impact the circumpolar hemisphere. The region is expected to become increasingly important as climatic changes look set to spark industrial-scale resource extraction and increased transport and commodity shipping, in turn, spelling severe impacts for the regions ecological and cultural landscapes due to industrialisation and consequent increases in pollution emissions from local sources related to mining and shipping. In studying the developments that are happening right now, research exchange and collaboration is timely not only between academic disciplines, but also increasingly, with relevant local partners and society at large.

This workshop provided a forum for focused discussions on how to combine research methodologies from humanities, social and natural sciences to understand current and future air pollution in the Arctic with the aim of proposing mitigation options. The conversations built on ideas from two previous PACES meetings held in 2015 and the “Air pollution and Arctic Societies” workshop in Fairbanks during ASSW 2016. Participants designed a multi-scale framework in which research methodologies of drivers, impacts and related decision making of air pollution were identified at the local, regional and global level.

For more information please see the PACES website

Scientific Highlights

• The workshop engaged researchers from humanities, social and natural sciences into discussing Arctic air pollution from a multi-disciplinary perspective.

• Participants from three IASC working groups submitted a successful cross-cutting proposal to follow up with concrete on the ground research plans.

• A multi-scale framework of air pollution drivers, impacts and related decision making was created.

MOSAiC (2-day workshop during ASSW 2017)

When: 4-5 April 2017 | Where: Prague (Czech Republic)

The MOSAiC project is an international Arctic research initiative that aims to improve understanding of the climate system in the Arctic through a comprehensive, interdisciplinary, and sustained process. Primary goals of the initiative include enhanced process-level understanding of the coupled central Arctic climate system to improve numerical models for sea-ice forecasting, extended-range weather forecasting, climate projections, and climate change assessment. The fundamental design of MOSAiC is the year-round operation of an observatory onboard the RV Polarstern, drifting with the sea ice across the central Arctic. The MOSAiC workshop in April was the first strategic session concerning the expedition´s implementation.

As an IASC devised project, the MOSAiC workshop brought together 90 participants to explore the multidisciplinary research of the project through talks and breakout sessions. Strategically, the four breakout sessions focused on small scale processes, regional scale processes, green sea ice, and operational aspects of MOSAiC. The workshop highlighted the major scientific and logistic undertaking of MOSAiC and brought about productive discussions on the next steps for MOSAiC, including as the establishment of additional MOSAiC teams, capacity building, acquiring funding, how to involve stakeholders, and the next MOSAiC meetings.

For more information please see the following page.


Abisko Polar Prediction School 2016

When: 5-15 April 2016 | Where: Abisko (Sweden) | Contact: Jonathan Day

The polar regions are experiencing a rapid change that opens new opportunities for the business sector and at the same time increases the risks of environmental disasters and impacts the life conditions of local communities including indigenous peoples. Prediction of weather and climate will be the cornerstone of efficient environmental services systems that are urgently needed in the polar regions. Such regional prediction systems will be imbedded in the corresponding global systems. However, the complexity of the polar climate system is high and the observing systems there are difficult to set up and maintain. The challenge of developing an effective seamless polar-prediction across timescales from days to decades should therefore involve training and development of a new generation of polar prediction researchers.

This WWRP/WCRP/Bolin Centre School on Polar Prediction will provide training for 30 post graduate and early career post-doctoral polar scientists, focusing on topics such as: polar mesoscale atmospheric processes; sea ice prediction, near term ensemble prediction, and seasonal-to-decadal climate variability and prediction in the polar regions. The program will combine lectures on key areas relevant for polar prediction and a number of field observation and modelling exercises to foster an interactive learning environment.

The school is sponsored by PPP (WMO-WWRP), PCPI (WMO-WCRP), the Bolin Centre, IASC, and APECS.

Arctic Air Pollution Workshop

When: 14 March 2016 | Where: ASSW, Fairbanks, Alaska | Contact: Kathy Law

At ASSW 2016 in Fairbanks, Alaska, the IASC and IGAC co-sponsored initiative “Air Pollution in the Arctic: Climate, Environment and Societies” brought together researchers active in the physical/chemical science of air pollution with those active in relevant social science topics (development, sustainability, risk, adaptation, policy, health and more) in order to explore common interests and begin to outline research objectives under PACES.
Presentations covering various perspectives and research methodologies from all represented sciences revealed that air pollution is a concern high on the priority lists of local communities. While the climate science community has been traditionally more concerned with long-term transport and background levels of pollutants, the intersection of these scales and perspectives has great potential.  For example, initial ideas on how to use community-based air pollution monitoring approaches together with systems analyses to improve the characterization of in-Arctic emission sources were discussed. At the same time it became evident that the evolution of local air pollution is intrinsically linked to socio-economic development, infrastructure investments, and has an effect on human well-being. To comprehensively understand the linkages and future development in a changing Arctic, social sciences approaches are needed to facilitate knowledge production together with the local communities. A follow-up workshop is planned for more in-depth discussions. The objective is to define cross-cutting research questions as well as priority study areas.

Workshop Report

Scientific Highlights

• A comprehensive model for the air pollution monitoring in the Russian Arctic region was presented, that included both natural science and social dimensions.

• Discussed the close linkage of air pollution to human well-being, identifying the need for an interdisciplinary approach combining social and natural sciences to further explore the nexus between emissions, ecosystems and human well-being.


MOSAiC – Building a Process-level Understanding of the New Arctic

When: 2014/2015 | Where: Various locations

For more information please see the following page.


Travel Support for the 2nd International Conference on "Polar Climate and Environmental Change in the Last Millennium"

When: 24-26 August 2015 I Where: Torun (Poland)

With the success of the 1st International Conference ‘Polar climate and environmental change in the last millennium’ was organized in Torun, Poland, from Feb 1-3, 2010, it was decided that this kind of conference should take place periodically, every 5 years. Thus, from Aug 24-26, 2015 the 2nd international ‘Polar climate’ conference was held in Torun, Poland.

Like the previous Conference, the main objective of the 2nd Conference was to summarize the state of the art of climate and environmental changes in the Polar Regions. Key-note speakers included 8 well-known specialists in fields of sea ice, glaciology, permafrost, climatology and  paleoclimatology, terrestrial and ocean ecosystems, climate modelling, and crowdsourcing methods (e.g. to present state of Old Weather project). All in all, the conference served to present scientific achievements and to identify gaps in the field of historical climatology of the Polar Regions based on early meteorological observations, history, dendroclimatology, paleolimnology, geophysics, geomorphology and other sources.

Rajmund Przybylak

Tomasz Strzyżewski


Scientific Highlights

• “Modeling of Arctic climate” gave a picture about modern methods of investigation climate change.

• “Glaciers and ice-sea history” examined a vast area of marine ice topics. There was exposed mobility of these vulnerable nature formations.

• “Dynamics of permafrost” discussed mountain permafrost in Canada and permafrost in general.

• Findings on the changing contribution of snow in the hydrological regime of Hudson Bay were presented.

Lunar Photometry Workshop

When: 30 June - 2 July 2015 | Where: Valladolid (Spain)

Nighttime measurements of aerosol optical depth (AOD) are needed to fill gaps in climatology and to improve understanding of processes that impact the Arctic surface radiation budget through direct and indirect aerosol effects. Currently, with the availability of high-precision exo-atmospheric lunar irradiance (EAI), lunar photometry is an emerging technology that can fill in gaps regarding Arctic AOD climatology. A lunar photometer network is being established. A program has been established in Barrow, Alaska (US) and more recently in Ny-Ålesund, Svalbard (Norway), with others planned for winter 2014/15 in Eureka, Nunavut (Canada) and at the Alomar Observatory (Norway).
The Lunar Photometry workshop was hosted by the GOA group of Valladolid University, Spain and brought together members of the lunar photometric community to further establish the network, develop calibration and data processing protocols and optimize the use of limited resources. The workshop deepened the scientific relevance of aerosol measurements in the Arctic throughout the annual cycle, identifying gaps in knowledge and observations in the Arctic, and needed improvements to lunar photometer prototypes and the analysis of data collected using these systems. 

Workshop Report

Scientific Highlights

• Identified the importance of having a unique reference model for lunar irradiance, so to maintain coherence within analysis procedures, namely the USGS ROLO spectral output specific to instrument filter functions.

• Discussed the possibility to have at disposal for all potential users a web-procedure to retrieve extra-terrestrial lunar irradiances thanks to an agreement and joint efforts of USGS and AERONET

• Discussed the need to work together to identify standard procedures and reach the operational level necessary to realize a network for polar regions and  connect it to measurements at lower latitudes.

• Discussed the need to assess the absolute uncertainty of computed ROLO model outputs, or the more properly called error - the difference between ROLO-generated data and the true exo-atmospheric irradiance (EAI) of the Moon. With no supplemental reference for the EAI, the only option is a Type-B uncertainty analysis, i.e. an approach that relies on external information rather than statistical interpretation of measurements (i.e. a Type-A analysis, which has been done with ROLO and has led to the quoted ~1% relative precision).

Arctic Climate Change and Mid-Latitude Weather Phenomena

When: 16-17 April 2015 | Where: Vienna (Austria)

In recent years, the issue of possible linkages between mid-latitude winter weather and Arctic sea ice reduction has gained prominence. Following a very successful workshop on this issue, and to continue the focused scientific debate, the AWG organizes and sponsors a session on this issue at the 2015 European Geosciences Union General Assembly. The session will be split into a poster and discussion session (April 16th) and an oral session (April 17th). The session welcomes contributions on Northern Hemispheric extreme weather events, Atmospheric circulation and Arctic climate change. Especially welcome are contributions that address the question of linkages between these.

Halldór Björnsson

Scientific Highlights

• Evidence of climate models showing a strong consensus on stationary wave response in global warming scenario stimulations was presented, which has implications for dry/wet hydroclimate change across North America and Europe, such as wetting on the west coast of the USA, drying in the southwest USA, drying in the eastern Mediterranean and also on Arctic amplification. However, the forcing driving this stationary wave response was not Arctic change per se.

• Evidence was presented for a multi-link chain linking North Atlantic Oscillation to Pacific variability through sea ice and El Nino Southern Oscillation variability. While connections between processes involving such a multi-link chain may appear tenuous, this talk served as a reminder that the system under study is complex with many inter-connected processes.

• A study was presented on the question of a hiatus in global temperatures and especially whether the data sparsity in the Arctic is responsible for some of the regional warming being missed in global summaries of temperature. It related the hiatus to data gaps in the Arctic. Interestingly enough, this was countered with the claim that the hiatus was due to a lack of warming at low latitudes (and especially processes in the Equatorial Pacific). The fact that such an important topic was debated in this way reinforced the importance of maintaining good observation systems, especially in the Arctic.


Workshop on Dynamics of Atmosphere-Ice-Ocean Interactions in High Latitudes

When: 23-27 March 2015 | Where: Rosendal (Norway)

Building on results from The Observing System Research and Predictability Experiment (THORPEX), which is a World Weather Research Program (WWRP), and in an effort to contribute to the WWRP Polar Prediction Project, a workshop on the Dynamics of Atmosphere – Ice – Ocean Interactions in High Latitudes will be held in March 2015. The main objective of the workshop, which is organized by the University of Bergen, is to bring together international scientists to explore the connections between their areas of expertise, encompassing operational forecasting, observational and theoretical research, climate dynamics, predictability and the impact of severe weather events in the Polar Regions. A specific focus of the workshop will be on the processes occurring in the coupled atmosphere-ocean-ice system and state of the art modeling and understanding.

John Cassano


Scientific Highlights

• Discussed the definition of an extreme event and the difference between extreme and high-impact weather, considering not only strong wind events, but also sudden warming events, fog, avalanches, as well as extreme events in the ocean, such as abrupt changes in the ocean convection or in the biological components of the Arctic environment.

• Discussed how observational systems should be designed, considering what kind of device, and what spatial and temporal resolution is needed in order to deal with large  fluxes in ocean-atmosphere during the fall season, summer cyclones and melt onset in spring.

• Illustrated that advanced diagnostics in operational numerical weather or mediumrange prediction systems can be implemented. This would be made possible by improving understanding of the genesis of polar lows using the adjoint model.     

• Discussed the shortcomings and advantages in observation and modelling, considering topics such as Arctic Amplification (AA), latent heat transport, CMIP5 and CMIP3 time series, and NWP models.


Arctic Air Pollution Workshop

When: 3-5 February 2015 | Where: Boulder, Colorado

Arctic warming is leading to new local sources of Arctic pollution with poorly quantified local emissions. The Arctic Air Pollutions workshop,reviewed the many results on this topic, building on past and ongoing activities to study the combined impacts of local and remote Arctic air pollutions and to improve chemical-aerosol models and impacts. The workshop was co-sponsored by the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme (IGBP) core project on International Global Atmospheric Chemistry (IGAC).

Kathy Law

Workshop Summary

Scientific Highlights

• Improved understanding of the relative roles of local versus remote sources of Arctic air pollution emissions and their response to past and future Arctic and global change, relative to natural emissions;

• Improved understanding of long-range transport, pollutant processing, scavenging, wet/dry deposition processes and improved representation in models;

• Improved understanding of current and projected impacts of emerging local Arctic pollution sources;

• Improved connectivity with Arctic communities and engagement in citizen science initiatives to increase sampling network, improve knowledge exchange and increase the relevancy of new knowledge. Similar discussions were had about improved connectivity with industry and the regulatory community.

• Extensive and sustained vertical sampling well-coordinated with surface-based sites, and targeted at improved process understanding, especially in poorly sampled locations or time periods (e.g. polar night).