June 18, 2007

ArcticNet to create international alliance to study climate change impacts on circumpolar regions

A Canadian-led initiative will bring together Arctic research networks from Russia, Norway, France and the United States provide the most completere picture yet of the impact of climate change on the entire Arctic region. The federal Networks of Centres of Excellence (NCE) has awarded the ArcticNet NCE $815,000 to create an international alliance of Arctic research networks, where scientists will share technical expertise and data on the region of the world most affected by climate change.

"We cannot get an accurate sense of the circumpolar scale changes happening in the Arctic by limiting ourselves to studying just the Canadian Arctic. Whether it's the Canadians, Americans or others, we all need an Arctic synthesis of what's going on. By focusing on only the Canadian Arctic, we miss half the picture," Dr Louis Fortier, ArcticNet's scientific director, explained.

During 2007 and 2008, ArcticNet investigators and students will work aboard a Russian icebreaker in the Siberian Sea, effectively doubling their access to the Arctic Ocean. Their partnership with the Russia-led Nansen-Amundsen Basin Observational System (NABOS) Network will give Canadian investigators privileged access to data from that network's long-term oceanic observatory, which records temperature, salinity, water velocity/direction and ice draft in the Siberian Arctic Ocean. As well, ArcticNet and NABOS, along with Norway's ARCTOS Network and France's DAMOCLES Network, are co-ordinating their oceanic observatories into a network that will provide an unprecedented view of the peripheral circulation that dictates the oceanic heat balance in the Arctic basin.

ArcticNet brings together scientists in the natural, human health and social sciences and decision-makers with their partners in Inuit organizations, northern communities, government and industry to help Canadians face the impacts and opportunities of climate change and globalization in the Arctic. Over 110 ArcticNet researchers and 300 graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, research associates and technicians from 28 Canadian universities and five federal departments are collaborating on 30 research projects with more than 100 partner organizations from Canada, the U.S., Japan, Denmark, Norway, Poland, the United Kingdom, Spain, Russia, Greenland and France.

More information is available from ArcticNet executive director Martin Fortier, 418/656-5830, Web site www.arcticnet.ulaval.ca.

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