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Toward an Integrated Arctic Observing Network (2006)

Chapter:Front Matter

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2006. Toward an Integrated Arctic Observing Network. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/11607.
×

TOWARD AN INTEGRATED ARCTIC OBSERVING NETWORK

Committee on Designing an Arctic Observing Network

Polar Research Board

Division on Earth and Life Studies

NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES

THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS
Washington, D.C.
www.nap.edu

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2006. Toward an Integrated Arctic Observing Network. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/11607.
×

THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS
500 Fifth Street, N.W. Washington, DC 20001

NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance.

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. OPP 0408590. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

International Standard Book Number 0-309-10052-6

Additional copies of this report are available from the
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Copyright 2006 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.

Printed in the United States of America

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2006. Toward an Integrated Arctic Observing Network. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/11607.
×

THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES

Advisers to the Nation on Science, Engineering, and Medicine


The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone is president of the National Academy of Sciences.


The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. Wm. A. Wulf is president of the National Academy of Engineering.


The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Harvey V. Fineberg is president of the Institute of Medicine.


The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy’s purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone and Dr. Wm. A. Wulf are chair and vice chair, respectively, of the National Research Council.

www.national-academies.org

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2006. Toward an Integrated Arctic Observing Network. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/11607.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2006. Toward an Integrated Arctic Observing Network. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/11607.
×

COMMITTEE ON DESIGNING AN ARCTIC OBSERVING NETWORK

W. Berry Lyons (Chair),

Ohio State University, Columbus

Keith Alverson,

Global Ocean Observing System Project Office at the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO, Paris

David Barber,

University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Canada

James G. Bellingham,

Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, Moss Landing, California

Terry V. Callaghan,

University of Sheffield, UK; Abisko Scientific Research Station, Sweden

Lee W. Cooper,

University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Margo Edwards,

University of Hawaii, Honolulu

Shari Gearheard,

University of Western Ontario, Canada

Molly McCammon,

Alaska Ocean Observing System, Anchorage

Jamie Morison,

Polar Science Center, Seattle, Washington

Scott E. Palo,

University of Colorado, Boulder

Andrey Proshutinsky,

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Massachusetts

Lars-Otto Reiersen,

Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme, Oslo, Norway

Vladimir E. Romanovsky,

University of Alaska, Fairbanks

Peter Schlosser,

Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Palisades, New York

Julienne C. Stroeve,

National Snow and Ice Data Center, Boulder, Colorado

Craig Tweedie,

University of Texas, El Paso

John Walsh,

University of Alaska, Fairbanks

NRC Staff

Paul Cutler, Study Director,

Polar Research Board

Matthew L. Druckenmiller, Science and Technology Policy Graduate Fellow (From September to December 2005)

Claudia Mengelt, Science and Technology Policy Graduate Fellow (From January to March 2005)

Rachael Shiflett, Senior Program Assistant,

Polar Research Board

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2006. Toward an Integrated Arctic Observing Network. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/11607.
×

POLAR RESEARCH BOARD

Robin Bell (Chair),

Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Palisades, New York

James E. Berner,

Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium, Anchorage

David Bromwich,

Ohio State University, Columbus

Calvin Robert Clauer,

University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

Jody W. Deming,

University of Washington, Seattle

Andrew G. Fountain,

Portland State University, Oregon

Richard Glenn,

Arctic Slope Regional Corporation, Barrow, Alaska

Jacqueline Grebmeier,

University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Sven D. Haakanson,

Alutiiq Museum, Kodiak, Alaska

Lawrence Hamilton,

University of New Hampshire, Durham

Larry Hinzman,

University of Alaska, Fairbanks

David Karl,

University of Hawaii, Honolulu

Stephanie Pfirman,

Barnard College, New York, New York

Diana Harrison Wall,

Colorado State University, Fort Collins

John Walsh,

University of Alaska, Fairbanks

James White,

University of Colorado, Boulder

Warren M. Zapol,

Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston

Ex-Officio

Mahlon C. Kennicutt II (U.S. Delegate to SCAR),

Texas A&M University, College Station

Patrick Webber (U.S. Delegate to IASC),

Michigan State University, East Lansing

Terry Wilson (Alternate U.S. Delegate to SCAR),

The Ohio State University, Columbus

NRC Staff

Chris Elfring, Board Director

Paul Cutler, Senior Program Officer

Maria Uhle, Program Officer

Matthew L. Druckenmiller, Science and Technology Policy Fellow (From September to December 2005)

Claudia Mengelt, Science and Technology Policy Graduate Fellow (From January to March 2005)

Rachael Shiflett, Senior Program Assistant

Andreas Sohre, Financial Associate

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2006. Toward an Integrated Arctic Observing Network. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/11607.
×

Acknowledgments

This report has been reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by the National Research Council’s Report Review Committee. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the institution in making its published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process. We wish to thank the following individuals for their review of this report:

F. Stuart Chapin, III, University of Alaska, Fairbanks

Robert Corell, American Meteorological Society, Washington, D.C.

Joan Eamer, United Nations Environment Programme GRID, Arendal, Norway

Joan Fitzpatrick, Group on Earth Observations, Geneva, Switzerland

Jean-Claude Gascard, Université Pierre et Marie Curie, Paris, France

Mark Parsons, National Snow and Ice Data Center, Colorado

Vladimir Ryabinin, World Meteorological Organization, Geneva, Switzerland

Charles J. Vörösmarty, University of New Hampshire, Durham

Although the reviewers listed above have provided constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the report’s conclusions or recommendations, nor did they see the final draft of the report before its release. The review of this report was overseen by Kenneth H. Brink, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. Appointed by the National Research Council, he was responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this report was carried out in accordance with institutional procedures and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content of this report rests entirely with the authoring committee and the institution.

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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2006. Toward an Integrated Arctic Observing Network. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/11607.
×

Contents

 

 

SUMMARY

 

1

1

 

INTRODUCTION

 

5

   

 The Need for Arctic Observations,

 

5

   

 Report Purpose and Structure,

 

9

   

 Complexities for Observing Network Development,

 

9

   

 Vision for the Arctic Observing Network,

 

10

   

 Implementation Context,

 

11

2

 

KEY VARIABLES TO MONITOR IN THE LONG TERM

 

13

   

 Definitions,

 

13

   

 Ways of Grouping Key Variables,

 

14

   

 Identifying Key Variables,

 

15

   

 Summary Table,

 

15

3

 

ARCTIC OBSERVATIONS: EXISTING ACTIVITES AND GAPS

 

20

   

 Existing Activities,

 

20

   

 Critical Gaps,

 

21

   

 Summary and Chapter Recommendations,

 

24

   

Annex 3A:   Examples of Existing Networks, Observatories, Data Centers, Satellites, Coordinating Bodies, and Programs,

 

25

   

Annex 3B:   Examples of Major Global and Regional Networks of Significance to the Arctic,

 

44

   

Annex 3C:   Examples of Data Capture and Accessibility within Networks and Platforms: Temperature and Cryospheric Variables,

 

57

4

 

DATA MANAGEMENT

 

62

   

 Desired Characteristics of the AON Data Management System,

 

62

   

 Data Management Strategy,

 

92

   

 Summary,

 

70

5

 

DESIGNING THE NETWORK

 

71

   

 Philosophical Considerations for Network Design,

 

71

   

 Characteristics of the Network as They Relate to the Mix of Network Components,

 

73

   

 Network Components,

 

73

   

 Where to Make Observations,

 

76

   

 The Role of Technology in the AON,

 

83

   

 Summary,

 

86

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2006. Toward an Integrated Arctic Observing Network. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/11607.
×

Figures, Tables, and Boxes

LIST OF TABLES

2.1

 

Key Variables and Key Indicator Variables,

 

16

Annex 3A

 

Examples of Existing Networks, Observatories, Data Centers, Satellites, Coordinating Bodies, and Programs,

 

25

3A.1

 

Examples of Currently Operating and Planned Arctic Networks,

 

25

3A.2

 

Examples of Currently Operating Arctic Observatories,

 

32

3A.3

 

Examples of Arctic-related Satellite Missions and Instruments Past, Present, and Planned,

 

34

3A.4

 

Examples of Arctic Data Centers, Archives, and Portals,

 

36

3A.5

 

Examples of Coordinating Bodies,

 

39

3A.6

 

Examples of Programs,

 

42

Annex 3B

 

Examples of Major Global and Regional Networks of Significance to the Arctic,

 

44

3B.1

 

Global Climate Observing System (GCOS) Network,

 

44

3B.2

 

Global Ocean Observing System (GOOS) Network,

 

45

3B.3

 

Global Terrestrial Observing System (GTOS) Network,

 

46

3B.4

 

Study of Environmental Arctic Change (SEARCH) Distributed Marine Observatories (DMO),

 

47

3B.5

 

SEARCH Detecting and Quantifying Unaami (DQU),

 

48

3B.6

 

SEARCH Distributed Terrestrial Observatories (DTO),

 

48

3B.7

 

SEARCH Large-scale Atmospheric Observatories (LAO),

 

49

3B.8

 

SEARCH Social and Economic Interactions (SEI),

 

50

3B.9

 

Scandinavian/North European Network of Terrestrial Field Bases (SCANNET),

 

50

3B.10

 

ArcticNet,

 

51

3B.11

 

Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS),

 

52

3B.12

 

Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme (AMAP),

 

54

3B.13

 

Earth Observing System (EOS) Terra and Aqua,

 

55

Annex 3C

 

Examples of Data Capture and Accessibility within Networks and Platforms: Temperature and Cryospheric Variables,

 

57

3C.1

 

Examples of Temperature Networks and Platforms,

 

59

3C.2

 

Examples of Networks and Programs for Cryospheric Parameters,

 

61

5.1

 

Comparison of Examples of Existing Arctic Observation Platforms,

 

74

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2006. Toward an Integrated Arctic Observing Network. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/11607.
×

LIST OF FIGURES

1.1

 

Evolution of the Arctic Observing Network,

 

8

3.1

 

Distribution of Argo floats, drifting buoys, and moored buoys in the world’s northern oceans on September 13, 2005,

 

21

3.2

 

Global distribution of stations in a network that measures ozone concentration in the atmosphere (data years 2002-2005),

 

22

6.1

 

Flow diagram showing how the four essential functions of the AON relate to each other and the broader stakeholders,

 

89

LIST OF BOXES

S.1

 

General Recommendations that Relate to Network Implementation and Operation,

 

4

1.1

 

Evidence of Climate Change in the Arctic,

 

6

1.2

 

History of Arctic Observations,

 

7

1.3

 

International Polar Year (2007-2008),

 

12

1.4

 

Global Earth Observation System of Systems,

 

12

3.1

 

Example of System-wide Gap: Albedo,

 

23

4.1

 

An Imaginary Journey Through the Arctic Observing Network Portal,

 

63

4.2

 

Comparison of Centralized and Distributed Data Holding Approaches,

 

65

4.3

 

Open Geospatial Consortium,

 

66

4.4

 

Metadata Concerns and How the AON Data Management System Could Help Address Them,

 

67

4.5

 

Desirable Traits for a Long-term Archiving System,

 

69

5.1

 

The Human Dimension of the Arctic Observing Network: Perspectives from Human Dimension of the Arctic System,

 

72

5.2

 

General Guidance on Incorporating Local and Traditional Knowledge into Observing Networks,

 

75

5.3

 

European Network for Arctic-Alpine Environmental Research,

 

77

5.4

 

Arctic Coastal Dynamics,

 

80

5.5

 

The Circumpolar Active Layer Monitoring Network: Lessons in Data Harmonization,

 

82

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2006. Toward an Integrated Arctic Observing Network. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/11607.
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Observable changes with regional and global implications, such as warming temperatures and reduced sea ice, are taking place across the Arctic. However, the record of Arctic observations suffers from incomplete geographic coverage and limited duration, and measurements are not well coordinated. This makes it difficult to comprehensively describe current conditions in the Arctic, let alone understand the changes that are underway or their connections to the rest of the Earth system.

The U.S. National Science Foundation asked for guidance to help design a pan-arctic observing network. This book outlines the potential scope, composition, and implementation strategy for an arctic observing network. Such an integrated, complete, and multidisciplinary environmental observing network will improve society's understanding of and ability to respond to ongoing systemic changes in the Arctic and its capability to anticipate, predict, and respond to future change both in the Arctic and around the globe. The network would build on and enhance existing national and international efforts and deliver easily accessible, complete, reliable, timely, long-term, pan-arctic observations. Because many potential components of the network already exist or are being planned, and because of the surge of activity during the International Polar Year, there is an immediate opportunity for major progress.

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