1. Project title

Environmental changes in the Arctic and their impacts on the human wellbeing and infrastructure

1.1 Short title:

Arctic Environment Laboratory (AEL)

2. Key words
Ocean, atmosphere, fluxes, climate changes, cyclones, moisture transport, responses, variability scales, risk assessment. Ecological and societal impact.

3. Project summary

This project will be focused on the sustainability of human well-being in the Arctic. For its purpose, we define our study domain (high Arctic) as the coastal land and open water areas of the Arctic Ocean where human activity is present and will further expand under conditions of the ongoing global warming and on technological advances that have made and will make possible this expansion. These include present and projected coastal settlements and ports, major transportation routes and areas of fishery, areas of industrial oil and gas exploitation and mining. The project scope is to focus on the ongoing and projected significant changes in the Arctic atmosphere, sea ice, and ocean and to derive from these changes:

 Changes in the integrated factors affecting human activity such as storminess, coastal erosion, icing of the ships and marine structures, temperature regime of houses and their basements, duration of the navigation period, heating needs, future construction standards, access to natural resources, effects of permafrost changes and

 Recommendations (with cost estimates) on how (a) to adapt to these changes, (b) to mitigate their negative consequences, and (c) to sustainably benefit from the opportunities that will be opened by the new state of Arctic environment conditions.

Specifically, it is proposed

 to assemble and to analyse all information available in the study region including synoptic, cryospheric, oceanographic, and geophysical data (observational and reanalyses output) for the post-1950 period to calculate the relevant time series of socially-important variables (SIV) important for the building environment, transportation structures and human well-being.

 to compare the SIV time series with the output of the CMIP5 GCM model runs for the 1950- 2013 period and select only those GCMs that reasonably well reproduce climatology and dynamics of these time series (reliable models, rGCMs).

 to develop for our study area (including the regions of most perspective future building environment) the most probable decadal projections of SIVs for the next few decades for
 each scenario of the climate change to be assessed by rGCMs.

 to assess the current status of the economy and societal well-being of the population of the settlements along the Arctic coast, servicemen stationed in the region and sailors of transport and fishing fleets linking it with SIVs and, finally,

 to perform projections and case studies of this status of the economy and societal well-being of the population of the settlements if no actions are taken, providing risk assessment and to develop recommendations as how to minimize the negative consequences of projected changes and to profit most from the beneficial changes.

Our postulation is that rapid climatic and environmental changes are imminent and further human advances in the Arctic in the quest for natural resources and better transportation are inevitable. Taking this for granted, the output of the proposed activity will be a suite of estimates of climatic and environmental conditions affecting the future sustainable life and work of people in the Arctic and recommendations of how to support and enhance this sustainability for the benefit of the Arctic nations.

It is anticipated that our results will provide input of immediate relevance to future IPCC and Arctic Council assessments and to the national Climate Change and Sustainability Reports. Our results will help to implement the growing factor of climate change into building strategies for the social-economic development in the Arctic in the 21st century. The study results will include the estimates of accuracy that are critical in any risk assessments at the decision making level. The Research Team will freely disseminate the results of its research. The dissemination will include web-based tutorials, peer reviewed publications and preparation of the 2-volume Atlas of the vulnerability of the Arctic infrastructure and life conditions to environmental changes.

© 2020 Лаборатория комплексных эколого-географических исследований Арктики