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Topical Sessions

With 36 sessions covering a wide range of Arctic research topics, Arctic Change 2008 will be a major international venue for scientific exchange across broad Arctic research disciplines in natural, human health and social sciences.

Please click on the session titles below to access the session Co-chair and abstract information.

T01. Impacts of Climate Change on Arctic Trophic Interactions and Ecosystem Services?

Co-chairs
Gilles Gauthier, Université Laval, Québec, Canada
Nigel Gilles Yoccoz, University of Tromso, Tromso, Norway

Climate change is strongly affecting Arctic ecosystems, as the distribution, abundance, and interactions of species are altered. Changes in species assemblage, either through the decrease or disappearance of Arctic species or the invasion of new ones, will interact with trophic interactions such as herbivory, predation and parasitism, leading to cascading effects on ecosystem services such as hunting, reindeer herding or tourism. The speed of response to changing conditions will also vary among trophic levels, which may cause a mismatch in the timing of seasonal events between herbivore and their food plants or predator and their prey, leading to further disruption of the trophic dynamics. Arctic ecosystems, where food webs include a relatively small number of species, are especially sensitive to these changes. Although some of these changes are already apparent, predicting their outcome on ecosystem services is exceedingly complex due the paucity of information on the functioning of arctic food webs. As several International Polar Year projects attempt to fill this knowledge gap at numerous sites in the circumpolar world, this session provides an opportunity to review progress made to date and to identify challenges still ahead. The session will focus primarily on terrestrial ecosystems and will encompass a large diversity of human communities, ecosystem services and terrestrial food webs throughout the circumpolar world. Contributions from aquatic ecosystems are also welcome.

T02. Climate Change, Natural Hazards, Health and Well-being in the Arctic

Co-chairs
James D. Ford, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Chris Furgal, Trent University, Ontario, Canada

Natural hazards are part of life in the Arctic. Oral histories recollect stories of hunters who drifted away on ice floes in dangerous sea ice environments, who suffered significant hardship when access to traditional food was constrained, and of communities destroyed by storms. At the same time, stories exist of Arctic peoples enduring exceptional environmental conditions and developing innovative and unique methods for adapting to variable and threatening conditions. While exposure to hazardous conditions has been somewhat moderated in a contemporary setting, indigenous residents throughout the circumpolar north have noted changes in the magnitude and frequency of natural hazards in recent years. These changes have had implications for safety while hunting and traveling, and in some instances have compromised food security and other components of individual and community well-being. To date, the majority of hazards research in the Arctic has focused on the nature of, and change in, biophysical conditions themselves in terms of their magnitude, frequency, and spatial distribution. Notwithstanding the physical focus of hazards research, recent years have witnessed the emergence of new approaches which focus on how human interaction with biophysical conditions shapes hazard exposure and change. This is consistent with broader trends in hazards research. This session will focus on how the interaction between the environment and human behaviour shapes hazard exposure in the circumpolar north, and how this interaction is changing over time as a consequence of climatic and societal change. In particular, papers will focus on physical risks associated with such things as hunting and traveling, hazards posed to communities, food security, and approaches to assessing hazard vulnerability.

T03. Climate Change and Arctic Contaminants

Co-chairs
Gary Stern, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
Peter Outridge, Natural Resources Canada, Canada

Climate change has already had measurable impacts on key environmental processes and characteristics in the Arctic, including sea-ice cover, precipitation, permafrost melt, aquatic productivity, and new species introductions. Only within the last decade has it has been realized that these changes may, in turn, significantly impact the pathways, fate, bioaccumulation and toxicity of chemical contaminants in the Arctic. These impacts can affect human contaminant exposure, by altering bioaccumulation in traditional wild foods.

This session will showcase the newly-realized science exploring the linkages between recent climate warming and major contaminants. The focus will be on understanding the pathways, fate and mechanisms involved, the magnitude of climate’s influence compared to changing emissions, and the likely future consequences of further warming for contaminants in Arctic food chains.

T04. Community-Based Research Initiatives as an Interface for Inuit and Scientific Knowledge Exchange

Co-chairs
Mary Simon, President, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, Ottawa, Canada
Duane Smith, President, Inuit Circumpolar Council, Ottawa, Canada

Communication with Co-Chairs via:
Meghan McKenna, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami,
Pitsey Moss-Davies, Inuit Circumpolar Council,

Community involvement in arctic research, including the incorporation or consideration for Indigenous Knowledge, has become a goal and expectation among many northern research organizations, governments, Inuit organizations, research networks, funding agencies, and northerners themselves. Significant progress has been seen in terms of improving community-researcher relationships, and developing unique approaches to community-based and community-driven research in the past decade. However, many of the lessons learned regarding the processes of engaging communities and methods used to bring together or exchange knowledge between Inuit and non-Inuit researchers remain underreported. Many researchers and policy makers alike, argue that only through truly cooperative approaches to work, drawing on the best available knowledge at hand, can many of the increasingly complex arctic environmental and health issues be adequately addressed.

This session will showcase community-based projects or initiatives that have successfully developed an interface for knowledge exchange between Inuit and non-Inuit scientists. We invite abstract submissions not based on research topic, but rather with a request to focus on issues of community-based research approaches, methods employed, lessons learned, and recommendations to ensure practical outputs that benefit both the northern and research communities. We propose this session in an effort to contribute to objectives within both ArcticNet and the International Polar Year to facilitate discussion on: i) engaging communities and scientists in research that helps to answer complex questions; ii) communicating and applying research results to benefit northern communities and decision-making; and, iii) ways that Inuit knowledge can inform national and international science and policy.

T05. Inuit and the Evolving Circumpolar Arctic Science and Policy Agendas

Co-chairs
Mary Simon, President, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, Ottawa, Canada
Duane Smith, President, Inuit Circumpolar Council, Ottawa, Canada

Communication with Co-Chairs via:
Meghan McKenna, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami,
Pitsey Moss-Davies, Inuit Circumpolar Council,

Community involvement in arctic research, including the incorporation or consideration for Indigenous Knowledge, has become a goal and expectation among many northern research organizations, governments, Inuit organizations, research networks, funding agencies, and northerners themselves. Significant progress has been seen in terms of improving community-researcher relationships, and developing unique approaches to community-based and community-driven research in the past decade. However, many of the lessons learned regarding the processes of engaging communities and methods used to bring together or exchange knowledge between Inuit and non-Inuit researchers remain underreported. Many researchers and policy makers alike, argue that only through truly cooperative approaches to work, drawing on the best available knowledge at hand, can many of the increasingly complex arctic environmental and health issues be adequately addressed.

This session will focus on Inuit community and organization involvement and contributions to the evolving circumpolar Arctic science and policy agendas. With two invited speakers from international circumpolar programs, this session will highlight the connections between Inuit community-based research and the national, circumpolar and international policy arenas. As a component of the ArcticNet project on the science-policy interface, this session will investigate how community-based research is used to develop and design community, regional, national, circumpolar and international policy (i.e. what are the drivers of Arctic policy? How does circumpolar policy development affect communities? How can communities influence the policy development process to ensure sustainable decision-making?). This session aims to illustrate best practices of science and knowledge partnership, communication and how these get translated into sustainable decision-making to affect positive change from local to international levels.

T06. IPY 2007-2008 Research: Cryosphere / Hydrosphere / Atmosphere

Co-chairs
David Barber, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
Jean-Claude Gascard, Université Pierre et Marie Curie, Paris, France

International Polar Year 2007-2008 is the largest ever international program of polar research. Working with our circumpolar partners, Canada’s IPY funding is supporting projects and activities to advance the understanding of the physical, natural and human processes and changes taking place in the Arctic. The results of this work will provide a greater understanding of how to manage the impacts of climate change on health, well-being, traditions, culture and economic development in the north.

This proposed session arises from one of the priority issues for the north - climate change impacts and adaptation. The focus of this session will be on the physical sciences associated with the broad IPY research areas “cryosphere / hydrosphere / atmosphere.” The Government of Canada Program for IPY invites Canadian and international researchers to present the early results of their IPY research projects involving snow and ice, glaciers, permafrost, oceans, freshwater systems, weather, air pollution, etc.

T07. IPY 2007-2008 Research: Health and Well-Being of Northerners

Co-chairs
Kue Young, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Tiina Makinen, University of Oulu, Finland

International Polar Year 2007-2008 is the largest ever international program of polar research. Working with our circumpolar partners, Canada’s IPY funding is supporting projects and activities to advance the understanding of the physical, natural and human processes and changes taking place in the Arctic. The results of this work will provide a greater understanding of how to manage the impacts of climate change on health, well-being, traditions, culture and economic development in the north.

This proposed session highlights one of the priority issues for the north - health and well-being of northern communities. The focus of this session will be on the broad IPY research area “health and well-being of northerners.” The Government of Canada Program for IPY invites Canadian and international researchers to present the early results of their IPY research projects involving such topics as health disparity elimination, factors contributing to the health of Northerners, the health effects linked to climate variability, chronic and infectious diseases, etc.

T08. The Northern Biodiversity Paradox: Global Crisis yet Local Enrichment

Co-chairs
Dominique Berteaux, Université du Québec à Rimouski, Rimouski, Canada
Warwick Vincent, Université Laval, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada

The Arctic is the end-member of a declining biodiversity gradient that runs from the tropics to the North Pole. Climate warming is currently shifting this gradient to the North, with a predicted acceleration of biodiversity erosion at the global level. Local patterns, however, will be heterogeneous. Whereas the Arctic will lose its ice-dependent habitats and some of its species most adapted to low temperatures and short growing seasons, biodiversity in the Arctic will generally increase with the augmentation of primary productivity and the arrival of new species from the South. The speed and details of local impacts on ecosystem services are unknown and difficult to predict, especially on islands where contingence will have large effects. It is already clear, however, that biodiversity conservation in the 21st century Arctic will have to deal at least as much with invading Southern species as with declining Arctic species, in a context where adaptation strategies for habitat and biodiversity conservation may be limited. This session will examine some of the theoretical and practical facets of the Northern biodiversity paradox described above. The session will encompass terrestrial, freshwater and marine ecosystems, and will consider a variety of biological communities in the North, from microbes to plants and animals.

T09. Climate Change Studies in the Arctic: Perspectives from Young Scientists

Co-chairs
James D. Ford, McGill University, Ontario, Canada
Tristan Pearce, University of Guelph, Ontario, Canada

The last five years have witnessed a proliferation of studies characterizing the speed and magnitude of climate change in Arctic regions, documenting impacts, modeling future climate change, assessing vulnerability of human communities, and exploring policy options to promote sustainable development in the context of a changing climate. Large national and international initiatives such as ArcticNet and the International Polar Year have added new impetus to climate change studies in Arctic regions. Young scientists - including undergraduate and graduate students as well as young faculty - are at the forefront of efforts to advance our understanding of climate change impacts and vulnerabilities in northern regions. Moreover, many young scientists are in the vanguard of efforts to involve communities and build bridges between disciplines to address pressing scientific questions. This special session will provide a venue for young scientists working on climate change issues in the human, physical and health sciences to profile their work. A variety of papers will be accepted, including: empirical findings, conceptual overviews, discussion pieces, and policy reviews. In particular, the session will seek to recruit provocative papers which challenge conventional wisdom and research approaches, make linkages between scientific disciplines, and provide insights into the direction tomorrow's scientific leaders will take us.

T10. Community Adaptation and Vulnerability in Arctic Regions

Co-chairs
Barry Smit, University of Guelph, Ontario, Canada
Stephanie Meakin, Inuit Circumpolar Council-Canada, Ontario, Canada (TBC)

This session will bring together researchers, northerners, government representatives and others who are interested in the implications of climate change for people in Arctic communities. Presentations and discussion will address the ways that resources and livelihoods are affected by changing conditions and the adaptation strategies available to communities and governments.

T11. The Role of Sea Ice in Arctic Marine Ecosystem Processes

Co-chairs
David Barber, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
Louis Fortier, Université Laval, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada
Stig Falk-Petersen, Norwegian Polar Institute, Tromso, Norway

The arctic marine ecosystem has evolved over millions of years to take advantage of the timing and presence of sea ice. The dramatic reduction in the summer extent of sea ice affects sea ice dynamic and thermodynamic processes throughout the annual cycle. These changes in turn affect biological, chemical and geophysical processes operating across the ocean-sea ice –atmosphere (OSA) interface at a variety of time and space scales.

This session will examine the role which sea ice has on controlling light and heat in the marine system and the commensurate effects on trophic structure and interrelationships. We are particularly interested in papers which examine the way in which sea ice affects marine ecosystem function at a variety of trophic levels (e.g., microbes up through to mammals) across various benthic, pelagic, sympagic and sea ice habitats.

T12. The Law and Politics of Canadian Jurisdiction on the Arctic Ocean Seabed

Co-chairs
Michael Byers, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada
Ron Macnab, Canadian Polar Commission, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

The definition and exercise of seabed sovereignty are characterized by several facets, e.g. the construction of territorial sea baselines, the delimitation of maritime zones that circumscribe the seaward reaches of coastal state jurisdiction, the development of bilateral boundaries between neighboring states, and the rights and obligations of coastal and other states within different classes of maritime zones. In principle, the procedures for dealing with these matters are enshrined in international law, but in practice, their effective realization often entails political tradeoffs and adjustments.

This Session will explore recent and ongoing developments in Canada’s northern waters ranging from the Northwest Passage to the central Arctic Ocean, and their anticipated effects upon sovereign rights and responsibilities. Papers are sought that outline the current and expected impacts of: climate change; disappearing ice; new boundary determinations; resource exploration and exploitation; and international shipping. Presentations should include suggestions and proposals for Canadian and foreign action in implementing uni- and multilateral measures to deal with: traffic management and safety of navigation; resource extraction; environmental protection and disaster preparedness; security and law enforcement; marine scientific research; and other concerns.

T13. Arctic Genetic Resources: What are they and Who Benefits?

Co-chairs
Connie Lovejoy, Université Laval, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada
Michael Byers, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada

At the International level the Canadian delegation to the United Nations has been a leader in the consultative process on Oceans and the Law of the Sea, and in 2007 the focus was on Marine Genetic Resources. This process highlighted a number of uncertainties both nationally and internationally: firstly the definition of marine or other genetic resources is open to interpretation, second the ownership and stewardship of such resources is uncertain, and thirdly it was emphasized that there are different classes of genetic resources. Some resources are innately renewable, such as biotechnological conversion and exploitation of microbial gene products, while others are more finite and require management, for example harvesting living organisms. With increasing access to the Arctic and competing territorial, national, and international rights, the question of access to benefit sharing needs to be addressed as well. This session is aimed at exploring these and related issues. We solicit speakers knowledgeable in ecology and population biology, genetic engineering, biotechnology, traditional knowledge as it relates to resource exploitation, and international law.

T14. Quantifying the Carbon Balance of Arctic Ecosystems at Various Scales

Co-chairs
David Atkinson, Ryerson University
Neal Scott, Queen’s University
Paul Treitz, Queen’s University

With vast amounts of the global carbon pool stored in northern latitudes, climate-related changes to this reservoir could have major impacts on the global climate system. The release of this carbon could substantially increase the concentration of radiatively active gases, such as carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4), possibly generating a positive feedback to climate change. The distribution of carbon within arctic ecosystems, and the potential for that carbon to be converted to CO2, may depend on the distribution of plant community types. These plant communities are often organized across the arctic landscape in response to climate-related factors (e.g. precipitation). In spite of the importance of arctic ecosystems to the earth system, impacts from arctic warming on carbon reservoirs and land/atmosphere exchanges of carbon are poorly quantified. Studies examining components of the arctic carbon balance are often few and sporadic in the circumpolar north and regularly reveal large inter-annual and inter-site variability, making it difficult to generalize about the current status and future of the arctic carbon reservoirs. This session will examine efforts to improve our ability to quantify and monitor carbon reservoirs in the arctic at various spatial scales, and explore methods for scaling up site-specific studies to larger arctic regions. Topics can include measurement of terrestrial and aquatic carbon storage and fluxes, biophysical remote sensing, scaling of carbon cycle processes, modeling, and others.

T15. Freshwater Ecosystems, Aquatic Biodiversity and Sensitivity to Climate Change

Co-chairs
Scot Lamoureux, Queen’s University, Ontario, Canada
Warwick Vincent, Université Laval, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada
Fred Wrona, University of Victoria, Victoria, BC, Canada
Jim Reist, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

Two linked multi-disciplinary Canadian IPY projects, Arctic BioNet investigating aquatic biodiversity and landscape processes, and Climate Change Effects on Arctic Chars, are examining the effects of climate change on key aquatic habitats and biota through a combination of primary research, monitoring across landscapes (particularly latitude) as a proxy for possible climate responses, and the establishment of national and international networks to promote long-term observation of change. Project activities include establishing climate linkages to organismal biology and ecology (e.g., fishes and invertebrates), effects on habitats (e.g., permafrost degradation and tundra lake infilling), effects on key nodes and pathways in aquatic ecosystems (e.g., trophic structure shifts and accumulation of metals), and establishing appropriate baselines regarding aquatic biodiversity as the foundation for monitoring climate change effects throughout the Arctic. These research themes link ongoing activities involving government, university and northern native groups and are aimed to address needs identified in the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment, International Conference on Arctic Research Planning II, and the Sustained Arctic Observation Network.

T16. River-Ocean Interactions and Fluvial-Marine Mass Transfer in the North: Past, Present, and Future

Co-chairs
Sam Bentley, Memorial University
Steve Solomon, Geological Survey of Canada
Scott Lamoureux, Queens University

Rivers deliver water, nutrients, carbon, and sediment to the coastal ocean. This mass transfer is a major control on the dynamics of coastal currents, ecosystems, ice, shorelines, and seabeds, both close to the source, and farther afield. In northern settings, the effects of ice on both land and sea near the time of peak river flow can strongly steer and regulate transfer of water and dissolved and particulate material, yielding dispersal patterns that contrast strongly with the dynamics of more temperate rivers, which have been more widely studied, and are better understood. Temperature and runoff patterns in northern settings are now changing rapidly, factors which will in turn influence river flow and dispersal, as well as marine systems dependent on mass transfer from rivers. The consequences of this change cannot be reliably predicted from our present state of knowledge. The purpose of this session is thus to explore the state, context, and implications of changing fluvial-marine interactions in northern settings, from perspectives of scientists working in marine, terrestrial, and human realms.

T17. Observing Pan-Arctic Environmental Change

Co-chairs
Christian Haas, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Maribeth Murray, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Alaska, USA
Peter Schlosser, Columbia University, Palisades, NY, USA

The Arctic system is presently undergoing unprecedented change. This change is visible in the physical, biogeochemical, ecological and human components of the system. In order to act upon these changes and minimize adverse affects we have to characterize their scope and evolution, understand their causes and project them into the future. One major challenge in achieving these goals is the design and implementation of a pan-Arctic observing system that integrates across the physical, biogeochemical, and human domains. Initial steps towards such an observing system have been intensified during the International Polar Year.

This session presents results from existing elements of the emerging Arctic Observing System covering physical, biogeochemical, and human domains. The goal is to highlight close collaborations in cross-domain observational research and approaches to utilizing the observations in studies aimed at understanding Arctic Environmental Change. Contributions with emphasis on the integration of individual observing system components into an integrated network, observing system design, utilization of data from the Arctic Observing System in synthesis/modeling studies are encouraged. Results from the International Polar Year, as well as contributions that that utilize observational data for the development of mitigation and response strategies are especially encouraged.

T18. Marine Productivity and Biogeochemical Fluxes in the Changing Arctic

Co-chairs
Jean-Éric Tremblay, Université Laval, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada
Simon Bélanger, Université du Québec à Rimouski, Rimouski, Quebec, Canada
Paul Wassmann, University of Tromso, Tromso, Norway

The extent of sea ice over the Arctic Ocean plummeted to a conspicuous record low in September 2007, confirming the acceleration of the decline initiated during the 20th century. Changes have also been observed in the large-scale oceanic circulation and the heat influx from the Atlantic Ocean to the Arctic. The incidence and intensity of synoptic storms is on the rise and globally, freshwater discharge increases in the Arctic coastal zone. With the added contribution of permafrost melting, rivers deliver increasing amounts of terrigenous dissolved and particulate organic matter to the marine ecosystem, altering the carbon and nutrient budgets of the Arctic Ocean. The joint impacts of these changes on primary production, food webs and the biogeochemical cycling of key elements in the Canadian Arctic are presently unknown. Living marine resources play a crucial role in the culture, nutrition and economy of Inuit and will likely be impacted in unforeseen ways. This session will focus on, but is not restricted to, the interactive effects of environmental forcing on marine productivity, food webs, and the transformation and fate of organic matter, including horizontal and vertical fluxes of carbon and nitrogen.

T19. Sea-Ice-Atmosphere Interactions and Climate in a Changing Arctic

Co-chairs
Michael Scarratt, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Mont-Joli, Québec, Canada
Maurice Levasseur, Université Laval, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada
Tim Papakyriakou, University of Manitioba, Winnipeg, Manitoba

Cycles of elements and energy within the Earth system are closely coupled. Exchanges of climate-active gases and aerosols between the ocean surface and the atmosphere exert important feedbacks on the global climate system. Understanding which processes are important and constraining their magnitudes are essential for diagnostic and prognostic models of contemporary and future climate. This session focuses on recent research developments from Arctic waters including, but not limited to, the Arctic SOLAS (Surface Ocean - Lower Atmosphere Study) program. We invite papers on the physical, chemical and biological processes underlying climate-relevant ocean-atmosphere interactions and feedbacks. Topics of interest include biogeochemical cycling of climatically important elements and gases in the water and ice, and the influence of oceanic gas and particle emissions on atmospheric chemistry, aerosol dynamics, and climate.

T20. Land Surface Processes and their Climate Interactions in High-Latitude Regions

Co-chairs
Laxmi Sushama, University of Quebec at Montreal, Montreal, Québec, Canada
Anne Frigon, Ouranos, Montreal, Québec, Canada

High-latitude regions, with their innumerable lakes, wetlands, rivers and permafrost, are particularly challenging for modeling. The presence of substantial surface water in the form of lakes and wetlands impact regional climate through changes in the surface albedo, surface energy and moisture budgets. These interactions, though important, are difficult to investigate due to the scarcity of relevant observations and the complexity of the underlying processes and feedbacks. This session is targeted at addressing these issues and we encourage contributions related to land surface modeling in high-latitudes including lakes, wetlands, vegetation, snow, permafrost, analysis of models and observations (validation and process studies), and land climate interactions in the context of climate change.

T21. Climate Change and Quaternary Evolution of the Arctic

Co-chairs
Guillaume St-Onge, Université du Québec à Rimouski, Rimouski, Canada
André Rochon, Université du Québec à Rimouski, Rimouski, Canada

Our knowledge of climate variability and natural hazards for the Arctic is restricted to the instrumental records, which covers approximately the last 50 years at the most. In order to better constrain the rate of change and help in the forecasting and modeling of future trends, we must have access to longer time-series. The geological record can provide such time-series. In this session, we invite paleoclimatic studies dealing with the reconstruction of past climatic changes in the Arctic at all timescales. We also encourage contributions regarding past changes in sea-level, marine geohazards, as well as contributions dealing with the Quaternary evolution of the Arctic.

T22. CANDAC, PEARL, and Atmospheric Measurements in the Canadian High Arctic

Co-chairs
Kimberly Strong, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
William Ward, University of New Brunswick, New Brunswick, Canada

The Canadian Network for the Detection of Atmospheric Change (CANDAC) brings together researchers and resources dedicated to addressing the issues of air quality, climate change, and ozone depletion over Canada (see www.candac.ca). The initial focus of activities has been the revitalization of measurements in the Canadian High Arctic. Towards this goal, CANDAC has established the Polar Environment Atmospheric Research Laboratory (PEARL) at Eureka, Nunavut (80?N, 86?W), 1100 km from the North Pole. The PEARL complex now consists of three facilities: the main PEARL observatory situated 610 m above sea level and 15 km from Environment Canada’s Eureka weather station; the Zero-altitude PEARL Auxiliary Laboratory (OPAL) located next to the weather station at sea level; and the Surface and Atmospheric Flux, Irradiance and Radiation Extension (SAFIRE) located in undisturbed terrain about 5 km from the weather station. More than 20 instruments are permanently installed, including radars, lidars, spectrometers, interferometers and radiometers, with other instruments on site on a campaign basis.

PEARL is a unique national and international resource that is used for a variety of atmospheric research programs, including several for International Polar Year (IPY). Research at PEARL is divided into four major themes: Arctic Tropospheric Transport and Air Quality; The Arctic Radiative Environment: Impacts of Clouds, Aerosols, and “Diamond Dust”; Arctic Middle Atmospheric Chemistry; and Waves and Coupling Processes. In addition to these four themes, PEARL instrumentation is used extensively for satellite validation and has a protocol for monitoring sudden atmospheric events at high latitudes. This session invites contributions regarding atmospheric research at PEARL, including instrumentation, measurements, data analysis, modelling studies, and scientific findings. Contributions describing related atmospheric studies at other High Arctic observatories are also welcome.

T23. Education, Communication and Outreach – Linking Research to Public Policy and Environmental Awareness

Co-chairs
Lucette Barber, Schools on Board, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
To be confirmed

This session will inform the audience on key features, best practices, and ideas for creating outreach opportunities that fit their interests and resources. It will challenge researchers of all disciplines to think about ways that they can effectively communicate their work to the public.

The session will open with introductory remarks from an NSERC representative, on the importance of scientific outreach, from the perspective of a national funding agency followed by remarks from a northern representative, on the importance of outreach from a community education and capacity-building perspective.

The session will be composed of 5 speakers representing a wide continuum of outreach programs (national and international) from the following categories: 1) effective research partnerships between scientists and schools, 2) unique field experiences, 3) successful community-based monitoring and mentoring programs, 4) public education and 5) outcomes from IPY – sustaining the momentum!

The session will be complemented by a specific ‘call for posters’ to outreach projects and initiatives, aimed at engaging the participation of a wider range of programs, organizations, and individual researchers. Schools on Board will provide funding for a poster award that will recognize individuals and groups who are leaders in scientific outreach.

T24. Hudson Bay: New Findings and Directions for Future Study

Co-chairs
Robie W. Macdonald, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Sydney, BC, Canada
Zuzu A. Kuzyk, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
Steven Ferguson, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

Hudson Bay is a large, estuarine, shelf-like sea at the southern margin of the Arctic. Given its location, the Bay is in the vanguard of polar change and likely provides an early-warning sentinel for change in the Arctic Ocean and its surrounding drainage basins. Indeed, reduction and change in ice cover seems already underway in Hudson Bay with consequences for marine mammals, polar bears and marine food web structure (cod-capelin-murres). Accompanying the change in ice cover is alteration of river discharge, either directly though water diversion or indirectly through change in permafrost, wetland processes and the hydrological cycle. The oceanographic changes that may result from altered freshwater inputs (both ice and river runoff) are still largely unknown. However, recently, there has been a re-invigorated research effort to study all aspects of Hudson Bay through large, multi-year projects like MERICA and ArcticNet. Data emerging from such studies promise not only to revise what we know about Canada’s largest inland sea, but also to offer timely insights into how the Bay functions, how it is changing and how it might respond to future change. In this session we wish to bring together the researchers from diverse disciplines to present new findings in Hudson Bay, especially as they pertain to changing systems.

T25. Changes in Tundra Ecosystems: Impacts and Implications

Co-chairs
Prof. Greg Henry, University of British-Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada
Prof. Esther Levesque, Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières, Quebec, Canada
Prof. Peter Lafleur, Dept of Geography, Trent University

Tundra ecosystems are showing responses to recent climate change that are substantiated by responses to long-term warming and other experimental manipulations. The changes in the structure and function of these terrestrial Arctic ecosystems will have consequences for northern peoples, through changes in ecosystems services, and for the planet as a whole, through changes in carbon and energy balance. This special session will bring together the latest research results on responses of tundra ecosystems to climate variability and change including: carbon and energy balance; biodiversity; plant ecophysiology; soil processes; and modelling. The session will provide an opportunity to review, among others, some of the first results from International Polar Year (IPY) projects linked to the International Tundra Experiment (ITEX), a core project in the IPY.

T26. Role of Arctic Marine Mammals in Northern Ecosystems and Cultures

Co-chairs
Steven Ferguson, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
Jeff Higdon, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
Lisa Loseto, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Sidney, BC, Canada

Arctic Marine mammals such as seals, walrus, whales, polar bears, and Arctic foxes play important ecological, social, cultural and nutritional roles in Arctic ecosystems. Many of these species are adapted to sea-ice conditions, and Inuit hunters have learned to use these habitats as well for subsistence harvesting. However these high-latitude marine systems are currently undergoing pronounced changes, with dramatic sea ice declines in many areas. Environmental changes may have marked effects on marine mammal ecosystems, which will in turn have distinct effects on northern cultures. Many Arctic marine mammals occupy top trophic positions and thus can be viewed as sentinels of marine ecosystem health. Examining health and condition in marine mammals may provide valuable information about ecosystem alterations in structure that may otherwise be difficult to document. Working with northerners to monitor changes in their subsistence hunts will provide an Arctic observation network that will improve science while empowering Inuit culture. In this session we bring together researchers representing diverse views on marine mammals, their ecosystems, and global warming. New marine mammal research findings will be presented that relate to how the Arctic can adapt to acute change.

T27. Monitoring and Modelling of Arctic Coastal Processes

Co-chairs
Paul Overduin, Alfred Wegener Institute, Germany
Wayne Pollard, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Arctic coasts are unique interfaces where permafrost terrain, ice-covered seas, and distinctive atmospheric conditions meet. Rapid coastal change has been documented in many places throughout the circumpolar region and accelerated change is anticipated under a warming climate. Paleoclimate evidence suggests that past episodes of varying ground temperatures, more or less sea ice, and other environmental changes have occurred in the past. Understanding the interactions between thermal, geotechnical, hydrodynamic, and sea ice processes is critical for successful modelling and projection of coastal change in this environment. This session invites contributions on the full range of coastal water-ice-land-atmosphere interactions occurring in the Arctic coastal zone, efforts to monitor and track changes in these processes, and how they contribute to the development and validation of Arctic coastal models.

T28. Arctic Coastal Communities and Resources: Assessing and Adapting to Environmental Change

Co-chairs
Don Forbes, Natural Resources Canada, Dartmouth, NS, Canada
Northern and European co-Chairs to be confirmed

Climate warming and resulting changes in environmental conditions are already recognized along Arctic coastlines. Rising temperatures and sea-levels, reduced sea ice, increased wave attack, melting permafrost, and other trends can interact to create hazards, challenge traditional lifestyles and practices, and threaten the stability of coastal communities, infrastructure, and resources. Scientific understanding of past and future environmental changes and impacts can help to inform policy and decision-making at regional and local levels and ultimately minimize the impacts of these changes. This session invites papers that examine the implications of environmental change for Arctic coastal communities and ecosystems, assess the adaptive capacity and resilience of northern residents and communities, and address the interface between science, planning, adaptation policy, and decision-making to prepare for change.

T29. Impacts of Severe Arctic Storms and Climate Change on Arctic Coastal Oceanographic Processes

Co-chairs
Will Perrie, Fisheries and Oceans Canada
John Gyakum, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

The focus of this session is coastal oceanographic processes in areas such as the southern Beaufort Sea, and related waters of the Arctic, driven by intense storms and severe weather. These areas are important because the use of the coastal marine and terrestrial environment by Northerners is an integral part of their life style, and these environments are being impacted by coastal erosion, related to marine storms that tend to be getting stronger. These areas are also undergoing hydrocarbon exploration with potential development within the next decade. We are concerned with detailed simulations of the coastal oceanographic processes, waves, storm surges, currents, and marine winds, and related nearshore coastal erosion and sediment transport. Factors such as open water and ice, and the oceanic surface fluxes can modulate storm development and winds. Changes and variability in Arctic storm tracks and intensity, associated with climate change may further endanger coastal settlements and the expected use of coastal marine environments.

Relevant topics include (but are not limited to) fine-resolution simulations of Arctic storms to study the key Arctic processes, and coupled ice-ocean-atmosphere-wave models to study Arctic storms and coastal ocean processes, including winds, waves, currents, ice, storm surges, erosion and sediment transport. The effects of climate change are expected to have impacts on coastal ocean processes and the wave climate, and in turn, on communities, life style, aquatic species, and activities related to offshore resource development. Relevant time-scales for studies of these issues are synoptic, seasonal, inter-annual and decadal.

T30. Arctic Sea-Ice and Weather: From Science to Operational Prediction

Co-chairs
Douglas Bancroft, Canadian Ice Service, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
CDR Raymond Chartier, NOAA, Washington D.C., USA (To be confirmed)

Sea-ice aerial extent reached an all-time low in the summer/fall of 2007 and further reductions are predicted, thus making Arctic waters more accessible for shipping and resource exploration and extraction while at the same time reducing environmental predictability for traditional marine activities. As Arctic sea-ice and weather conditions continue to change, accurate forecasts will become increasingly important to a variety of users while at the same time, more challenging to produce. These forecasts are required for a range of spatial and temporal scales. Geographically, they are needed at both community and regional levels and temporally, they are required daily, seasonally, and all the way to strategic (20-30 year) scales. In this session, the types of environmental monitoring required - both what is available and gaps - to support modeling and forecasts will be discussed. As well, the capacity of coupled ice/ocean/atmosphere models to predict environmental conditions will be examined. Additionally, examples of variety of existing and anticipated prediction services for the Arctic will be considered.

T31. Remote Sensing of Arctic Marine Ecosystems

Co-chairs
Pierre Larouche, Fishereis and Oceans Canada, Mont-Joli, Quebec, Canada
David Barber, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

In the context of a forecasted disappearance of the summer arctic ice cover, it is crucial to improve our understanding of how this polar marine ecosystem will evolve towards a new equilibrium and how northern societies can develop adaptation strategies to face such change. However, despite major efforts from the research community over the last 10 years (SHEBA, NOW, CASES, ArcticNet, CFL, DAMOCLES, SEARCH…), the arctic marine ecosystem is still undersampled compared to other oceanic basins. For many applications (e.g. ice, surface temperatures, winds, ocean currents), remote sensing is now a fully matured research tool that can be used not only for ecosystem monitoring but also to acquire an in depth knowledge of major physical and biological processes.

In this session we seek papers which examine how remote sensing can be used to examine physical and or biological processes associated with variability and change in the Arctic system (marine and terrestrial). Integration of field observations, scaling issues and multiplatform sensor data are encouraged.

T32. Arctic Climate Feedbacks: Atmospheric Composition and Long Range Transport of Chemical Constituents

Co-chairs
Jean-Pierre Blanchet, Eric Girard and René Laprise
Institute of Environmental Sciences and ESCER, UQÀM, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

The Arctic is one of the most sensitive regions of the world for climate change. Many feedback processes are playing important roles in determining the evolution of climate at high latitudes. Most of them are due to water in one form or another: ocean, sea ice, snow, clouds, water vapour, haze, rivers flows, etc. Other factors depend on environmental conditions: atmospheric stability, storm activities, chemical composition, long diurnal-seasonal cycles etc. The IPY has shed a renewed perspective on the Arctic environment in term of climate processes and feedbacks. Intensive new measurements from campaign, ground stations and new satellites, as well as significant developments in modelling climate processes, all have given us a welt of high quality information that have advanced our understanding of the Arctic and its relation to lower latitudes. This session invites researchers to present a summary of their findings on climate feedback related issues in an interdisciplinary context, susceptible to help decision makers and to guide initiatives in the development of the North.

T33. Linking Communities and Scientists in Monitoring Long-Term Environmental Change

Co-chairs
Ryan K. Brook, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine & Faculty of Medicine, University of Calgary
Susan Kutz, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Calgary

There are currently a wide range of approaches to developing baseline and long-term monitoring programs for assessing change in northern regions. While many community-based approaches and empirical studies that utilize more conventional science-based methods often share common goals, there remains a considerable need to identify ways of developing a common framework to use these different approaches together. Some disagreement between these different approaches is perhaps inevitable, but approaches are being developed to resolve or even prevent conflicts between communities and scientists. We invite researchers that use community based or empirical methods to participate in order to generate a dialogue regarding challenges and opportunities related to bridging these two approaches.

T34. Seafloor Mapping of the Arctic Ocean, Continental Shelves and Margins

Co-chairs
Ron MacNab, Canadian Polar Commission, Ottawa, Canada
John Hughes-Clarke, University of New Brunswick, Fredericton, New-Brunswick, Canada
Steve Blasco, Geological Survey of Canada, Dartmouth, Nova-Scotia, Canada

Accelerated interest in polar regions research extends to the seafloor. High resolution seabed mapping is being driven by a wide range of issues including sovereignty, navigation, resource development, biodiversity assessments, and IPY initiatives. Seafloor mapping has been greatly facilitated by the development and application of digital sonar and optical technologies including sidescan and multibeam systems and LIDAR which not only generate detailed charts of seabed bathymetry and maps of seabed morphology but provide acoustic classification maps of the composition of the seabed. Integration of acoustic and optical data with groundtruth from photographic imagery; and sediment, bottom feature and benthic community sampling is resulting in a much clearer understanding of seabed processes both spatially and temporally. The seabed of the Polar regions is much more dynamic than previously realized. Application of seabed mapping technologies is leading to the identification of ecologically and biologically significant benthic communities, observation of seabed scouring by the keels of pressure ridges, icebergs and glacial ice streams, submarine slumping, faulting, mud volcanism, fluid venting and sediment mobility. This session provides a unique forum for polar scientists actively involved in seabed mapping research to present and discuss state-of-the-art technology, research results and opportunities for future collaboration.

T35. Measurements and Numerical Modelling of Precipitations in Cold Climates

Co-chairs
I. Gultepe, Environment Canada, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
R. Rasmussen, NCAR, Boulder CO, USA
J. Milbrandt, Environment Canada, Quebec, Quebec, Canada

Accurate precipitation measurements in cold climates are very important to validate numerical forecasts and climate model simulations but can be difficult due to the uncertainties involved in measuring snow and freezing particles. Cold temperatures and smaller precipitation intensities together with unknown particle shape and density can affect the precipitation rate calculations as well as related microphysical parameterizations. Uncertainties in precipitation rate measurements in the Arctic regions need to be estimated before being used for model validations. If precipitation rates cannot accurately be obtained for snow, results from climate and forecasting simulations used for snow precipitation rate validations will be questionable. This suggests that 1) microphysical parameterizations in the current models should be re-evaluated to better represent the surface precipitation amounts and 2) surface precipitation rate calculations and measurements should be improved, especially for light snow conditions.

This session will accept abstracts related to both measurements and modeling aspects of precipitation of snow, ice particles, and freezing droplets in the Arctic regions and mid-latitudes.

T36. Recent Advances in Coupled Physical/Bio-Geochemical Modeling in Polar Seas

Co-chairs
Bruno Zakardjian, Université du Sud Toulon-Var, France
Vincent Le Fouest, Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS), Oban, Scotland

Our understanding of the deep changes occurring in polar seas is severely impeded by the lack of long-term time series and synoptic field observations, mainly due to harsh weather conditions and cost of sampling in remote northern regions. By recognizing this urgent need, the IPY has favored the setup of major observation and monitoring programs to gain new critical observations about the major oceanographic processes in the Arctic and its ancillary seas. Given the complexity of the marine ecosystem, including multiple food webs associated with heterogeneous physical regimes, a better understanding and predictive capacity of marine ecological processes and associated geochemical fluxes in the Arctic should combine remote sensing, real-time monitoring and 3D physical-biological-geochemical modeling, the latter being in this context a critical integrative tool. Numerical modeling systematically accounts for the basic interactions among physical, biological and geochemical variables and the full range of oceanic variability at various spatial and temporal scales, filling gaps where key bio-geochemical and ecological processes occur but data are lacking. The goal of this session is to discuss recent advances in the field of coupled physical-bio-geochemical modeling in polar seas and the links with monitoring and field observations. Spatial and temporal timescales should range from local to pan-Arctic and from paleo-environmental studies to climate prediction models. Topics of interests include but are not limited to: 1) interactions between sympagic and pelagic ecosystems; 2) carbon and nutrient cycling and budgets; 3) effects of freshwater runoff; 4) fate of terrestrial DOC; 5) pelagic/benthic coupling.

 

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