ENVINET (European network for arctic-alpine multidiciplanary environmental research) is a research infrastructure network focusing on multidisciplinary environmental research in Europe. The network involves representatives from 18 environmental research infrastructures from the European Alps to the Arctic, representatives of their users and representatives from relevant international organizations and networks. The participating infrastructures cover a broad range of environmental sciences primarily within atmospheric physics and chemistry as well as marine and terrestrial biology.
The ENVINET project directory covers data and observation activities at these stations.
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Arctic study of trophospheric aerosol, clouds and radiation
Important progress has been made in recent decades to describe and understand how arctic terrestrial vertebrate interact, especially concerning predator-prey interactions. Indirect interactions between different prey species modulated by shared predators (e.g. Arctic fox) are believed to have important impacts on the structure and/or dynamics of some communities. Yet, our understanding of these types of interactions is still fragmentary. To fill that gap, we will build on ongoing projects exploring related questions in Canada (Marie-Andrée Giroux, Nicolas Lecomte, Joël Bêty) and Greenland (Olivier Gilg, Niels M. Schmidt), while taking advantage of existing networks (ADSN in North America and “Interactions” program in Greenland and Eurasia). The aim of the project is to promote the implementation of several common protocols that will (1) improve each collaborator’s knowledge at the site level and, more importantly, that will (2) be merged across sites and years to improve our understanding of the functioning and the influence of indirect interactions on arctic vertebrate communities in general.
Five types of data have been identified (by the 5 initiators of the project already mentioned above) as being mandatories to answer questions related to this topic. These data sets will be collected using 5 specific protocols described in the following chapters:
FUVIRC will serve ecosystem research, human health research and atmospheric chemistry research by providing UV monitoring data and guidance (i.e. calibration of instruments, maintenance of field test sites), research facilities (laboratories and accommodation), instruments and equipment.
The main objective of the facility is to enhance the international scientific co-operation at the seven Finnish research stations and to offer a very attractive and unique place for multidisciplinary environmental and atmospheric research in the most arctic region of the European Union. Factors such as, arctic-subarctic and alpine-subalpine environment, northern populations, arctic winters with snow, changes in the Earth's electromagnetic environment due to external disturbances and exceptionally long series of observations of many ecological and atmospheric variables should interest new users.
The GeoBasis programme collects data describing the physical and geomorphological environment in Zackenberg, North East Greenland. This includes meteorology, carbon flux and energy exchange, snow cover and permafrost, soil moisture, –chemistry and nutrient balance, hydrology, river discharge and – sediment
NILS is a nation-wide environmental protection programme that monitors the conditions and changes in the Swedish landscape.
The programme started in 2003 and includes field inventory and aerial photo interpretation of permanent sample plots in all types of terrestrial environments.
NILS is mainly funded by the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency and an important objective is to provide information for follow-up of the Swedish national environmental objectives and the Natura 2000 network. NILS also contributes data to environmental research and international reporting.
This station is one of many international stations in Ny-Aalesund, Svalbard. Traditionally research has focussed on the ecology of barnacle geese. The research now includes monitoring of plant production, vegetation change, insect phenology, arctic terns, snowbuntings, barnacle geese, reindeer and arctic foxes. Regular guests are Dutch institutions for marine research like IMARES and NIOZ and researchers from NIOO and VU.
The main objective is to study adaptations to climate warming and understanding dynamics of animal and plant populations.
The study of the OH layer between about 80 to 95 km altitude reveals important infomation about the mesopause region. An interesting information, which can be drawn from the relaxation of chemically excited OH molecules, is the rotational temperature of this layer, which forms the boundary between mesosphere and thermosphere. Under certain circumstances, the rotational temperature of the OH molecules can be related to the ambient temperature of the air at the mesopause region. The OH molecules are formed by the reaction of O3 and H2, which leaves the OH molecules at a highly excited vibrational state. The course of the deexcitation is still subject of discussion and will be studied using a FTIR spectrometer, which is able to observe the transistions reching from the higlhy excited state to the ground state of the OH molecule. The ground state of the OH molecule can be observed by LIDAR. A method to do this will be developed in a project at the Universität Bremen in cooperation with the AWI Potsdam.
As part of the Austrian radioactivity monitoring network an air sampler and a high resolution radioactivity detection system is installed at the high altitude Sonnblick Observatory (3105 m). The objective is to monitor the radioactivity in air at high altitudes.
The project, Arctic and Alpine Stream Ecosystem Research (AASER), started within EU’s Climate & Environment Programme and now continues with national funding, primarily Norway, Italy and Austria. The objective is to study dynamics and processes in rivers systems in Arctic and Alpine regions. Emphasis is given to the relationships between benthic invertebrates and environmental variables, especially in glacier-fed systems and in relation to climate change scenarios. On Svalbard research is concentrated around Ny Ålesund, particularly Bayelva and Londonelva. In 2004 the focus will be on the use to stable isotopes to detect transfer processes within and between ecosystems.
GAW serves as an early warning system to detect further changes in atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases and changes in the ozone layer, and in the long-range transport of pollutants, including acidity and toxicity of rain as well as the atmospheric burden of aerosols.
Monitoring of direct deposition. Project is run by Finnish Meteorological Institute (FMI).
In order to estimate the effect of rising global temperatures on organic carbon (OC) stocks in the temperature-sensitivity Arctic environment, our project aims at investigating the transfer of terrestrial OC from permafrost soils to the Arctic Ocean. Detailed compositional analyses of bulk soil and sediments along a transport trajectory combined with compound-specific isotopic (13C and 14C) analysis of selected lipid biomarkers will be used to study alteration processes of organic matter occurring in the soil and its during transport. Sub-goals include to a) identify suitable biomarkers for soil organic carbon in permafrost soils, b) determine residence times of selected biomarkers in permafrost soils, fluvial and marine sediments, and c) quantify carbon transfer from source (soil) to sink (marine sediment) and its timescale.
In contrast to many other marine regions, chemical interactions between organisms in Arctic waters are little understood. This project investigates natural products and chemical interactions in the sponge genus Haliclona in temperate and polar waters. Several new secondary metabolites isolated from Haliclona show feeding deterrence and activity against bacteria and fungi, but the compound composition varies with habitat and year. That raises the question whether sponges of the genus Haliclona as a model are able to adapt to changing environmental factors such as water temperature and colonization by bacteria by varying their secondary metabolite composition.
The objective of our work with arctic terrestrial plants and with algae is to study the range of climate adaptation as is expressed in special ultrastructure of cells and tissues, in photosynthetic metabolism, in antioxidative and sun screen compounds under a cold and reduced PAR / UV-B environment (climate different to alpine conditions). This is a comparison of ecophysiological processes already worked out mainly from high alpine plants, which live periodically under stronger cold and under different light regimes, especially higher UV-B and PAR irradiation. We want to find out, whether adaptations found in some alpine organisms occur similarly in polar forms.
The effects of stratospheric ozone depletion and of global warming on the marine biosphere are still underexplored, especially in the Arctic. Seaweeds are very important primary producers but are strongly susceptible to enhanced UV radiation and elevated temperatures, especially their spores. The UV susceptibility of spores has previously been invoked to determine the depth distribution of seaweeds. Therefore, we will investigate the effect of different radiation and temperature conditions on the ultra-structure, physiology and biochemistry of spores from various brown and green algae growing in different water depths. Moreover, we will study competition between zoospores of various species of brown macroalgae in order to get an insight about biotic factors structuring seaweed communities and also to explain more clearly the present seaweed zonation pattern.
The objective of the project was the investigation of englacial melt water channels of Svalbard glaciers in order to find in situ organic material within glacier caves. Specified organic material found beneath glaciers was meant for radiocarbon dating and creation of reliable geochronologies of glacier recessions with considerable smaller glacier termini than present on Svalbard. First radiocarbon dating results ever from organic material found under a glacier’s bottom of glacier Longyearbreen will be published this year. The different moss species ranging from Tomentypnum nitens, Sanionia uncinata, Distichium spp., Syntrichia ruralis gave ages between 1900 and 1100 cal yr BP (Humlum et al., 2004).
The project IOANA proposes to better understand the intimate coupling between ozone mixing ratios and particulate nitrate isotopic characteristics. Ozone Depletion Events which occur in Arctic coastal locations shortly after sunrise are a subject of interest per se (scientifically challenging for two decades) but also provide a context in which ozone mixing ratios are highly variable, enabling to characterize the dynamic of correlation and process studies with a resolution of a day. This is a first step towards the use of the isotope tool in reconstructions of the oxidative capacity of the atmosphere. This programme is a preparation of the IPY-OASIS project and propose to coodinate a set of collaborations than will be effective duing the International Polar Year.
The effects of biofilm settlement on corrosion resistance of stainless steels in polar seawaters are not well known. In warmer conditions (Mediterranean sea) biofilm increases both the risk of localised corrosion onset and the propagation rate of corrosion attack. Corrosion tests carried out in Antarctica demonstrated that biofilm growth at about 0°C induced electrochemical effects less important than those occurring in warmer conditions. On the contrary, corrosion tests performed in similar environmental conditions at Ny-Aalesund (Svalbard) showed more severe corrosion attack than in Antarctica. This research aims: - to define the influence of biofilm on stainless steel corrosion resistance in polar seawater in the range of temperature between -1 and +5 °C, - to define if change in salinity can influence corrosion process, - to identify stainless steel grades which can be acceptable in such conditions (polar seawater seems to be somewhat less corrosive, which gives the possibility to use cheaper stainless steels).
The polar ionosphere is sensible to the enhancement of the electromagnetic radiation and energetic particles coming from the Sun expecially around a maximum of solar activity . Some typical phenomena can occur such as, among the others, geomagnetic storms, sub-storms and ionospheric irregularities. In this frame the high latitude ionosphere may become highly turbulent showing the presence of small-scale (from centimetres to meters) structures or irregularities imbedded in the large-scale (tens of kilometers) ambient ionosphere. These irregularities produce short term phase and amplitude fluctuations in the carrier of the radio waves which pass through them. These effects are commonly called Amplitude and Phase Ionospheric Scintillations that can affect the reliability of GPS navigational systems and satellite communications. The goal of this proposal is to contribute to the understanding of the physical mechanisms responsible of the ionospheric scintillations as well as to data collecting for nowcasting/forecasting purposes at high latitude. As the scarceness of polar observations, the specific site near Ny-Ålesund is of particular experimental interest.