The NSF Arctic Observing Network

Twenty-one proposals were funded during the first NSF IPY competition. Combined with 13 existing projects funded through the long-term observing competitions begun in 1999, this results in 34 projects contributing to the Arctic Observing Network. By far the greatest number (15) are ocean and sea-ice related. Seven are atmospheric, four focus on hydrology and the cryosphere, three on terrestrial ecosystems, two on human dimensions, and two on data management (Table 1).

Table 1. Titles and URLs for AON projects.

Sea ice and oceans

Collaborative Research: North Pole Station: A Distributed Long-Term Environmental Observatory The Beaufort Gyre System: Flywheel of the Arctic Climate?

Design and Initialization of an Ice-Tethered Profiler Array Contributing to the Arctic Observing System Coordination, Data Management and Enhancement of the IABP

Ocean-Ice Interaction Measurements using Autonomous Ocean Flux Buoys in the Arctic Observing System

Comparison of Water Properties and Flows in the U.S. and Russian Channels of the Bering Strait - 2005-2006

IPY: Collaborative Research on the State of the Arctic Sea Ice Cover: An Integrated Seasonal Ice Zone Observing Network (SIZONET)

Ice mass balance buoy network: Coordination with DAMOCLES

Collaborative Research: A Modular Approach to Building an Arctic Observing System for the IPY and Beyond in the Switchyard Region of the Arctic Ocean

IPY: An Innovative Observational Network for Critical Arctic Gateways - Understanding Exchanges through Davis and Fram Straits

IPY: COLLABORATIVE RESEARCH: The Pacific Gateway to the Arctic - Quantifying and

Understanding Bering Strait Oceanic Fluxes IPY: Observing the dynamics of the deepest waters in the Arctic Ocean

IPY: Towards an Arctic Observing Network: An array of Ice-Tethered Profilers to sample the upper ocean water properties during the International Polar Year

IPY: Toward developing an Arctic Observing Network: An array of surface buoys to sample turbulent ocean heat and salt fluxes during the IPY

IPY: Collaborative Research: Aerial Hydrographic Surveys for IPY and Beyond: Tracking Change and Understanding Seasonal Variability Atmosphere

Core Measurements at Summit, Greenland Environmental Observatory

Collaborative Research: IPY: Cloud properties across the Arctic Basin from surface and satellite measurements - An existing Arctic Observing Network

IPY: Pan-Arctic Studies of the Coupled Tropospheric, Stratospheric and Mesospheric Circulation

Development of data products for the University of Wisconsin High Spectral Resolution Lidar

IPY: Collaborative Research: A Prototype Network for Measuring Arctic Winter Precipitation and Snow Cover (Snow-Net)

The Collaborative O-Buoy Project: Deployment of a Network of Arctic Ocean Chemical Sensors for the IPY and beyond

IPY: Halogen Chemistry and Ocean-Atmosphere-Sea Ice-Snowpack (OASIS) Chemical

Exchange During IPY UV Spectral Irradiance Monitoring at Barrow, Alaska, and Summit, Greenland

Hydrology and the cryosphere

Long-term Measurements and Observations for the International Arctic Research Community on the Kuparuk River Basin, Alaska

Thermal State of Permafrost (TSP): The US Contribution to the International Permafrost Observatory Network

IPY: Development of a Network of Permafrost Observatories in North America and Russia: The US Contribution to the International Polar Year Collaborative Research: IPY: Dynamic Controls on Tidewater Glacier Retreat Terrestrial ecosystems

Development and implementation of the terrestrial Circumarctic Environmental Observatories Network (CEON)

IPY: Collaborative Research on Carbon, Water, and Energy Balance of the Arctic Landscape at Flagship Observatories and in a PanArctic Network

IPY: Collaborative Research: Study of arctic ecosystem changes in the IPY using the International Tundra Experiment Human dimensions

IPY Collaborative Research: Is the Arctic Human Environment Moving to a New State?

International Polar Year Collaborative Project: Bering Sea Sub-Network: International Community-Based Observation Alliance for Arctic Observing Network (BSSN)

Data management

IPY: Exchange for Local Observations and Knowledge of the Arctic (ELOKA) Collaborative Research, IPY: A Cooperative Arctic Data and Information Service (CADIS)

The oceanographic and sea-ice observations include, among others, moorings, CTD casts from ships and aircraft, ice-tethered buoys, gliders, inverted echo sounders, and remote sensing. Combined with other IPY programs supported by the European Union (DAMOCLES), the Canadian government (C3O and OCAC), and programs partially supported by Japan and NOAA (NABOS and CABOS), the coverage of the Arctic Ocean during IPY is impressive. The challenge will be to find the will to continue the essential observations after IPY.

The investments in atmospheric studies are fewer in number, but still important. They involve both core (basic) measurements at permanent stations and process studies at remote temporary sites. Development of new instrumentation for studies of atmospheric chemistry over ice has been included, as well as large scale lidar studies of the polar vortex. Many of these include investments by other agencies and countries, as well.

The terrestrial ecology and permafrost studies supported during IPY are also wide-spread and include collaborative studies in Scandinavia, Iceland, Greenland, Canada, and Russia. Two major glaciological field studies were supported specifically as IPY ice sheet projects, but certainly contribute to an observing network -one on McCall Glacier, continuing a record from the last IPY, and one to 'weigh' the Greenland ice sheet. Two projects dealing with human dimensions were supported. One involves local communities around the Bering Sea, in both the US and Russia, in a study of marine species of economic and subsistence importance and how their abundance varies spatially and temporally. There is an intention to determine which aspects of traditional knowledge and western scientific knowledge concerning these issues correlate well. The second aims "to understand how socioeconomic systems respond to rapid environmental change, and how local response interacts with broad forces of development and government policies to affect the well-being of Arctic residents."

Finally, recognizing the importance of data to the legacy of IPY, in general, and to an effective Arctic Observing Network, in particular, two data management proposals were supported. The first, Cooperative Arctic Data and Information Service (CADIS), "will provide the discovery, access, and use of scientific data by providing near-real-time data delivery, a repository for data storage, a portal for the discovery, and tools to manipulate data." The second, Exchange for Local Observations and Knowledge in the Arctic (ELOKA), is a pilot project to establish a data repository and portal for local traditional knowledge, while maintaining local control of the data.

Planning for the Arctic Observing Network continues in anticipation of a network that will long survive the pulse of activity during IPY. Because of the short lead times associated with planning for IPY, a considered design of the network was not available prior to funding decisions. The significant gaps in observing systems throughout the Arctic ensure that the data being collected by the funded projects will be important in understanding change throughout the Arctic. Nevertheless, reanalyses of existing data and observing system simulation experiments (OSSEs) will enhance the future development of the system. Initial efforts along these lines have recently been supported.

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