Advanced Observation of
Arctic Environmental Change
For Accurate Scientiﬁc Understanding of the Arctic Environment
Arctic warming influences not only the Arctic region but also the entire globe. However, the actual state and processes of the various changes in the Arctic environment due to global warming have not yet been understood sufficiently. Hence, there is still a lack of the accurate information that provides a basis for measures such as assessment reports. The lack of scientific knowledge is also related to uncertainties in future predictions.
In order to accurately understand Arctic environmental changes, it is necessary to conduct observations using advanced instruments in the Arctic wide-area and long-term research activities based on international cooperation.
Four Research Programs based on Field Observations
Strategic Goal 1 consists of four research programs in the fields: Atmosphere, Ocean, Cryosphere, and Land. We will conduct field observations with the aim of understanding the actual state of environmental changes.
The atmospheric research program aims to understand the behaviors and sources of black carbon and various other aerosols (anthropogenic and natural aerosols) in the Arctic and their impacts on radiation and clouds. This program also aims to understand and quantify the behaviors and sources/sinks of greenhouse gases (GHGs) by measuring their concentrations and isotope ratios and performing numerical modeling.
The ocean research program’s goal is to elucidate the transport processes of water masses originating from the North Pacific and North Atlantic Oceans, respectively, by combining comprehensive observation methods and pan-Arctic sea ice-ocean modeling. This program also aims to clarify the marine environment in the marginal and multi-year ice zones that have been difficult to access.
In the cryosphere research program, field observation, satellite observation, and numerical modeling will be conducted in the Greenland Ice Sheet as the primary target area to quantify the change in surface mass balance and to elucidate the past warmings and their environmental impacts. This program will also assess the effects of aerosols emitted from the seasonal sea ice area around the Greenland coast on the atmospheric chemical environment and cloud-formation processes.
The land research program aims to identify the response of biodiversity to global warming through field observations in the high-latitude tundra. The program also aims to identify the forest-permafrost interaction and elucidate the dynamics of the pan-Arctic terrestrial ecosystems and GHGs based on the long-term observations of the boreal forests. Furthermore, field observations and regional climate modeling will be conducted to understand the environmental changes in the permafrost and periglacial regions.
Wide-area Observations from an Advanced and Long-term Perspective
The distinctive feature of Strategic Goal 1 is its focus on systematic and wide-area observations from an advanced and long-term perspective. In the atmosphere research program, it is expected to reduce uncertainties in Arctic climate prediction by quantifying the actual state of Arctic warming and interaction between atmospheric pollutants and cloud microphysics.
The ocean research program will contribute to the conservation and sustainable use of fish stock as well as ecosystem-based fishery resource management. The program also contributes to improving sea ice-ocean forecasts and navigation support along the Northern Sea Route. Research on the Greenland Ice Sheet by the cryosphere research program is expected to improve knowledge on the global influence of Arctic warming such as sea-level rise. The land research program aims to elucidate the cycle of substances such as greenhouse gases, with attention to the structure and function of the Arctic ecosystem.