Photo by Gerty Ward (PolarTREC 2008), Courtesy of
focused on developing a shared vision with the observing community about framework approaches to observing network development and the tools that support networked observing. To address the very broad goals of Research Objective 9.1, the team leaders developed a series of progressive discussion questions for which they sought input from the community. Each discussion was proceeded by an informative presentation that described related efforts in other communities (e.g. Ocean) or within the Arctic. These questions included:
- Essential Variable Approaches: How might an “essential variables”1 framework advance Arctic Observing? What communities could lead essential variable descriptions?
- Inventories of Observing System Activities: Why compile an inventory and what can we learn from it? What inventories already exist?
- Societal Benefit Framework for Arctic Observing: What kinds of questions would you like to have answered using this framework? Can this approach help in the development of a list of essential variables?
- Terrestrial Arctic Carbon Observations: What essential measurements are needed to understand the Arctic carbon cycle and what are the existing gaps in observations?
1Essential variables are prioritized observing parameters (e.g. sea surface temperature and height, sea ice, seawater nutrient content) based on their relevance to observing goals, feasibility of data collection and cost effectiveness. (Definition adapted from )
Each discussion tended to lead to the next question. For example, our review of programs like the Global Ocean Observing System, which employed an essential variable framework, led to more Arctic specific questions about the ‘key players’ and observations that might feed into an Arctic approach. This led to the discussion on the role of inventories of observing systems and their networks, such as those utilized by EU PolarNet, the Arctic Observing Viewer (AOV) project, and Sustaining Arctic Observing Network (), to understand if these types of summaries helped the community to self-organize. While many valuable observations were elicited from the group, there does not appear to be continuity in participation which hampered the development of such complex discussions. The will review the benefit of this approach in FY18.
Collaboration of Federal Agencies with the Research Community
PE 9.1.1 concerns coordinating U.S. participation in the international process. In June, we focused our meeting on assembling the relevant agencies, the research community, and the key U.S. participants in order to solicit input for the June strategic planning meeting of . While this discussion, based on participation, was not broadly of interest to the community, we did get a critical mass of agency representation to voice their concern about the need for a focused approach towards the implementation of , and a better mapping between the scope of its goals and the financial resources that would be needed to accomplish these. These messages were carried forward by co-leader Ambrose into the retreat and contributed to a more streamlined and concise approach towards .
PE 9.1.2 was partially addressed through seeking to acquaint the community with the potential of U.S. and to generate participation in U.S. tasks. The result of this and related outreach is that dozens of members of the broader research community have become familiar with the organizational structure and objectives of U.S. and are beginning to come forward to engage in implementing its tasks.
Engagement is a noted deficiency of the collaboration meetings, but has been well pursued through U.S. directly. In May, U.S. was represented at both the Western Alaska Interdisciplinary Science Conference in Dutch Harbor, AK where several native communities, ’s, State of Alaska representatives and industry were present. It provided an invaluable listening opportunity for understanding the operating context of Alaskan decision makers. Similarly, the Anchorage-based Climate Prediction and Application Science Workshop, where U.S. was presented, provided many more examples of the observational needs of Alaskan decision makers.
Additionally, one-on-one conversations with representatives from Alaska, Aleut International, the Alaska Long-Term Monitoring Working Group, and the Aleutian Pribilof Island Association all led to improved understanding of key concepts like the role of indigenous knowledge and the pursuit of knowledge co-production by team leaders. We hope that this improved context and understand will lead to meaningful progress in team discussion in the year ahead. We will also develop approaches to attract representatives of native communities and organizations that have an observing interest.
Plans for 2018
Our team will continue to follow the format we employed in FY2018. Our monthly calls have had excellent Federal representation. We will, however, endeavor to develop a strategy which leads to more continuity of discussion. This might include having a recurring theme. leadership will also reach out to native communities and organizations. The team is also under-represented by stakeholders from operational users of observing data. Those from that community who participate in the will consider how to remedy this deficiency.