Scientific collaboration generates momentum in climate research

Big questions – detailed data

Waves of high temperatures and heavy rain have washed over Svalbard more than once the last few years. Such extreme events have dramatic effects on overwintering wildlife at the islands, as well as human infrastructure.

The consequences of Arctic warming spells and ice-covered landscapes are definitely worrisome. The question of the day is what is causing these warming events? Now detailed data sets can help scientist in revealing parts of the puzzle.

–The short answer is that you need to study and analyse large data sets, says senior scientist Ketil Isaksen at Norwegian Meteorological Institute. Isaksen is participating in two on-going research projects focusing on mechanisms of year-to-year variability and long-term trends of the Svalbard climate; the Isfjorden-project and AWAKE 2.

To understand complex processes like climate on Svalbard, scientists are depending on large scale data sharing. Isaksen points to the RiS portal as an important tool to increase such important data sharing and knowledge transfer.

– Earlier many researchers could work on scientifically related projects on Svalbard without even knowing it. Knowledge transfer generated through the RiS portal will sum up to syngery. And synergy is the remedy to answer big questions – like what is causing the observed Arctic warming spells, Isaksen comments.

(Photo: SSF)


Help from the past

In the Isfjorden- and AWAKE2-projects, Norwegian, Russian and Polish scientists are cooperating on gathering and calibrating historical observations from weather stations located nearby settlements in earlier years.

- To understand complex processes like climate, you need to look into the past, Isaksen explains.

In this way, a comprehensive data set covering 100 years of Svalbard climate now becomes a powerful tool when trying to answer what is causing the recent warming spells and winter rain events in this Arctic archipelago.

Both the Isfjorden- and AWAKE2-projects are currently investing collaborative efforts into collecting and analysing large data sets – giving scientists and society important knowledge of natural variations and climate trends on Svalbard.


Summing up to synergy

– Comprehensive data sets covering long time series makes it possible to identify trends in the myriads of single events. Parallel projects, like the Isfjorden- and AWAKE2-projects, with associated scientific focus on patterns in and drivers of Svalbard-climate will strengthen the scientific outcome, Isaksen says.

The RiS portal facilitates more efficient coordination of Svalbard research – resulting in more targeted projects based on available data collected. When visiting, scientists get access to application forms for required permissions for fieldwork, booking systems for facilities and a database for research conducted in the arctic archipelago.

And this database is just waiting for scientists conducting research in Svalbard to find each other and create scientific momentum through collaboration. For more information on RiS and open access have a look here 



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