Arctic Change 2014

8-12 December - Ottawa Convention Centre - Ottawa, Canada

Topical Sessions

Download the Topical Session Program

The Arctic Change 2014 scientific program offers 50 multidisciplinary topical sessions covering a wide range of Arctic research topics.

List of Topical Sessions

(Please click on the session title to access the session summary and list of Co-chairs)

T02. Arctic Canada Geosciences from Land to Sea: Climate, Tectonics and Sedimentation

Patrick Lajeunesse (Université Laval, Canada)
Thomas Lakeman (Dalhousie University, Canada)

This interdisciplinary session aims at bringing together Arctic geoscientists who characterize the geology and geomorphology of Arctic Canada in order to understand its evolution in relation to climate, tectonics and surface processes on different space and time scales. We are seeking papers documenting how Arctic basin dynamics relate to on land processes and boundary conditions. In this respect we welcome contributions from marine, lacustrine and terrestrial environments in the Canadian Arctic and adjacent regions on geodynamics, tectonics, erosion and sedimentation, glacial geology and geomorphology, paleoclimatology, paleoceanography, hydrogeology, natural hazards, natural resources, sediment fluxes, sea level change, permafrost or coastal dynamics.

T03. Arctic Ecosystems as Sources and Sinks of Greenhouse Gases: Analysis at Multiple Scales

Neal Scott (Department of Geography, Queen’s University, Canada)
Howard Epstein (Department of Environmental Sciences University of Virginia, Unites States)
Paul Treitz (Department of Geography, Queen’s University, Canada)

Arctic ecosystems play a significant role in the global carbon cycle, and changes in climate regimes could influence net exchange of other greenhouse gases. Changes in the climate system are becoming apparent in some parts of the Arctic, and are predicted to continue into the future. Controls over net greenhouse gas exchange occur at various scales, including impacts of soil moisture on soil microbes, changes in vegetation distribution, permafrost thawing, and landscape disturbance. To predict how these changes may influence climate in the future, it is important to understand key processes that regulate greenhouse gas exchange, and the ability to quantify relevant ecosystem properties over various spatial scales. This session will bring together scientists working to understand both critical processes controlling net greenhouse gas exchange in Arctic ecosystems at fine scales, but also those developing better techniques to quantify ecosystem properties such as soil moisture regimes and vegetation distribution that influence net greenhouse gas exchange. Bringing these two groups together should help identify the key biophysical variables needed to predict future changes in net greenhouse gas exchange, but also highlight the potential for tools such as remote sensing to provide these biophysical variables, and associated uncertainty, over various spatial scales. Results from this session will not only contribute to improved understanding of the current greenhouse gas balance of Arctic systems, but also improve predictions under future climate.

T04. Education in Inuit Nunangat in a time of change

Lars Kullerud (University of the Arctic, Norway)
Mary Simon (National Committee on Inuit Education, Canada)
Thierry Rodon (Université Laval, Canada)

The National Committee on Inuit Education (NCIE) final report (2012) was a rare achievement in Canadian politics and public policy: it was an Inuit initiative that led to consensus among federal, territorial, provincial and Inuit jurisdictions on a crucial matter of shared responsibility. Since the publication of the report, the Amaujaq Centre for Inuit Education has been formed, Nunavut Minister of Education Paul Quassa has secured partial private sector funding for a university in Nunavut. Acknowledging these achievements, this session will focus on the future. As the NCIE pointed out, a strong, resilient, effectively bicultural education system, suited to the Inuit societies it will serve, is essential for sustainable development in Inuit Nunangat. What steps must now be taken by Inuit organizations and governments, and by other Canadian governments, to bring this about?

The first part of the session, will be open for the presentation of papers on Arctic education. The second part will be led by the Amajauq center for inuit education to engage a dialogue on future directions in inuit education research. Finally the session will close with a panel including Inuit leaders in the field of education and Arctic education researchers.

T05. Arctic Ocean Acidification

Richard Bellerby (Norwegian Institute for Water Research, Norway)
Jeremy Mathis (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration -NOAA, United States)
Jan René Larsen (Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme - AMAP, Norway)

The proposed session is dedicated to “Monitoring, Modeling and Predicting Circumpolar and Regional Arctic Systems”.

In concert with the rising atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2), the ocean inorganic carbon inventory is increasing due to a net air-sea flux of CO2 at the surface. Atmospheric CO2 levels are the highest for at least 800 000 years and, generally, global ocean surface CO2 increases are following the atmospheric change. Consequently, the pH of the ocean is going down and the relative speciation of inorganic carbon is changing at a rate likely to have been unsurpassed over the past 55 million years. This process has been termed ocean acidification; following the increase in the concentration of hydrogen ions in seawater. The Arctic is inherently susceptible to ocean acidification as it has a low buffer capacity and as such will exhibit greater changes in ocean acidification per unit CO2 increase. As in most of the world oceans, the major driver of ocean acidification in the Arctic Ocean is directly attributable to the increasing atmospheric carbon load following the combustion of fossil fuels and land use changes. However, rapid ocean warming and ice melt are accelerating ocean acidification over most of the Arctic.

The Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme (AMAP) published its report on Arctic Ocean Acidification in 2013, and is planning a follow up to this work to be conducted in the period 2014-2016. The work will address these questions:

  • What are the chemical changes in the Arctic marine environment
  • What are the biological responses and feedbacks
  • What are the economic and social consequences due to effects on marine harvesting today and tomorrow

The session will discuss these questions and will provide a status on the AMAP work.

T06. Arctic Sea Ice: Changes, Processes and Impacts

David Barber (University of Manitoba, Canada)
Soren Rysgaard (University of Manitoba, Canada - Aarhus University, Denmark)

This session seeks papers which examine the nature of change to sea ice in terms of atmospheric and oceanic forcing of this change through a full range of time and space scales. These studies can include in situ, mooring based, remote sensing observations and or modelling studies of the processes affecting sea ice change. We also seek papers examining the broad consequences of this change on the physical, biological and biogeochemical processes operating across the ocean-sea ice-atmosphere (OSA) interface. The impacts of the observed changes in sea ice on physical, biological and human dimensions of the Arctic are also encouraged.

T07. Arctic Security, Arctic Uncertainty, Arctic Complexity: Learning from the Past, Anticipating the Future

Rob Huebert (University of Calgary, Canada)
Whitney Lackenbauer (St. Jerome's University, Canada)

The pace of change in the Arctic continues to advance at an ever increasing tempo. Nowhere is this more evident that in the developing international security environment. In the last ten years, the Arctic region has transformed from a region of limited military actions and minimal international security interest to one in which many members of the international community are devoting continually growing interest in regards to security issues. Events in the Ukraine have demonstrated how the Arctic is now firmly interconnected with the entire international system security system. Given this increasingly complex and uncertain environment, what are the lessons that can be drawn from the past to guide us into the future? In order to better understand these changes, this panel will take advantage of the research conducted by the members of this panel on Canada’s efforts over the last 10 year to interact and shape the evolving Arctic international security environment. The focus of each presentation will be on the lessons learned from the last 10 years on a spectrum of different issues areas. Adam Lajeunese will examine the lessons learned by the last ten years of exercises and operations by the Canadian forces. How have these evolved over time? How effective have they been in achieving their objectives. Whitney Lacknebauer will evaluate the last decade of the Canadian Government efforts to protect and reinforce Canadian Arctic Sovereignty. This is one of Canadian core policies for the region. What has Canada archived? What could it have done differently? Suzanne Lalonde will provide an assessment on Canadian efforts to utilize international law to both protect Canadian interests as well as promote international cooperation. How well has Canada’s claim to control all shipping in the Northwest Passage been? What role has Canada played in further developing and strengthening international law and agreements in the region? Finally Rob Huebert will assess the overall impact that Canada’s efforts in the last 10 years have had on the international security regime. By looking at all of these lessons, this panel will then be able to make recommendation on Canada can best put its efforts to future to best protect Canadians and their interests in the region in an increasingly complex international security system.

T08. Arctic Straits: Law, Policy and Environmental Protection in the Northwest Passage, Northern Sea Route, and Bering Strait

Michael Byers (University of British Columbia, Canada)
Suzanne Lalonde (Université de Montréal, Canada)

This session would focus on one of the key questions identified for the 2014 Arctic Change Conference: the legal and policy issues raised by the opening of the Northwest Passage (NWP) and Northern Sea Route (NSR) and the consequent increase in traffic through the Bering Strait. The session would not focus on the technical legal debate over the status of the NWP and the NSR. In line with the Conference objectives, the co-chairs instead seek to stimulate discussion about – and thus help identify potential collaborative mechanisms between – the United States, Canada and Russia, so as to ensure that robust and efficient regimes are in place to govern navigation in the three key Arctic straits. Speakers will be asked to address challenges such as: (1) reconciling national regulations with the soon-to-be adopted Polar Code; (2) involving local populations in decision-making; (3) providing critical information, infrastructure and aid to mariners; (4) building and mobilising the capabilities necessary to enforce regulations and respond to accidents, including oil spills. It is the co-convenors’ intention to involve high profile experts from each of the three countries – the United States, Canada and Russia – as well as an Inuit representative, in order to provide an informed and balanced assessment of the challenges and solutions. Presenters: Suzanne Lalonde, Professor of Law, University of Montreal Suzanne Paquin, President & CEO, Nunavut Eastern Arctic Shipping Bruce Uviluq, Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated & Law Student, University of Ottawa Robert J. Papp, Jr., Admiral & Commandant, U.S. Coast Guard (or Scott Borgerson, CEO, CargoMetrics, former Lieutenant Commander in the U.S. Coast Guard; or Laurence C. Smith, Professor of Earth, Planetary, and Space Sciences, UCLA) Anton Vasiliev, Arctic Ambassador, Russian Federation (or Vladimir Golitsyn, Judge, International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea) Michael Byers, Professor of Global Politics and International Law, University of British Columbia.

T09. Arctic Wildlife Co-Management Challenges and Solutions – Bringing Together Inuit and Scientific Knowledge

John Cheechoo (Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, Canada)
Lisa Loseto (Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Canada)
Gregor Gilbert (Makivik Corporation, Canada)

The participation of Inuit hunters is an essential component of arctic marine and terrestrial wildlife co-management systems. Promising approaches to integrate both scientific and Inuit harvester knowledge are being developed. Inuit land claims co-management systems are designed to conserve Arctic species while supporting Inuit livelihoods dependent on the sustainable use of arctic wildlife such as polar bears, seals, and whales. Co-management systems are dynamic crossroads where perspectives, approaches, needs, and differing types of knowledge meet, and where emerging issues, challenges, and solutions are discussed and considered for decisions moving forward. This session will highlight efforts to ensure the full and meaningful participation of Inuit hunters in arctic wildlife co-management and to demonstrate how this participation is crucial to conservation efforts and the important practice of sustainable use for Arctic communities. This is a critical balance that is not always easy to achieve. This session will provide insights into the complex co-management structures and activities guiding the research and management of wildlife in Canada. The session will also illustrate the documentation and use of traditional knowledge in decision making and the partnerships key to the evolving collaborative approach between Inuit and scientists, including the development of alternative and non-invasive sampling methods. Individual presentations will share the common aim of describing the role of shared planning for the development of successful models for collaborative research and conservation efforts in the Arctic that recognize and implement Inuit cultural, socio-economic and livelihood rights.

T10. Arctic Youth: the Future to a Sustainable Arctic Environment

Graham May (Arctic Youth Coalition)
Justina LeeStolz (Youth Arctic Coalition)
Jenna Gall (Youth Arctic Coalition)

For many generations the Arctic has been home for many Indigenous Peoples. Productive, vital cultures have been carved out of the frozen landscapes and for quite some time Indigenous Arctic residents have been noticing adverse changes in their natural world due to the affects of climate change. There is no doubt that these changes will affect their thriving cultures. Various leaders from Indigenous Arctic communities continue to make their voices heard on the subject and it is the Arctic youth that are doing what their ancestors before them have learned best – to watch, listen and learn from their leaders. Arctic Youth are the future of the Arctic. They will inherit their communities, thus they will play pivotal roles in the future sustainability of their cultures, in addition to, being key players in their essential global roles in addressing climate change. Because Arctic Youth have to be bilingual: proficient in the scientific language as well as proficient in the particular culture of their own communities, they will play important parts in shaping their future communities. Understanding their perceptions of that future and its relation to the short- and long-term effects of climate change is key. Arctic Youth need to be brought into the climate change discussion. In this session we invite presenters to share their experiences in creating programs that provide Arctic Youth platforms that bring them to the climate change discussion table.

T11. Beaufort Regional Environmental Assessment

Geneviève Carr (Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada, Canada)
Frank Pokiak (Inuvialuit Game Council, Canada)
Paul Barnes (Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, Canada)

The Beaufort Regional Environmental Assessment (BREA) is a multi-stakeholder initiative that is generating new information important to the future management of oil and gas activity in the Beaufort Sea. The four year program has sponsored the activities of 23 research projects and six working groups (Climate Change, Cumulative Effects, Information Management, Oil Spill Preparedness and Response, Socio-Economic Indicators and Waste Management). Currently in its final year, the initiative is advancing our understanding of the region, and contributing to preparedness for offshore oil and gas activities in the Beaufort Sea. Information collected is being used in the development and review of project-specific assessments for development projects in the Beaufort Sea. This session will highlight the outcomes of BREA.

T12. Biodiversity, Productivity and Function of Marine Ecosystems in a Changing Arctic

Jean-Éric Tremblay (Québec Océan and Takuvik, Université Laval, Canada
Maria Vernet (Scripps Institution of Oceanography, United States)
Philippe Archambault (Institut des Sciences de la Mer de Rimouski, UQAR, Canada)
Marit Reigstad (University of Tromso, Norway)

Warming, the demise of sea ice and changes in upper ocean dynamics (e.g. stratification, circulation) can impact the biodiversity, productivity and biogeochemistry of Arctic marine ecosystems in several concurrent ways. At the base of the food web, the primary production of organic matter by phytoplankton and algae growing in sea ice or on the seafloor readily responds to changes in the supply of nutrients and light. This response is bound to affect the productivity and function of harvestable pelagic and benthic resources higher up the food web. In parallel, the contraction of frozen habitats directly challenges organisms that rely on sea ice for nutrition, refuge or reproduction. Reductions in the size and range of their populations along with invasions by temperate species can reshape ecological interactions, with effects rippling up and down the food web. To persist over time, the biota depends on the efficient recycling of organic matter by microbes (e.g. decomposers) that keep nutrients in circulation. This essential service is also sensitive to the physical environment and cannot be taken for granted. This session welcomes observational, experimental and modeling studies that contribute knowledge and insights on the productivity, diversity, ecology or biogeochemical functions of organisms, communities or food webs and their responses to variability and change in the physical Arctic environment.

T13. Biogeochemistry and Gas Exchange in a Changing Arctic Marine System

Brent Else (University of Calgary, Department of Geography, Canada)
Tim Papakyriakou (University of Manitoba, Centre for Earth Observation Science, Canada)
Lise-Lotte Sørenson (Aarhus University, Arctic Research Centre, Denmark)
Helmut Thomas (Dalhousie University, Department of Oceanography, Canada)

The Arctic marine environment is amongst the regions experiencing climate and anthropogenic changes most intensely. In particular, rising temperatures and alterations of sea ice and the freshwater balance impact biogeochemical cycles in the Arctic Ocean and its shelf seas. As such, interest in the distribution, biogeochemical modification, and atmospheric exchange of gases in this environment has increased dramatically in recent years. Current hot topics include acidification of Arctic waters, the prodigious production of DMS by ice algae and ice-associated phytoplankton blooms, the effect of methane release from submerged permafrost sediments, the role of sea ice in regulating CO2 uptake, and gas exchange in ice-dominated marine systems. The session aims at fostering our understanding of biogeochemical cycles and gas fluxes in the Arctic marine environment, and how they respond to climate and anthropogenic changes. Contributions focusing on cycles of carbon, nutrients, and other elements in the Arctic Ocean are invited as well as contributions focusing on the cycling and exchange of elements along the terrestrial /Arctic Shelf/Archipelago / Arctic Ocean continuum.

T14. Changing Arctic Atmospheric Composition

Jennie L. Thomas (LATMOS-IPSL; UPMC Univ. Paris 06; Université Versailles St-Quentin; CNRS/INSU; UMR 8190, Paris, France)
Jack Dibb (Earth Systems Research Center, Institute for the study of Earth, Oceans, and Space, University of New Hampshire, United States)
Jon Abbatt (University of Toronto, Canada)

Arctic atmospheric composition is strongly influenced by air imported from mid-latitudes as well as processes occurring in the Arctic. Mid-latitudes industrial pollution sources impact the Arctic troposphere by increasing the concentrations of pollutant gases and aerosols. In addition, boreal forest fires in Siberia and other regions contribute to Arctic gas and aerosol budgets. Local Arctic pollution sources (e.g. shipping and oil/gas extraction) are increasing due to reduced sea ice and increased access to the region. Natural cycles within the Arctic also strongly influence the budgets of gases and aerosols (such as nitrogen and carbon cycling, ozone, mercury). For example, emissions from the Arctic Ocean, snow/ice covered surfaces, and thawing tundra peatlands impact the region. The processes (emissions, transport, processing, deposition, and chemistry) that determine the composition of the Arctic atmosphere are strongly influenced by, and feedback onto, climate change in the region. This session invites contributions on a broad range of topics that are connected to changing Arctic tropospheric composition including regional air quality, transported pollution, climate, and natural aerosol/gas cycling in the region. Contributions based on long-term observations, model-based analysis, and focused process studies are encouraged.

T15. Changing Commercial and Subsistence Fisheries in a Warming Arctic

Dominique Robert (Centre for Fisheries Ecosystems Research, Fisheries and Marine Institute of MUN, Canada)
Ken Drinkwater (Institute of Marine Research, Norway)
Scott Grant (Centre for Sustainable Aquatic Resources, Fisheries and Marine Institute of MUN, Canada)

Warming of the Arctic is rapidly altering the structure of aquatic ecosystems. One of the most significant consequences of this warming is the drastic reduction in the extent and duration of sea ice cover. As the aquatic environment opens up, increased light availability will lead to a parallel increase in total annual primary and secondary production. These changes are expected to enhance production and/or growth for some fish and invertebrate species while a decline is anticipated for other species, with implications for established and emerging fisheries, food security, and economic opportunities. For example, warmer temperatures coupled with the reduction of sea ice cover could favour the invasion of key sub-Arctic pelagic species (e.g., capelin Mallotus villosus, sand lance Ammodytes sp., Atlantic salmon Salmo salar) into the southern range of the Arctic. Those species are likely to compete with Arctic species (e.g., Arctic cod Boreagadus saida, Arctic charr Salvelinus alpinus) and have the potential to alter arctic food webs and nutrient cycling. The northward expansions of commercially important sub-Arctic fish stocks have already been documented, including Barents Sea cod (Gadus morhua), capelin and herring (Clupea harengus) in the Atlantic, as well as Bering Sea pollock (Theragra chalcogramma) and Pacific sand lance in the Pacific. In contrast to those species, the dynamics of established commercial and subsistence Arctic fisheries may be constrained by warming waters and are expected to retreat northward. Even though some areas will likely see abundance of endemic stocks decrease, fisheries resources are generally expected to increase in a warming Arctic. The sustainable development of emerging fisheries constitutes a challenge to fisheries scientists and managers as they often require the design of specific stock assesment methods, infrastructure and fishing gear. This topical session seeks to advance our understanding of present and future responses of Arctic fish species, invertebrates, and fisheries to climate change. We encourage contributions that broadly focus on the ecology of Arctic and/or sub-Arctic species that are likely to expand their distribution in the Arctic and their implications to commercial and subsistence fisheries, as well as on emerging fisheries issues including, but not limited to, resource assessment and management, infrastructure and gear development in support of sustainable fisheries.

T16. Changing Practices Towards Community Engagement in Research

Noémie Boulanger-Lapointe (University of British Columbia, Canada)
Sarah Desrosiers (University of British Columbia, Canada)

In April 2014, the Canadian Polar Commission released a report recognizing the need and willingness of Northerners to regain control on their land and future. The report draws attention to the inter-related nature of challenges facing the North and the necessity to integrate traditional knowledge to establish coherent programs. Changing practices toward community engagement in research will be an Arctic Change session highlighting current Arctic research programs that promote and build capacity for community engagement. A number of research projects funded under the International Polar Year emphasized local community participation, outreach and education and brought national recognition to traditional knowledge and community-based monitoring. Although policies have been set in place to include community consultation and inclusion in research projects, the nature of community participation remains unclear.

Chosen presentations for this session will demonstrate recent positive changes in methodologies, from consultation to community-driven research. The scope will be multi-disciplinary and northern participants will be encouraged to present their work. Approaches taken across the Arctic vary according to field of research and local cultures; this session will be a unique opportunity to exchange ideas and best practices. It will be of great interest for many ArcticNet members and participants from abroad, as it will provide a platform for cross cutting presentations on community-oriented research.

T17. Community Adaptation and Vulnerability in Arctic Regions

Tristan Pearce (Sustainability Research Centre, University of the Sunshine Coast, Australia / Department of Geography, University of Guelph, Canada)
James Ford (Department of Geography, McGill University, Canada)
Barry Smit, (Department of Geography, University of Guelph, Canada)

The last decade has witnessed a rapid development of research examining the human dimensions of climate change (HDCC) in the north. Increasingly, this scholarship is examining how climate change interacts with society, documenting impacts, adaptations, and vulnerabilities, and exploring opportunities for policy intervention. ArcticNet researchers have been leaders in this emerging field and the results from their studies point to a number of challenges for Inuit communities including access to resources important for subsistence, a shifting resource base, and traditional livelihoods under stress. The Arctic sea ice is melting with cascading effects on local communities through changing conditions that challenge hunting and travelling activities, enhance coastal erosion near settlements, industrial exploration and expansion. In addition rising temperatures are causing shifts in both marine and terrestrial ecosystems, resulting in changes in the composition and distribution of key species important for subsistence. Together with accompanying societal changes, these developments have implications for community viability, food security, health, local economies, culture and wellbeing. In many instances enhancing adaptive capacity to climate change involves addressing non-climatic drivers of stress, such as improving infrastructure, education and health. The majority of human dimensions of climate change (HDCC) research has focused on the direct effects of climate change mostly on the subsistence sector, including dangers posed, implications for resource utilization, and access to traditional foods. Fewer studies have examined indirect effects, including economic, health and culture.

This session welcomes papers that analyze the indirect effects of climate change (e.g. on food security, health, economics, culture, wellbeing, etc.) and examine determinants of adaptive capacity (e.g. social networks, flexibility of wildlife management regimes, transmission of knowledge, social learning, policy, etc.) to better understand how adaptive capacity is constituted and how it is translated into adaptation.

T18. Contaminants in a Changing Arctic

Jason Stow (AANDC, Northern Contaminants Program, Canada)
Simon Wilson (Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme -AMAP, Norway)

The Arctic is contaminated by globally transported pollutants such as persistent organic pollutants (POPs) and mercury from source regions in heavily developed parts of the globe. Over time the sources of these contaminants have been changing (some decreasing, some increasing), which has had a measurable impact on temporal trends of contaminants in the Arctic environment, with many legacy POPs decreasing as a result of global regulations. These changes in pollutant sources, however, are being superimposed on an Arctic environment that itself is undergoing rapid climate related changes. Changes in the Arctic environment have significant implications for contaminants and the processes that govern their transport, biogeochemical cycling, and the levels to which they accumulate in Arctic wildlife, and ultimately humans. The environmental changes underway in the Arctic are putting wildlife under significant stress, and may push some species to the brink of extinction as critical habitats, such as multi-year sea ice, are lost, diminished or altered. Some of the most vulnerable species are also exposed to contaminant levels that exceed thresholds for toxic effects. In a weakened condition as a result of environmental stress, could these species become more sensitive to the toxic effects of contaminants? Meanwhile, Arctic Indigenous peoples who are also impacted by changes in their environment are experiencing significant socioeconomic and cultural changes. Among these changes is a transition from a diet dominated by traditional/country foods, to one that consists mainly of market foods. What implications does this dietary transition have for human health and contaminant related risks?

This session will explore the subject of contaminants in a changing Arctic environment under the following suggested topics:

  • Contaminant transport and pathways,
  • Biogeochemical processes and contaminant cycling,
  • Food web dynamics, including bioaccumulation/biomagnification,
  • Temporal trends and what’s driving them,
  • Biological effects of contaminants and interactions with other environmental stressors,
  • Human health - including biomonitoring and exposure assessment, health effects, and risk/benefit assessment of country foods,
  • Social/cultural aspects of the contaminants issue in the context of a changing Arctic,
  • Possible scenarios of future Arctic contamination, and
  • Challenges and new approaches to monitoring Arctic contaminants in the future.

T21. Dynamics and Recent Changes of Arctic Glaciers and Ice Shelves

Luke Copland (University of Ottawa, Canada)
Derek Mueller (Carleton University, Canada)

Arctic glaciers and ice shelves have undergone substantial changes in the last decade, including the production of numerous icebergs and larger ice islands. Understanding the changing dynamics of these cryospheric features can provide insight into the impacts and patterns of climate and oceanic warming in high latitude regions. There are currently many unanswered questions in this topic, such as whether glaciers will speed up or slow down in response to a warming climate, whether Arctic ice shelf losses can have upstream effects on glacier dynamics, and how recently observed Arctic sea ice losses are related to ice shelf breakup events. There is also a need for improved understanding of the impacts of these changes on northern infrastructure, such as the degree of risk ice islands pose to offshore oil development, and whether iceberg production from glaciers will impact northern shipping. This session will bring together recent research in these topics, and we encourage contributions from researchers working in field, modelling and remote sensing studies of all aspects of ice shelves, ice islands, glaciers and ice caps.

T22. Education, Outreach and Communications: Are we Successfully Linking Scientific Research to Education, Public Policy, and Environmental Awareness?

Lucette Barber (Centre for Earth Observation Science, University of Manitoba, Canada)
Jennifer Provencher (Carleton University, National Wildlife Research Centre, Canada)
David Carlson (World Meteorological Organization, Switzerland)

The acronym EOC (Education, Outreach, and Communication) is familiar to all who participated in the recent International Polar Year (2007-09) through existing initiatives promoted during IPY or new initiatives created for IPY. The result is continued EOC activity after IPY, a committed community of researchers who are including outreach to their science activities, and a growing number of education and communication specialists who are integrating polar research into their programs and initiatives. International groups such as the Association of Polar Early Career Scientists (APECS), the Polar Educators International (PEI), and the international Program Assessment Working Group (iPAWG), are just a few examples. An important aspect of all EOC programs is assessment. Stakeholders and funding agencies continuously challenge practitioners to evaluate the success of program delivery and ask a key question: Are we successfully linking scientific research to education, public policy and environmental awareness? This session invites individuals who are currently involved in EOC activities, and who are assessing impacts of these programs, to present their findings, share the questions they ask, and engage the audience in a discussion on common challenges and barriers to program assessment, over a range of activities including classroom visits, in-field experiences and systematic initiatives. The session will include five 15min oral presentations; one 30min overview or summary presentation; poster presentations; and a separate 45 min session for a panel discussion with key individuals who are actively assessing programs for program evaluation and research. The panel discussion would hopefully be on a different day than the oral sessions. This session will complement other sessions related to educational research. The ‘call for abstracts’ will be promoted to the ArcticNet science community, the EOC community (APECS, Polar Educators International), and through our connections with media. The session will complement the EOC activities planned in conjunction with Arctic Changes 2014 i.e. ASA Student Day, 2014 Schools on Board Arctic Climate Change Youth Forum, and the international Program Assessment Working Group (iPAWG) side meeting on program assessment and polar education. We will encourage researchers who submit to science sessions to also submit an abstract for a poster in the EOC session to showcase their efforts to communicate their work.

T23. Energy Security for Arctic and Remote Communities

Peter Russell (RESTCo, Canada)
Tiina Kurvits (Ecosystem Management, Canada)

The Arctic and Small Island Developing States (A/SIDS) share a need to reduce energy expenses from imported energy sources, overcome energy insecurity, employ more energy efficient technology and replace fossil fuels with cleaner and more sustainable sources. The move to such sources is particularly urgent as a means to mitigate the causes of climate change and to reduce vulnerability to its effects and of looming escalation of oil prices. International efforts to expand clean energy use and improve energy efficiency are increasingly gaining prominence and remote, off-grid locations are being considered as test bed sites for residential, municipal and industrial installations. The role of micro smart grids and communication and monitoring systems, existing diesel generation and hybrid systems during transition and energy storage will be considered. Many jurisdictions have already developed targets, programmes and roadmaps to achieve individual, community and national energy security. The significance of socio-economic factors in A/SIDS communities are important considerations. Aligning the interest of the user with efficient use of energy (transitioning to the user pays) and consideration of existing government and commercial energy infrastructure including the role of the new Canadian High Arctic Research Station (CHARS) in Cambridge Bay, Nunavut will be explored. In many A/SIDS jurisdictions there are numerous logistical, financial, technological and human capacity barriers to moving to energy efficiency and clean energy sources. There are exceptions, notably where mainstream energy production can exploit an abundant renewable resource, or where funding and political will have fostered a push toward energy efficiency and clean energy sources. This panel aims to encapsulate the key elements that need to be harmonized to bring about change that will help remote communities reduce their dependency on oil, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions through increasing energy efficiency and the use of clean/sustainable energy. Elements to be considered include: planning for the uncertainty of climate change impacts (demanding adaptable solutions), integrating changes in technology (supply, storage and demand of energy for buildings, infrastructure and transportation) and socio-economic motivation.

T24. Food Insecurity in the Circumpolar Regions – Understanding the Key Drivers for Meaningful Partnerships and Sustainable Solutions

Stephanie Meakin (Inuit Circumpolar Council (ICC) Canada, Canada)
Tiina Kurvits (Polar and Cryosphere Division, GRID-Arendal, Norway)
Laura Bennett (Council of Canadian Academies, Canada)
Tiff-Annie Kenny (University of Ottawa, Canada)
Myriam Fillion (University of Ottawa, Canada)

Food security is a growing global challenge. Across northern Canada and the Inuit homelands of Greenland, Alaska and Chukotka, food insecurity statistics for Indigenous peoples are as much as double that of non-Indigenous populations. In addition, diet in the North has been changing significantly over the past decades, with a decrease in the consumption of country foods and an increase in the consumption of market food of relatively low nutritional value. Issues of human nutrition, food safety and food security must, therefore, be articulated within the broader context of ecosystem sustainability. However, changing northern environments are currently posing important challenges to food security. The common challenges and solutions of rural, remote and Indigenous peoples of the circumpolar regions offer many lessons learned and solutions to improve the current statistics of food insecurity.

This session will explore the diverse dimensions of food security and food sovereignty in the circumpolar regions, premised on an integrative view of human nutrition/food security and the local environment. Objectives of this session are to present how the changing environmental, cultural, social, political and economic landscapes can influence food security, and to explore strategies and approaches to ensure food security in rural and remote northern communities. This session proposes to explore the key drivers of food insecurity and offer new partnerships and paths forward for improving these unacceptable statistics, including drawing on experiences from the broader international community. This session is intended to promote dialogue among researchers, practitioners, policy makers, and community organizations, with the goal of improving food security research, knowledge acquisition, and policies that will positively contribute to the livelihoods of people living in these regions.

T25. From Data to Knowledge: Enabling Cross-Disciplinary Science Through Data Archives and Online Access Tools

Julie Fridell (Polar Data Catalogue/Canadian Cryospheric Information Network, University of Waterloo, Canada)
Benoît Pirenne (Ocean Networks Canada, University of Victoria, Canada)
Scott Tomlinson (Northern Contaminants Program, Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada, Canada)
Dieter Piepenburg (Alfred Wegener Institute, Germany)

As the diversity and volume of Arctic data increase, the opportunity for collaboration and discovery across and between disciplines also grows. This session invites presentations on activities related to improving access to, and understanding of, the data being collected and archived from current and past Arctic research and observation. Contributions are encouraged which describe existing or planned interactive data visualization, mapping, or other online tools for enhanced access and analysis, including examples of integrating disparate datasets and supporting a diversity of science disciplines and data types. Examples from researchers or data portals of transforming data into useful information and knowledge are particularly welcome. Information is sought on the needs and requirements of researchers, northern residents, northern organizations, policy makers, and others who generate, use, or need Arctic data and information. Additionally, recommendations on standards or best practices related to data stewardship, access, and display, including experiences in managing large or (quasi) real-time streaming datasets as well as specialized datasets contributed by individual researchers, are welcome. Oral and poster presentations may be accompanied by a panel discussion on these and related topics, including upcoming technological trends to support use of data for advancement of cross-disciplinary and integrative science.

T26. Health and Well-Being in Arctic Communities: Advancements in Practices, Processes and Outcomes

Chris Furgal (Trent University, Canada)
Eric Loring (Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, Canada)

Since the late 1990s there has been a growth in the attention given to not only the outcomes of Arctic health research, but the processes through which these results are generated. Significant advancements have been made in such things as: the recognition and respect given to the role and authority of communities, other local entities and regional Indigenous organizations and governments in Arctic health research; the application of ethical principles for research with Indigenous communities; the role of other forms of knowing such as Indigenous Knowledge in understanding health issues through research; and the role of communities in developing and conducting research and communicating results. These advancements have been argued for by Arctic peoples, communities, and governments and supported by changes in national principles for the ethical conduct of health research in and with Indigenous communities, significant investments in human dimensions research during the most recent International Polar Year, and the establishment of research networks, centres and programs promoting these principles in the conduct of health research in these regions. As a result, much of the health research occurring in the Arctic today is developed, conducted and communicated in very different ways and by a greater diversity of individuals than in the past.

This session will examine advances in Arctic health research that are generating understanding of critical health issues in the North using progressive methods, approaches and practices in their work. Topics of specific interest include (but are not limited to) participatory research methods, community engagement and training in health research, new technologies or methods for data collection and/or communication, the role of Indigenous Knowledge, and approaches to knowledge translation in Arctic health. Presentations of projects that highlight one or more of these topics are requested.

This session is convened by the Nasivvik Centre for Inuit health and changing environments but is open to all health research engaging with the thematic focus. Projects and scholarship recipients currently or previously funded through the Nasivvik Centre are encouraged to submit applications for this session.

T27. How to Combine Multiple Remote Sensing Techniques and New Observing Technologies to Document Marine Ecosystem Dynamics in the Arctic Ocean, both in Open and Ice-Covered Waters

Marcel Babin (Takuvik Joint International Laboratory, Université Laval, Canada - CNRS, France)
Jens Ehn (University of Manitoba, Canada)

Our understanding of the dynamics of marine ecosystems in the Arctic Ocean has recently been progressing at an incredible pace with several discoveries and shifts in paradigms being made. We have reached a point, however, at which traditional sampling approaches limit further progress. A better use of remote sensing and new autonomous observing technologies (e.g. profiling floats, gliders with optical and other new sensors) may certainly provide a new impetus. Their use in the Arctic Ocean is, however, impeded by several limitations, including extreme temperatures, sea-ice, clouds and remoteness. Nevertheless, one way to get the best from these technologies, despite limitations, lies in using them in combination. For instance, it is impossible to detect phytoplankton under sea-ice using ocean color remote sensing, while it is now recognized that massive blooms take place under the ice-pack. The use of both optical and microwave remote sensing to document the physical properties of marine snow and sea-ice may permit modeling of light propagation and determine how much energy is available under the ice-pack for supporting a significant phytoplankton bloom. Based on such information, the related primary production may be estimated. In this session, we invite presentations on new approaches that combine multiple techniques (among various remote sensing techniques and new observing technologies) to better document marine ecosystems and biogeochemical fluxes in the Arctic Ocean. Presentations on new results obtained with such approaches, or on new concepts and ideas are welcome in this brain-storming session.

T28. ICARP III: A Roadmap for the Future of Arctic Research

David Hik (ICARP III, University of Alberta, Canada)
Volker Rachold (IASC – International Arctic Science Committee, Germany)
Yulia Zaika (Lomonosov Moscow State University, Khibiny Station, Russia)

The Third International Conference on Arctic Research Planning (ICARP III – will provide a framework to identify and integrate forward-looking, collaborative, interdisciplinary Arctic research and observing priorities for the next decade; help diverse organizations coordinate various Arctic research agendas; inform policy makers, people who live in or near the Arctic and the global community; and build constructive relationships between producers and users of knowledge. ICARP III activities are taking place throughout 2014/15 and will culminate in a final conference at the Arctic Science Summit Week 2015. Many partner organizations, including the national polar bodies of the 22 IASC member countries, international science organizations, research funders, Arctic Council Working Groups, and indigenous organizations are participating in ICARP III. The outcomes of ICARP III will include a consensus statement identifying the most important Arctic research needs for the next decade; a roadmap for research priorities and partnerships; and a summary of the potential and specific contributions of Arctic research partners to proposed longer-term research and observing activities, like the International Polar Partnership Initiative. This session will (1) provide a current overview of anticipated ICARP III outcomes, including first drafts of the final consensus statement and the ICARP III ‘roadmap’ for discussion; (2) highlight new interdisciplinary activities that are developing under the ICARP III framework; and (3) perspectives on sustaining and improving support for Arctic research. Abstracts that address the ICARP III themes (Climate System and Transformations; Societies and Ecosystems; Outreach and Capacity Building; Observing, Technology, Logistics and Services) are encouraged as oral and poster presentations. Links with other sessions at Arctic Change will also be identified, as appropriate. We request two 90 minute slots for this session.

T29. Impact of Mining Development on Arctic Ecosystems, Caribou Herds and Inuit Lifestyles

Sylvie Blangy (CEFE, CNRS, France)
Brenda Parlee (University of Alberta, Canada)

This session aims at gathering projects studying the impact of mining development on ecosystems, caribou herds and Inuit lifestyles in the Arctic. It explores alternative scenarios to the "mining and jobs" versus "subsistence living and poverty" options. The studies presented address the concerns raised by the community about mining, resource extraction and industrialization in the Arctic. They rely upon a triangular research model, linking community-based experts, academics and mining representatives who are developing interdisciplinary projects. They also aim at strengthening the research capacity built within the community through participatory workshops and caribou/reindeer comparative studies conducted in collaboration with the Saami of Northern Sweden.

This session will feature only two opening presentations, which will be made by doctoral candidate Kelsey Jansen and MSc. graduate Annabel Rixen. Each presentation will be made in collaboration with a representative of the Inuit/Dene community concerned (Names TBA). Following the presentations, we plan to create space for a citizen-researcher dialogue. We will give each community representative several minutes to comment on the presentations in light of their personal experience. We will exchange and share lessons learned using a participatory workshop format (with visual graphs, dialoguing tools, etc.). Notes will be taken and posted online for future dialogues.

T30. Extractive Industries and the Arctic: Community experiences and environmental legacies

Emilie Cameron (Carleton University, Canada)
Arn Keeling (Memorial University, Canada)

Arctic regions have been historically conceived of as a vast storehouse of natural resources, yet their remoteness and challenging environmental conditions often limited the scope of resource exploitation. Today, however, resource scarcity and environmental change are drawing extractive industries to the Arctic. Global climate change is forecast to unlock vast resources of offshore hydrocarbons under the Arctic Ocean as melting sea ice allows for drilling and pumping of oil and gas during the summer months. In addition, recent spikes in mineral prices have resulted in new mineral staking and development rushes throughout the circumpolar region. How to assess and manage the local and regional impacts of such intensive development is a key question for the future, particularly as climate change potentially produces unstable environmental conditions in the Arctic. For Arctic communities, extractive development may be a driver of rapid and destabilizing social and economic change. Extractive development in all its phases, from exploration to development to abandonment, leaves environmental legacies that pose challenges of remediation and long-term management. This session invites papers that explore the historical and contemporary issues associated with extractive resource development in the Arctic, and critically analyze the problems and prospects of such development for communities and the environment alike.

T31. Indigenous Perspectives on Adaptation

Carla Pamak (Nunatsiavut Government, Canada)
Romani Makkik (Nunavut Tunngavik Inc., Canada)
Carolina Behe (Inuit Circumpolar Council, Alaska, United States)

This session is hosted and facilitated by Inuit Research Advisors (IRAs) from Canada and Alaska. IRAs have taken a keen interest in ways Inuit and other indigenous people in the circumpolar world have adapted and will adapt to the vast changes that are occurring in their communities. Much research has been conducted on this topic, although Inuit and other indigenous peoples perspectives are not always heard and considered. The IRA’s will facilitate a roundtable on Inuit and Indigenous peoples perspectives on adaptation, through a series of talks from speakers representing Inuit and other circumpolar indigenous communities and permanent participants to the Arctic Council (Sami, RAIPON, AIA, AAC, GCI).

They will discuss the successes and the challenges of how indigenous peoples in the circumpolar Arctic have historically adapted to the changes in their home regions- environmentally, socially and culturally. They will also provide insight into how changes in their regions has affected these peoples and ultimately impacted adaptation. How are these changes being shared within the communities? Does this information help indigenous peoples understand their changing world? Is research helping adaptation? They will also explore the issue of Traditional knowledge (TK) inclusion in research. Does the inclusion of Indigenous knowledge in research lead the way to better adaptation? The IRA’s will facilitate a discussion to address these questions.

Key examples of research, best practices and case studies done in this area, both by academia and indigenous organizations will be presented and discussed.

T32. Linking the Arctic to the World: Arctic Animal Migrations in a Global Context

David Grémillet (CNRS, Centre d’Ecologie Fonctionnelle et Evolutive, Montpellier, France)
Grant Gilchrist (Environment Canada, National Wildlife Research Centre, Carlton University, Ottawa, Canada)

We tend to view arctic wildlife as a suite of endemic species living isolated from the rest of the world. This is largely incorrect. Notably, animal migrations connect this polar region to many other areas of the planet. These mass movements have a profound impact on arctic ecology, and on the capacity of arctic ecosystems to deal with global change. Migration is most visible in birds, and millions of them which breed in the Arctic spend the winter further South, sometimes on the other side of the earth. However, dramatic seasonal movements are also recorded in arctic marine and terrestrial mammals, and in marine fish. Such animal migrations have always been a fascinating feature for people of the Arctic, especially since wildlife movements determined the timing and the success of hunting activities, and acted as a natural calendar across the year cycle. Migrations also mean that many arctic animals critically depend upon habitats and resources outside of the Arctic, which largely condition their winter survival and population dynamics. Further, arctic animals are also exposed to foreign parasites, pathogens and pollutants at their wintering sites and all along their migratory pathways, which they might import into the Arctic upon their return. As we observe it today, the migratory behaviour of artic animals is shaped by current environmental conditions, and it is also a legacy of past conditions, notably those of the last ice-ages. Yet, migratory routes and timing are also liable to changes. For instance, it is predicted that global warming will affect the migratory behaviour of many arctic animals, with important consequences for species distributions, population dynamics, genetic structure, trophic interactions, as well as for the flow of parasites, pathogens and pollutants into arctic ecosystems. Ultimately, those changes are bound to impact the lives of people across the Arctic, notably through modified hunting conditions. Studying arctic animal migrations in a changing world is therefore a major research objective, which should be addressed on a global scale through observations, analyses and forecasts. Our session will welcome contributions concerning the largest-possible range of arctic taxa, as well as those addressing the impact of changing animal migrations on human societies. Empirical approaches using e.g. biotelemetry, stable isotopic analyses, genetics, or pathology will be considered, as well as theoretical work on e.g. future evolution of migratory behaviour, species spatial ecology, or emerging infectious diseases.

T33. Monitoring Arctic Terrestrial Ecosystems and Biodiversity

Marlene Doyle (Environment Canada, Canada)
Donald McLennan (Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada, Canada)

This session will provide a forum for terrestrial ecological monitoring researchers, agencies and stakeholders to present findings of relevance to the northern monitoring community. Speakers will discuss multi-scaled approaches to monitoring Arctic ecosystems, from local observation to remote sensing using varied sources of knowledge including academic research, community-based monitoring and Traditional Knowledge. As a whole, this session will emphasize opportunities to better coordinate Arctic terrestrial monitoring efforts and integrate outcomes in order to better assess and report on trends in terrestrial biodiversity and ecosystem integrity. The session will offer the opportunity to learn about current monitoring techniques, share outcomes with interested stakeholders such as the scientific community or northern residents, and identify opportunities to get involved with collaborative monitoring approaches.

T34. Pan-Arctic Science and Policy: How Can Early Career Researchers Shape the Future?

Nikolaus Gantner (University of Northern British Columbia, Canada)
Adam Houben (University of Ottawa, Canada)
Dr. John Crump (GRID-Arendal, Norway)

The circumpolar Arctic is undergoing rapid environmental, social, and geopolitical change. For example, scientific evidence is pointing to increases in ice free conditions, leading to extended shipping routes and greater access to natural resources. These rapid developments affect Arctic communities and ecosystems, making it important to engage in discussions regarding the future of science and the role that research can play in the Arctic policy process. Today’s circumpolar Arctic research is driven by a large group of Early Career Researchers (ECRs) studying social, political, and natural science issues. These ECRs often work directly within communities on locally relevant issues. The wealth of knowledge accumulated by ECRs often extends beyond their graduate thesis, making it vital to harvest these experiences by engaging in cross-disciplinary knowledge exchanges. Several global networks unite these active young minds in an aim to increase communication and interaction between researchers in a sparse Arctic setting – e.g. the international Association of Polar Early Career Scientists (APECS), with an increasing number of national committees; and the national level ArcticNet Student Association. These networks often permeate beyond researchers and have increasingly reached out to existing Arctic communities and organizations in order to effectively build ECR capacity to engage in research relevant to northern interests. Indeed, today’s ECRs will be future partners for Arctic communities, leaders in non-academic research organizations, and Principal Investigators and supervisors for the next generation of student researchers. Thus, policies and decisions of today will be of the greatest importance to ECRs as they progress in their careers, making it important to include their perspectives in the policy process. This session aims to push the envelope of ECRs by asking presenters to share ideas on the future of Arctic science and the repercussions for Arctic policy and decision making. We thus encourage submissions by community leaders, ECRs, mentors, and ‘established’ PIs. Submissions of original research as well as new ideas or proposals that identify gaps in Arctic science policy are invited. Presentations should cover geopolitical, natural sciences, and social challenges and how these disciplines can be integrated. Thought provoking presentations on topics that lead to ‘big-picture’ discussion amongst participants are encouraged.

T35. Paradigms of Arctic Ecosystems during the Polar Night - Challenged by New Understanding?

Jørgen Berge (University of Tromsø and University Centre in Svalbard, Norway)
Finlo Cottier (SAMS, United Kingdom)
Stig Falk-Petersen (APN and University of Tromso, Norway)

Marine ecosystem processes are direct consequences of the complex behaviours and interactions between organisms, many of which are driven by the physical environment. Accordingly, a classical paradigm in Arctic marine ecology suggests that most biological processes stop during the polar night at high latitudes due to low food availability and the lack of light. Although the polar night at high latitudes is perceived as total darkness, new data indicate that Arctic organisms nevertheless may respond to light levels undetectable by the human eye. Recently, new research has challenged this assumption by presenting evidence of the polar night being a prime time for reproduction in a wide array of fish species, en masse vertical migration of zooplankton, and bioluminescence levels indicative of biotic activity hitherto assumed to be absent during the polar night. Combined, these recent results provide circumstantial evidence for both an endogenous and exogenous control of these poorly understood or previously unknown processes during the high Arctic polar night. The recent and unexpected discoveries under the extreme conditions of the Arctic winter reflect the historically low levels of scientific investigations during polar night, and challenge our understanding of Arctic marine organisms and systems. Especially, integrative understanding of the tight coupling between the biosphere, cryosphere and hydrosphere is limited, and without a more fundamental perception of Arctic ecosystem function, such impacts will remain largely impossible to understand and predict. Winter ecology of Arctic marine systems, then, is a largely new field of science with the potential for radically altering our fundamental perception of basic Arctic ecosystems processes, current state of the ecosystem and connections between the biosphere, hydrosphere and cryosphere within the Polar Region.

T36. Pathways to Northern Coastal Sustainability: Understanding and Responding to Environmental and Social Change on the Pan-Arctic Coast

Donald Forbes (Memorial University of Newfoundland, Canada)
Paul Overduin (Alfred Wegener Institute, Germany)
Trevor Bell (Memorial University of Newfoundland, Canada)

The coastal zone is the interface through which land-ocean exchanges in the Arctic are mediated and where decisions involving combined social and environmental issues affect the lives, health, and livelihoods of many northern residents. The coastal margin is the locus of complex interactions of marine, terrestrial and atmospheric processes that are sensitive to projected climate change and anthropogenic stressors. A better understanding of current and expected circumpolar coastal change is urgently required, given that the region provides essential ecosystem services, supports indigenous economies and lifestyles, hosts a wealth of natural resources, and is a zone of expanding infrastructure investment and growing security concerns. Remote and community-based observations of social and environmental conditions and change can provide baseline data, help to identify gaps in knowledge, and contribute to informing risk assessment, resource management, adaptation planning, policy development and evidence-based decision-making. This session welcomes contributions that address the current status and present or anticipated trends in natural and social conditions affecting human settlements, infrastructure, and valued cultural or natural resources along the circumpolar Arctic coast. We particularly encourage presentations reporting on multi- and transdisciplinary approaches involving diverse stakeholders in co-design and co-production of knowledge to support effective adaptation and sustainable development.

T37. Patterns and Processes of Recent Vegetation Change in Tundra Regions

Ryan Danby (Queen’s University, Canada)
Greg Henry (University of British Columbia, Canada)
Luise Hermanutz (Memorial University of Newfoundland, Canada)

Recent vegetation change has been documented in many locations in the circumpolar north, with a strong link to climate change as a causal factor. A variety of techniques have been used to document these changes, including remote sensing, dendrochronology, repeat photography, and long-term monitoring. At finer scales, experimental manipulations, such as those in the International Tundra Experiment (ITEX) have been used to investigate the mechanisms driving these changes. A notable trend from these investigations is that the direction and magnitude of change can vary considerably from region to region, despite a common warming trend. Comparison of the similarities and differences between studies is important for understanding the variables that influence directional vegetation change. Moreover, painting the north with one large brush ignores the differences between low Arctic regions, where woody vegetation is predominant, and high Arctic regions where herbaceous plants and bryophytes dominate.

The session will be comprised of talks that present the results of studies examining contemporary vegetation change in the circumpolar north, including high Arctic, low Arctic, and forest-tundra environments, as well as subarctic alpine tundra. Studies are not limited to any particular scale or geographic location and may emphasize results from experiments, field observations, remote sensing, or modeling. Studies that examine the nature of spatial transitions as a “space for time” substitute are also welcome. Two 90- minute sessions, held back-to-back, are anticipated. We envision a mix of presenters from various career stages, including graduate students. We would also link the session to poster presentations on vegetation change. Invited speakers will present syntheses of recent vegetation change in northern regions and provide context for the contributed talks.

T38. Permafrost Landscapes in Transition in the Arctic and Subarctic

Scott Lamoureux (Queen’s University, Canada)
Hugues Lantuit (Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research, Germany)
Antoni Lewkowicz (University of Ottawa, Canada)

Permafrost is a widespread feature of Polar Regions that underlies virtually all of the non-glaciated terrestrial Arctic. Rising permafrost temperatures are of growing importance as an indicator of climate change and the impacts of permafrost thaw are of increasing concern in terms of carbon release to the atmosphere and the integrity of both northern ecosystems and infrastructure. Several major national and international research programs (ArcticNet, ADAPT, PAGE21 and others) have focused attention on the processes and sensitivities of permafrost landscapes, and demonstrated critical linkages with aquatic, marine and atmospheric systems. The breadth of new research emerging from these programs and the broader research community has made permafrost one of the focal points of modern environmental polar science. This session seeks to bring together diverse interests in the permafrost and polar research community to present results that focus on emerging areas of interest, including: changes to the permafrost thermal regime, permafrost degradation and thermokarst, impacts and changes to aquatic, coastal and marine systems, threats to infrastructure and climate feedbacks including greenhouse gas dynamics.  It will feature results from field process studies, monitoring programs, remote sensing, modelling, and interdisciplinary efforts to include processes in local, regional and hemispheric models and vice-versa. By encompassing all aspects of polar land and related processes, including those related to climatology, geology, geomorphology, biogeochemistry, hydrology, limnology and microbiology, this session will highlight the role of permafrost in the broader Earth System and demonstrate critical changes that will necessary for effective environmental management and safe communities.

T39. Planning, Design and Assessment of Water Resources Systems in Northern Communities

Rob Jamieson (Dalhousie University, Canada)
Khosrow Farahbakhsh (University of Guelph, Canada)
Lisbeth Truelstrup Hansen (Dalhousie University, Canada)
Sherilee Harper (University of Guelph, Canada)

The proposed session would invite presentations related to all aspects of the planning, design, and assessment of water and wastewater systems for Northern communities. This session would be very timely given the fact that Environment Canada is in the final stages of developing and implementing municipal wastewater regulations for Northern regions. Within the next few years, Northern communities will be required to conduct environmental risk assessments on their current wastewater management systems, and develop infrastructure upgrade strategies to comply with the new standards. The security and quality of potable water supplies in many Arctic communities are also facing threats due to population growth and climate change. It is anticipated that the session would attract presentations from a multidisciplinary group of engineers, physical scientists, and social scientists covering a variety of topics. Some examples are (i) participatory approaches to planning water and wastewater infrastructure, (ii) design and assessment of passive wastewater treatment systems in Northern regions, (iii) source water protection planning for Northern water systems, (iv) human health impacts and environmental risk assessment for Northern water and wastewater systems, and (v) synergies between Indigenous knowledge and Western knowledge in water and wastewater planning and management.

T40. Rapid Arctic Transitions Related to Infrastructure and Climate Change (RATIC)

Donald (Skip) Walker (University of Alaska Fairbanks, United States)
Timo Kumpula (University of Eastern Finland, Joenssu, Finland)
Michel Allard (Université Laval, Canada)

Recent studies in Canada, Alaska, and Russia indicate that combinations of climate change and industrial development have resulted in major changes to local Arctic social-ecological systems. The effects are expected to occur more broadly across the Arctic as demand for resources grows and the Arctic continues to warm. This session will be a forum for developing and sharing new ideas and methods to facilitate the best practices for assessing, responding to, and adaptively managing the cumulative effects of Arctic industrial infrastructure and climate change. Papers from a broad range of RATIC themes are solicited, including new remote-sensing and mapping methods to inventory and track rapid changes, infrastructure-scenario modeling (ISM), methods of local community input in all phases of development, and tools that can lead to effective adaptive-management approaches that utilize state-of-the-art science, modeling, engineering, education, and involvement of local people. The Integrated Regional Impact Studies (IRIS) and the Arctic Development and Adaptation to Permafrost in Transition (ADAPT) in Canada, the North Slope Science Initiative (NSSI) in Alaska, and the Finnish-sponsored Environmental and Social Impacts of Industrialization in Northern Russia (ENSINOR) project are emerging as possible models. The results of the session will: (1) Summarize the status of international efforts to examine the cumulative effects of rapid transitions in Arctic social-ecological systems caused by infrastructure development and climate change; 2) develop of a set of shared international objectives focused on developing effective means to address the key issues related to rapid transitions in Arctic social-ecological systems related to infrastructure and climate change; and 3) develop a coordinated international science plan that will be presented at the Third International Conference on Arctic Research Planning (ICARP III) to be held in Yohama, Japan, 23-30 April 2015. Funds for invited participants, with an emphasis on Arctic Polar Early Career Scientists (APECS) local indigenous leaders, and industry representatives, are provided by the International Arctic Science Committee (IASC), the Arctic Science Engineering and Education for Sustainability (ArcSEES) program of NSF, and the Land Cover Land-Use Change (LCLUC) program of NASA.

T41. Recent History of Arctic Climate

Guillaume Massé (UMI 3376 Takuvik, Université Laval, Canada)
André Rochon (ISMER, UQAR, Canada)
Jacques Giraudeau (UMR 5805 EPOC, Université de Bordeaux, France)

Major progress in reconstructing Arctic climate has been made during the last decades with high-resolution proxy data providing evidence for high amplitude and rapid transitions in the past few thousand years. These climatic shifts involved significant changes in Arctic sea ice conditions and precipitation patterns in the Northern North Atlantic. Recent results also indicate that recent subsurface ocean warming deeply affected glacier outlet dynamics and glacier melting further influencing hydrography and water circulation along the shelves. This complex system interacts with the oceanography and climate of more southern latitudes and plays an important role in determining major shifts in global climate regimes both at multi-decadal and centennial time scale.

This session aims to provide an overview of recent advances in Arctic climate reconstruction using ice, marine and land (lake/permafrost) records with a focus on the origin and mechanisms involved in decadal to centennial variability. Although the focus of this session will be Arctic regions, we also strongly encourage contributions on polar-tropical, Northern/southern hemisphere complex inter-relationships as well as proxy-model data comparisons.

T42. Safe, Efficient and Sustainable Shipping in the Arctic

Ronald Pelot (Dalhousie University, Halifax, Canada)
Camilla Mohrdieck (Airbus Defence and Space, Germany)
Martin Ulmke (Fraunhofer FKIE, Germany)

This session addresses individuals and organizations who are involved in maritime activities in Arctic waters and who share a strong interest in contributing to the safety of mariners and the protection of the Arctic environment. The objective of the session is to gain a view of what is needed to make the shipping industry in the North safe, efficient, and economically, socially, and environmentally sustainable. Researchers, Northerners and government agencies as well as industry organizations are invited to discuss the needs and expectations of people involved in such activities, the associated risks, and solutions for preventing and mitigating the risks.

A comprehensive approach to the session objective requires investigations into many different domains: governance, economic, social, environmental as well as technical aspects related to shipping in the Arctic. This includes a thorough analysis of needs and expectations across different classes of stakeholders and the identification of commonalities and synergies in their needs and ways of operating. It also includes analysis of the current and projected vessel traffic and assessments of risks that these vessels are exposed to, as well as risks that the vessels pose to other vessels or the local people and environment. Based on these analyses, further research is needed to make vessel monitoring persistent and cost-efficient, to detect anomalous traffic behaviour to assist in the initiation of effective and efficient response measures, to provide ships with up-to-date weather and ice forecasts and with a dynamic evaluation of their optimum route through ice-infested Arctic waters.

Viable concepts for providing such services should combine these diverse investigations. They should describe technical solutions that: are of practical help to mariners and shipowners while they are planning and conducting an operation in the Arctic; support government agencies of Arctic nations that are responsible for ensuring safety of passage and that take action in the event of an emergency; respect the interests of indigenous people and the environment upon which their lives and culture depend. Finally, solutions should also be efficient in the way infrastructure and services are used and shared across different stakeholder communities and Arctic countries.

This session welcomes abstracts that either deal with any single one of these research topics or consider an integrative approach to achieving the session objective.

T43. Snow Interactions with Climate and Ecosytems

Florent Domine (Université Laval, Canada - CNRS, France)
Richard Kelly (University of Waterloo, Canada)

Snow is a major actor in Arctic climate and ecosystems. Its high albedo strongly influences surface temperature and its thermal insulation properties largely determined permafrost thermal regime and the recycling of nutrients in the top soil. Snow also shelters vegetation and wildlife from harsh winter conditions. With climate change, snow physical properties are changing. For example, warmer conditions may be less favorable to the formation of low-density highly insulating depth hoar layers. On the other hand, shrub growth on tundra, a result of warming, limits snow compaction by wind, which favors depth hoar development. This example illustrates that many conflicting effects, directly or indirectly due to warming, will affect snow physical properties, and these in turn will feedback on climate and ecosystems in ways that are only beginning to be explored. Field, remote sensing and modeling studies addressing aspect of these snow-climate-ecosystems interactions are welcome.

T44. The Future of the Arctic: How Will We Inform Adaptation, What Do We Need to Know

Michael Kuperberg (U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Science, United States)
Stephanie Meakin (Inuit Circumpolar Council -Canada, Canada)
Glenn Peters (CICERO- Center for International Climate and Environmental Research, Norway)
Pitseolalaq Moss-Davies (Inuit Circumpolar Council -Canada, Canada)
Jon L. Fuglestad (Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme - AMAP, Norway)

The proposed session is dedicated to Arctic change and how to adapt to the foreseen changes. Climate, environmental, and socio-economic drivers may interact and amplify the difficulty in making decisions in an unpredictable and rapidly changing Arctic. Cumulative changes may increase existing pressures in the Arctic, while others may bring new opportunities. This is the main content of the Arctic Council project “Adaptations Actions for a Changing Arctic” under the lead of AMAP. AACA will look at Arctic change towards 2030 and 2080. AACA will produce three regional reports; Baffin Bay/davis Strait and Bering/Beaufort/Chukchi regions as two of them. The regions include bot marine and terrestrial areas. The project will lay the scientific foundation for making adaptation decisions about the future of the Arctic in the face of ongoing and future climate, environmental, and socio-economic changes. We plan presentations related to projections for sea-ice and permafrost as part of the update of the Snow, Water, Ice and Permafrost in the Arctic (SWIPA) assessment, regional examples of Arctic change as part of the AACA project and socio-economic scenarios. These cumulative changes may increase existing pressures in the Arctic, while other changes may bring new opportunities. Will the climate impacts on e.g. biodiversity and livelihoods outweigh the opportunities? Assessments in the Arctic have mostly focused on single drivers: Climate, acidification, persistent organic pollutants, health, biodiversity, oil and gas exploration and development, to name just a few. These assessments have provided valuable information, but there is currently little understanding on how these drivers of change may interact. The integrated assessment of multiple drivers is necessary to inform stakeholders and decision makers as they respond to a changing Arctic. Arctic marine and terrestrial biodiversity, humans and culture is likely to respond and adapt to Arctic change and we want to present and discuss the likely ecological, cultural and socioeconomic changes.

T45. The Interface Between Science and Policy in the Arctic: New Perspectives on Knowledge to Action.

David Hik (University of Alberta, Canada)
Chris Furgal (Trent University, Canada)
Aynslie, Ogden (Government of Yukon, Canada)

There is a growing body of literature about the factors influencing the science-policy interface and relationships that tend to lead to best practices and outcomes. An understanding of these relationships is increasingly valuable for Arctic research initiatives, where increasing emphasis is being placed on the ‘knowledge-to-action’ continuum.

Institutions play an important mediating role in access to knowledge at the local level and in translating local knowledge for acceptance and utilization in regional and global scientific reports and policymaking. Increasingly, evidence suggests that an effective science policy is more likely to be driven from a regional perspective, rather than by national agencies. Local (e.g. community, territorial) interest in and support for science is greatest when it addresses a local perception of risk and when it generates multiple outcomes that match locally identified needs.

Knowledge is often presented or disseminated to various stakeholders very differently. Differences in capacity within stakeholder or knowledge user groups have varying abilities to translate the knowledge often leads to confusion or misinterpretation (i.e. state of the art science and technology of offshore oil exploration). The time-lag in effective translation and uptake of research results are substantial and may be the result of several factors including the accessibility of data, the history of the research paradigm and the practical relevance of the research for various users within society. Scientists and decision makers need to find ways to support each other in identifying the most effective ways to use and translate research results on urgent issues, such as climate change, into action at the local, region, national and international levels.

This session will examine some of the advances that have been made in successfully building strong connections between research and policy communities. Topics of specific interest include (but not limited to), the role of science advisors; methodologies to ensure the co-design and co-production of knowledge; and communication tools to improve the relevance and utility of research outcomes for policy and decision making in the Arctic.

T46. The Pacific Arctic Region: Physical Forcing and Ecosystem Response

Takashi Kikuchi (Japan Agency for Marine-Science and Technology - JAMSTEC, Japan)
Jacqueline Grebmeier (University of Maryland, United States)
Sung-Ho Kang (Korea Polar Research Institute - KOPRI, South Korea)

Over the last few decades the Pacific Arctic region has warmed and freshened significantly, coincident with major reductions in seasonal sea ice cover, in response to shifts in ocean and atmospheric forcing. These changes demonstrate the regional vulnerability to climate perturbations, the interconnectivity of the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas via the northward inflow through Bering Strait, and dynamic up-welling/down-welling episodes at the continental slope and through the canyons in these connected seas. Physical and biogeochemical modifications of the Bering Strait inflow over the Chukchi shelf occurs and the modified Pacific-origin water is transported both to the Arctic Basin and eastward to the Beaufort Sea, and beyond to the global oceans. Numerous national and international scientific programs have being conducted by the Pacific sector countries (Canada, China, Japan, Korea, Russia and the United States), along with private industry. These programs are rapidly increasing our sampling capability and understanding of the environmental roles on the Pacific Arctic region.

In this session, we encourage contributions on emerging results from field and modeling studies, which implicates ocean-atmosphere interactions including sea ice dynammics/thermodynamics, physical and biogeochemical processes in the water column and recycling processes in the sediments, and biological response throughout the marine food web influenced by Pacific-origin water transited across the region. Topics on changes to external forcing that may promote marine species shifts or evidence of major ecosystem reorganizations are also welcome. This multidisciplinary and international session will provide a state of the art evaluation of the environmental status and trends in the Pacific Arctic region, including the connectivity among physical forcing, biogeochemical cycling, biological response, ecosystem modeling and social-economic interactions.

T47. Understanding the Role of Ocean, Sea-ice and Atmosphere in Arctic Climate

Sheldon Bacon (NOC Southampton, United Kingdom)
Cynan Ellis-Evans (UK Arctic Office, United kingdom)

Changes in the Arctic, including the unprecedented rapid decline in Arctic sea-ice cover over the past decade have the potential to affect global climate through albedo feedbacks (surface and/or cloud) as well as changes in atmosphere and ocean circulation. The removal of sea-ice enhances ocean to atmosphere heat fluxes, particularly in autumn, with the potential to cause substantial changes in atmospheric circulation. Increased fresh water inputs to the Arctic Ocean induced by global warming and changes in atmospheric forcing could increase freshwater export from the Arctic and impact the global thermohaline circulation. There is a growing recognition of the Arctic’s diverse influences on lower latitudes and the need to understand the underlying drivers and processes in order to reduce uncertainties and develop more effective models of Arctic climate. In this session we invite contributions, both oral and poster, regarding all aspects of Arctic Ocean, atmospheric and sea-ice science and the interactions of these three Arctic components in driving Arctic climate processes.

T48. We Don’t Need Housing, We Need Homes: Social, Economic, Environmental, Cultural, Health and Well-Being Dimensions of Housing Needs in the Arctic

Christina Goldhar (Nunatsiavut Government, Canada)
Mylène Riva (Université Laval, Canada)
Peter Bjerregaard (National Institute of Public Health, University of Southern Denmark, Copenhagen, Denmark and Greenland Centre for Health Research, University of Greenland, Nuuk)

Insufficient and inadequate housing in the Arctic is a critical issue that has drawn increasing attention from researchers, policy-makers and the Canadian and International public at large in recent years. The availability of affordable, adequate, suitable, accessible, culturally-appropriate, sustainable and secure housing for all is a key determinant of health and social and economic well-being. Inappropriate housing conditions in northern communities contribute to existing barriers to education, employment and self-determination. Overcrowded and inadequate housing has also been shown to cause stress and other psychosocial consequences, manifesting in negative mental and physical health outcomes that may lead to unhealthy means of coping such as substance abuse. Additional connections have been shown demonstrating the need for unique housing designs that are suited to the northern climate and other environmental conditions, in addition to local lifestyles and cultural preferences. Meeting these requirements will help ensure northern residents live in warm homes that they desire, that are free from mould, major repair needs and associated health and safety concerns. The current need to build flexible, adapted infrastructure that will meet the demands of a changing climate further challenge the performance and lifespan capacity of northern housing.

This session will provide a medium for dialogue and knowledge-sharing regarding northern housing from a broad range of international perspectives and disciplines including economic, environmental, social, cultural, health and others. A holistic, multi-disciplinary approach to housing is needed to inform the development of appropriate and sustainable housing and housing policy for the benefit of northern communities and northern peoples.

T49. Why the Health Care System Needs to be Closer to the Inuit Perspectives

Michèle Therrien (Institut national des langues et civilisations orientales (INALCO), Paris, France)
Johanne Morel (Université McGill - Hôpital de Montréal pour enfants, Canada)
Minnie Grey (Nunavik Regional Board of Health and Social Services, Canada)

Enormous resources are invested in medical services in the Arctic whether they be financial, physical or human. In spite of these massive investments, socially determined health inequalities persist. Most healthcare workers come from cultures foreign to those of the north. Could it be that their limited appreciation of the magnitude and the significance of the cultural gap hinder their effectiveness as health care providers?

Healthcare personnel are hired to relieve people of suffering; they are trained in Western medicine and related sciences. Their appreciation and knowledge of the local culture and language remain very superficial. And then, their most important tool is their own language. When words do not carry their intended meaning, when words are misunderstood in either direction of the medical exchange, things can go incredibly array with dissatisfaction at both ends.

In a recent forum, the elder Elashuk Pauyungie from Salluit (Nunavik) said that in order to better work together, southern workers will need to listen to what the Inuit have to tell them.

In order to improve the outcome of the efforts deployed in providing services to the Arctic populations, the health care system should consider promoting cultural sensitization of the southern workers. This can be done through active listening of those who are willing to share significant cultural aspects as well as the needs, priorities and values of the population, be they Inuit leaders, elders or co-workers.

Discussing health practices and medical knowledge, most Inuit stress upon how to develop a strong mind and a resilient body, the main concern being life and consciousness in all their dimensions. Health and techniques aimed to prevent physical or psychic disorders are part of a broader discourse relying on inherited conceptions and values including new practises and statements. Life and health being approached globally, the body is to be put in close relation with all experiences including quality of relations to the humans, to the environment, to the animals and to the deceased. The power of words is strongly emphasized as spoken words can greatly help a sick or a distressed person. We will shed light on Inuit testimonies from Nunavut and Nunavik and hear from Inuit attending the session.

T50. Arctic Search and Rescue

Mr. Ron Kroeker (National Search and Rescue Secretariat, Policy and Programs, Canada)
Mr. John Madden (Alaska Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services, United States)
Ms. Leah Braithwaite (Canadian Ice Service, Canada)

The Arctic is experiencing increased transportation pressures driven by growing northern economic development activity and perceived improvements in accessibility, particularly for maritime travel. The current and forecast expansion of these activities has led to heightened concerns about Search And Rescue (SAR) capacity in the Arctic. At the 2011 Ministerial Meeting of the Arctic Council, the Agreement on Cooperation on Aeronautical and Maritime Search And Rescue (ASAR) was signed obliging member states to establish “adequate and effective search and rescue capability”. Often SAR response services are multi-jurisdictional and rely on a range of primary, secondary, voluntary and private resources and this can be particularly true in the Arctic where the territory is vast, the environment harsh and changeable, and existing infrastructure is very modest. In this Session, presentations are invited which illustrate best practices; case studies; training and education programs; local efforts to mitigate SAR requirements and/or enhance SAR capacity; and examples and opportunities for international collaboration to build responsive and sustainable Arctic SAR programmes.

T51. Arctic Freshwater Systems

Prof. Vincent St. Louis (University of Alberta, Canada)
Prof. Igor Lehnherr (University of Toronto, Canada)

Climate models predict that, given current rates of greenhouse gas emissions, autumn and winter temperatures and precipitation are projected to rise substantially in Arctic regions. Such warming and wetting, coupled with extended growing seasons, is anticipated to greatly alter Arctic watersheds and impact freshwater ecosystems through increased glacial melt, permafrost thaw, altered surface runoff regimes, reduced ice cover and increased net primary production. This session will explore impacts of warming northern watersheds on freshwater processes and resources vital for securing food, clean drinking water and traditional lifestyles for Northern peoples.