The Contribution of Space Technologies to Arctic Policy Priorities

scientific collaboration and research in Arctic/global climate change are evidence of its interest in the region.

UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Intergovernmental panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

yy The EU policy on the Arctic, Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council – The European Union and the Arctic Region , identifies protecting and preserving the Arctic environment and its population as a top priority and preventing and mitigating the negative impacts of climate change and supporting adaptation to inevitable changes is a key goal. In addition, climate change research to close knowledge gaps and assess future anthropogenic impacts is a high priority for the EU. yy The report, Nordic Cooperation on Foreign and Security Policy , proposes the development between the Nordic countries of cooperation on Arctic issues focusing on more practical matters, such as climate change. 5.2.3 Role of Satellite Systems COMMUNICATIONS SYSTEMS (Impact Medium) Successful strategies for assessing the impact of climate change and adapting to its consequences include continued monitoring and short-term prediction of key environmental parameters. In light of difficult, costly and potentially dangerous field- based data collection in the Arctic, automated stations for the collection of in-situ observations possess a significant potential for application throughout the Arctic. Accordingly, satellite communications have a key role to play in the remote access and delivery of data from automated in-situ monitoring stations. Accurate and timely meteorological observations are critical ingredients to model-based climate change predictions. In particular, satellite-based time series of surface temperature, tropospheric and stratospheric measurements are used in the calibration and validation of climate models. Meteorological satellites are also tasked with the monitoring of the Global Climate Observing System’s (GCOS) atmospheric Essential Climate Variables (ECVs), particularly the surface and upper- air elements (e.g., temperature, precipitation, water vapour, radiation budgets, etc.). WEATHER SYSTEMS (Impact High)

EO is highly relevant over the Arctic, since the impacts of climate change are particularly severe and noticeable in this region. The applications of EO to climate change research are mature but challenges remain. For example, monitoring programs require both high temporal and high spatial resolution. However, there is a requirement for additional spatial resolution for radar imagery and improved temporal resolution (i.e., repeat coverage frequency) for optical imagery to meet the needs of the climate change research community. In terms of ECV mapping, some variables can be measured directly from satellite imagery (e.g., sea ice, sea surface temperature, sea surface salinity, ocean colour, glaciers, biomass, etc.), while others may be observed indirectly only and inferred via indicators (e.g., permafrost, groundwater, river discharge, etc.). Gravity science satellite missions are applicable to climate change due to their contribution to the definition of the geoid (the surface of an ideal global ocean in the absence of tides and currents). The geoid is a crucial reference for measuring ocean circulation, sea-level change and ice dynamics, which are all affected by climate change (ESA, 2011). Recent gravity space science missions like CHAMP, GRACE and GOCE have helped to improve the definition of the geoid, increasing its usefulness and relevance for climate change research in the Arctic. 5.3 Biodiversity 5.3.1 Overview Biodiversity is the degree of variation of life forms within a given species, ecosystem, or regionand canbe consideredasameasure of ecosystem health. Among other things, biodiversity helps to purify our air and water, ensure the productivity of our agriculture and forestlands, and regulate our climate. Warmer climates sustain greater biodiversity whereas colder climates, such as in the Arctic, support fewer species. Signs are already evident that climate change is impacting Arctic species, with species such as polar bear, reindeer and caribou, and shorebirds in decline in the High Arctic. Complex interactions between climate change and other factors (e.g., contaminants, habitat fragmentation, industrial development, and unsustainable harvest levels) have the potential to magnify impacts on biodiversity. Changes in Arctic biodiversity create both challenges and opportunities for Arctic peoples. For example, declines in Arctic biodiversity may affect the availability of traditional foods, and decreasing access to freshwater and the unpredictability of winter ice will make sustaining traditional ways of life more difficult. On the other hand, such factors as movement of southern species into the Arctic, shifting habitats and changes in resource use may provide opportunities to harvest new species (CAFF, 2010). 5.3.2 Policy The importance of biodiversity conservation is explicitly mentioned by a number of policy documents. yy The Iceland in the High North report states that the utmost caution must be practiced in resource development in the Arctic region toprotect its fragileenvironment andecosystems. SCIENCE SYSTEMS (Impact Low)


The application of GNSS in the climate change context is limited to its use for positioning of in situ sensors that are collecting weather and climate data.


EO has a number of applications in climate change research. Satellite imaging is the primary means for monitoring and measuring the major changes on land and water that are attributed to climate change, such as: changes in vegetation; melting of polar ice and glaciers; reduced snow cover; earlier spring thaw and later fall freeze-up; coastal erosion linked with rising sea level; and major floods resulting from the increasing frequency of extreme weather events. In addition, EO can provide a range of oceanic and terrestrial ECVs required to support the


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