The purpose of the Sustaining Arctic Observing Networks (SAON) is to support and strengthen the development of multinational engagement for sustained and coordinated pan-Arctic observing and data sharing systems. SAON was initiated by the Arctic Council and the International Arctic Science Committee, and was established by the 2011 Ministerial Meeting in Nuuk.
The SAON inventory builds on a survey circulated in the community at the inception of the activity. This database is continously updated and maintained, and contains projects, activities, networks and programmes related to environmental observation in the circum-polar Arctic.
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The NCOP collects, analyzes, and disseminates observations and predictions of tidal currents for over 2,700 locations throughout the United States. The NCOP conducts annual tidal current surveys in various locations which deploy current meters for 30-90 days to acquire enough data to generate accurate tidal current predictions. Main gaps: NOAA maintains tidal current predictions at approximately 2,750 locations. However, there are little historical data north of the Aleutian chain, and those data are very old.
The NWLON is a network of long term stations whose fundamental purpose is to provide vertical control (tidal datums) that support a host of national requirements. In addition, the NWLON collects continuous water level data and provides observations and derived data products that support: marine transportation and navigation ( hydrographic charting surveys, shoreline mapping surveys, tide predictions, forecast water levels, real time observations, dredging projects, hazardous material spill response); global sea level rise studies, storm surge and tsunami detection and warnings, marine boundary determination (federal/state, state/private, state/state), coastal zone management activities, ecosystem restoration, and effective marine spatial planning. Main gaps: Gap analysis report completed in FY2008 identifying gaps based primarily on providing vertical (tidal datum) control. Largest gaps in Arctic region – gaps in data and information in Bristol Bay, Bering Sea, Bering Strait, Chukchi Sea, and Beaufort Sea areas.
The Bering Sea is an extremely rich ecosystem providing almost half of the US catch of fish and shellfish. EcoFOCI has four moorings (M2, M4, M5 and M8), which are an important component in the observational system, monitoring changes in the ecosystem. Data are used by ecosystem managers, modellers (model validation), and scientists. They provide critical information on the spatial temperature structure, timing of phytoplankton blooms, cold pool and presence of marine mammals. Main gaps: Expanding instrumentation to measure ice thickness, nutrients, oxygen, PAR, zooplankton biovolume and atmospheric variables to all four of the mooring sites. Increase vertical resolution of nutrients. Expand measurements northward into the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas.
To develop a coastal and ocean observing system in the Alaska region that meets the needs of multiple stakeholders by (1) serving as a regional data center providing data integration and coordination; (2) identifying stakeholder and user priorities for ocean and coastal information; (4) working with federal, state and academic partners to fill those gaps, including by AOOS where appropriate. Main gaps: AOOS and the data center are statewide activities, but thus far, available funding has limited observations and models primarily the Gulf of Alaska.
1) Annual monitoring of molting Greater White-fronted Geese (Interior refuges) 2) Waterfowl (primarily) breeding pair survey (MBM- done 1997, 2008-09) 3) Breeding Bird Survey (2 routes; annual, though not in 2009) 4) Alaska Landbird Monitoring Survey (2 plots; biennial) 5) Refuge moose population survey (annual) 6) Refuge wolf survey (annual as conditions allow; minimum census) 7) Henshaw Creek fish weir (annual; TCC = operator) 8) Stream gages (operational Oct 2009; will operate at least 6 years) 9) Snow markers (6 on refuge; checked monthly in winter; statewide??)
To inventory and monitor resources of the Yukon Flats Basin to achieve refuge purposes.
Track and analyze all bear/human conflicts for all circumpolar polar bear range states (countries). As a result of on-going and predicted future habitat loss, polar bears are expected to spend longer periods of time on land where they are susceptible to human disturbance. At the same time, human activity in coastal areas of the Arctic is increasing (e.g. oil and gas exploration, tourism) in conjunction with an increased number of nutritionally stressed bears occurring on land. The increasing trend of both polar bear and human use of coastal areas has the potential to result in increasing polar bear-human interactions. Harvest data indicates that defense of life kills have been increasing (USFWS unpublished data). To date, polar bear attacks have been rare but when they do occur, they evoke strong public reaction, especially for residents of communities within the range of polar bears. For sound management of polar bears to be implemented, and adequate protection afforded to people living, recreating, and working in polar bear country, it is imperative that polar bear managers assemble a database of critical information related to bear-human interactions. Interactions with humans may threaten polar bears by: (1) displacement from preferred habitats, such as denning, feeding and resting areas; (2) ingestion of or exposure to contaminants or toxic substances; (3) association of humans with food (food-conditioning) resulting in nuisance bears being killed due to safety concerns for local residents/workers. Polar bear managers can help maintain the current status of their polar bear populations by reducing lethal take of polar bears during bear-human interactions. To prevent escalating conflicts between polar bears and humans, bear-human interaction plans need to be developed and implemented. During the March 2009 Polar Bear Range States Meeting in Tromso, Norway the U.S. was tasked with taking the lead on developing a polar bear / human interaction initiative to address the anticipated future increase in interactions due to climate change. Tor Punsvik, Environmental Advisor, Office of The Governor of Svalbard, Norway and Dr. Terry D. DeBruyn, Polar Bear Project Leader, FWS, Alaska were requested by the Range States to develop a polar bear/human interaction database for the next Range States Meeting in Canada in 2011. It is anticipated that a draft database, populated with data from both the U.S. and Norway, will be ready by November 2009 for testing and comment by the Polar Bear Specialist Group (PBSG). The draft database will be distributed to PBSG members, comment sought, and a request made that members populate the database with pertinent polar bear/human incidents (of primary interest, initially, are records from each country that relate to the use of bear spray and fatalities (both bear and human) resulting from bear-human interactions). At a subsequent meeting of U.S. and Norway in spring 2010, the database will be updated and thereafter redistributed to the PBSG and Range State members. It is anticipated that data from all Polar Bear Range States will then be available for consolidation and validation in winter 2010 and ready to present at the Range States meeting in 2011. To ensure the success of the project, partnering with various agencies and pertinent groups in the range state countries will occur. The Polar Bear Range States parties agree on the need to develop comprehensive strategies to manage bear-human conflicts. Some existing strategies include active deterrence, reduction of attractants, and community education and outreach. Expertise developed for management of other bear species should be consulted in the development of strategies specific to polar bears. The parties agreed to exchange experiences with management of bear-human interactions. Two specific opportunities were identified to develop bear-human interaction strategies: the upcoming Bear-human Workshop in November 2009 in Canmore, Alberta, Canada and the Polar Bear Aversive Conditioning Workshop planned to be held in Alaska in 2010. The Polar Bear-Human Information Management System (PBHIMS) has been developed to standardize the collection of polar bear data across the Range States. This system provides a user-friendly data entry interface and the ability to analyze the collected data. Data stored in the system includes bear-human conflicts, bear observations, bear harvests, and bear natural history data. Scanned images of the original bear forms, narratives, reports, and photos can be attached to each incident to provide additional information that may not be captured in the system. Main gaps: Developed for use by USFWS; other range states are not using it yet.
(1) Monitor the subsistence and handicraft harvest of polar bears, sea otters and walrus; (2) Obtain essential biological data needed to manage; and (3) Help prevent the illegal take, trade and transport of specified raw marine mammal parts. The Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972 allows Alaska Natives to harvest marine mammals for subsistence uses. The Marine Mammal Protection Act (pdf) requires that all sea otter and polar bear hides and skulls, and all walrus tusks be tagged by a representative of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. This program is implemented through resident MTRP taggers located in coastal villages and communities throughout Alaska. There are more than 150 taggers located in about 100 villages. The information collected by the MTRP will help ensure the long-term survival of these species by monitoring the Native harvest and controlling the illegal take, trade, and transport of marine mammal parts. To find out how to contact taggers, call John Trent at 1-907-786-3815 or 1-800-362-5148. Main gaps: The MTRP harvest data are for 3 stocks of northern sea otter and, with data provided by Russian authorities, for the one stock of Pacific walrus. Polar bear harvest for the Chukchi Sea and southern Beaufort Sea polar bear stocks are for US communities only. Additional harvest occurs in Canada but is accounted for by the Inuvialuit-Inupiat Agreement of 1988. In the largest Alaska walrus harvesting communities, MTRP data are supplemented and independently assessed by a Walrus Harvest Monitoring Program (WHMP) that has existed, more or less continuously since 1960. This program also collects biological specimens. The contact for WHMP is Jonathan_Snyder@atfws.gov. Mr. Snyder is also in the Office of Marine Mammals Management, Region 7, USFWS MS 341 1011 East Tudor Road, Anchorage AK, 99503. Network type: Subsistence harvest data on polar bears and northern sea otters are collected from hunters in Alaska coastal communities.
Connect public health laboratories and institutes throughout the circumpolar north for the purposes of monitor infectious diseases of concern. Main gaps: russia
The HBSC network is a WHO supported research network on health and health behaviour in schoolaged children performing surveys every 4 years in 41 countries. The data are used in monitoring, research and health promotion. Network type: - Research network - Child health - Human & socio-economic - Location(s): Greenland and 40 other countries…..
To acquire atmospheric data in support of both the prediction and detection of severe weather and of climate trend and variability research. This serves a broad range of users including researchers, policy makers, and service providers. Main gaps: Long-term, atmospheric monitoring in the North poses a significant challenge both operationally (e.g. in-situ automated snowfall measurements) and financially (charterd flights for maintenance and calibration).Most monitoring in the North is limited to populated areas. Attempts to develop an AMDAR capacity out of First Air and Canadian North fleets failed due to economical and technical difficulties. As demonstrated through impact studies, benefits of AMDAR in the North would be tremendous, however would require acquisition and deployment of specialized sensing packages such as TAMDAR (which includes measurements of relative humidity), development of datalink capacity through satellite communications (e.g. Iridium), and upgrading some aircraft systems when possible, especially the aircraft navigation systems. Network type: Atmospheric observing stations over land and sea composed of: - Surface Weather and Climate Network: o In-situ land stations comprising both Hourly stations and Daily Climate observations - Marine Networks: o Buoys (moored and drifting) o Ships: Automatic Volunteer Observing System - Upper Air Network: o In situ (radiosonde) o In situ Commercial Aircraft (AMDAR)
Statistics Sweden has all relevant data related to population size, age structure, gender, births, deaths, and migration. The same types of data are collected for the whole country and are standardized for administrative units. Since the population data also contain the geographical coordinates for the place where each person lives, it is also possible to present the statistics for arbitrary geographical units. However, the official population and health statistics do not contain any information concerning which persons belong to the indigenous / non-indigenous population. In Sweden, this would be of relevance for studies of living conditions among the Sámi population. However, such studies have been conducted only in very specialized research projects based on the researcher’s own data collection and carried out in agreement with the Sámi people. Statistics Sweden reports on how many individuals enter and complete different levels of education. The statistics can be separated by geographic area. Statistics Sweden has data on unemployment and the distribution of incomes in different regions. Main gaps: No official statistics are easily available about the use of languages or about religious practices in general. For individuals with a foreign background, the country of birth, citizenship, and year of immigration to Sweden are registered. However, the official statistics do not separate the native indigenous from the non-indigenous population. Although the Sámi languages are officially acknowledged as minority languages, the trends concerning the number of people that speak and use them is not systematically monitored.
The Swedish Radiation Safety Authority (SSM) has 32 measurement stations distributed across Sweden, of which 16 are situated north of 60°N (Table 6, #6.1). They mainly measure radiation from radioactive compounds on the soil surface and automatically sound the alarm if the radiation increases. Every seventh month, radioactivity is measured on the soil surface at 4 to 5 spots in every municipality to check eventual radiation changes and to retain knowledge at an acceptable level (Table 6, #6.2). Special programs monitor 137Cs in humans (whole body), reindeer, fish, moose, and roe deer (Table 6, #6.3). The main incentive for this is the remains from the Chernobyl accident in 1986.
Estimates of human intake of environmental pollutions via food and drinking water are performed in cooperation with the National Food Administration (Table 4, #9.4). During 2006 an estimation of children’s intake of dioxin was finalized. The concentration of pollutants in groundwater wells is studied in cooperation with SGU and the National Board of Health and Welfare.
One focus of SEPA’s subprogram for human biological data concerns metals in human bodies (Table 4, #9.1). It includes studies on lead concentration in human blood, mercury in hair, and cadmium concentration in urine. Old hair samples have been collected and analyzed for mercury. Methyl mercury may damage the central nervous system, and at the fetal stage effects may occur already after low exposure. A study in Uppsala is investigating persistent organic compounds in breast milk. Concurrently, the young mothers answer a questionnaire, and hair samples are collected to analyze methyl mercury. Cadmium in urine is an indicator of the load on kidneys, and especially women with low iron storage have an elevated risk for increased cadmium uptake. A program on cadmium in women that started in Gothenburg, then expanded to Stockholm, Lund, and Umeå is under way. In 2007, a second round started in Gothenburg. A questionnaire is filled in concurrently with collection of a urine sample.
Organic compounds, especially persistent organic pollutants (POP), are of special interest and are included in one of SEPA’s subprograms (Table 4, #9.2). The subprogram includes different groups in the population. On military enlistment, young men are tested for persistent organic compounds in the body. Mercury content is measured in high consumers of fish, and the concentration of flame retardants is measured in samples of breast milk from women who breast-feed. The National Food Administration stores important data from control of pesticides in vegetables, where more than 2 000 samples are taken per year and residues from more than 200 different pesticides are analyzed. To date, no data have been analyzed and reported from this material, but it will be done in the first phase of this SEPA subprogram. Sampling of breast milk will continue with the intent to monitor organic environmental pollutants. Already existing is a long time series on the concentration of flame retardants and PCB in breast milk. Concurrently, samples will be transferred to the environmental sample bank at the Swedish Museum of Natural History (NRM), which means that samples will be available for comparison in the future.
Studies of human exposure to cancer-inducing air pollutants (Table 4, #9.3) are being conducted in Gothenburg, Umeå, Stockholm, and other sites. The importance of smoking habits, traffic, and other potential sources will be determined for a better risk evaluation. Measurements will be conducted according to a rolling schedule, with one city at a time and a group of 40 randomly chosen people, 20 to 50 years of age. The background concentrations in air will be followed at the same time. Exposure to nitrogen dioxide is particularly severe during winter. An estimate of the number of people exposed to nitrogen dioxide concentrations in excess of current limits is performed every fifth year. An improved method of calculation, i.e. the urban model, has been used since winter 2006/2007. The urban model will also be used to calculate the number of people that are overexposed to particles.