European Union Arctic Cluster
With a focus on implementing appropriate policies on climate change, sustainable development and innovation the European Union has emphasised and invested in the need for better understanding of the challenges the Arctic is facing.
Such understanding includes the potential impact of Arctic change in mid-latitudes. Over the past ten years the EU has invested around €200m in Arctic-related research, maintaining funding levels under the Horizon 2020 Programme for Research and Innovation (2014-2020).
The EU Arctic Cluster is a network of Horizon 2020 projects that identify the most up-to-date fundings on Arctic change and its global implications and provide guidance and advice to policy makers. Researchers from the UK are closely engaged in these projects and are leading projects and individual work streams. Although the NERC Arctic Office does not lead on individual elements, we work closely with those national and international partners who do. Further details on the Arctic Cluster and the individual projects can be found here [www.eu-arcticcluster.eu]
The Multi-Disciplinary drifting Observatory for the study of Arctic Climate programme (MOSAiC) is the first year-round expedition into the central Arctic Ocean to explicitly study the Arctic climate system.
Led by AWI in Germany, in close cooperation with AARI in Russia and the University of Colorado in the United States, with participation from many other countries, it offers the opportunity to make a step-change in in-situ observations and contribute to understanding the regional and global consequences of Arctic change. Starting in October 2019, the expedition will see the RV Polarstern frozen into the Arctic sea ice and then drift across the top of the Arctic Ocean, conducting an enormous range of marine, atmospheric, biological and other research from the floating platform, field camps and advanced remote and autonomous vehicles. It is expected the vessel will complete its drift by October 2020.
The NERC Arctic Office worked closely with BEIS to secure funding (£500,000) for UK researchers to join the vessel during the expedition phase. NERC subsequently announced a special £1.8m call for research projects. Further details are available here. Details of the successful UK components should be known later in Spring 2018. The NERC Arctic Office will continue to work closely with the project team in AWI and other partners to ensure the maximum possible potential for UK engagement.
Svalbard Integrated Arctic Earth Observing System (SIOS)
SIOS is a regional observing system for long-term measurements in and around Svalbard addressing Earth System Science questions. SIOS aims to integrate the existing distributed observational infrastructure and generate added value for all partners.
SIOS will bring observations together into a coherent and integrated observational programme that will be sustained over a long period. Within SIOS, researchers can cooperate to access instruments, acquire data and address questions that may not be practical or cost effective for a single institution or nation alone.
A structure is developing to help deliver these aims. Including a Knowledge Centre based at the University in Svalbard (UNIS) and a range of Working Groups focusing on infrastructure, data-management and many other key issues.
The NERC Arctic Office has been involved since the initiation of SIOS and hopes to be to able to join SIOS as an Observer in the near future now it has moved to Consortium status. We look forward to continuing to play an appropriate role in its future development.