ESRL to Host International Planning Meeting for Siberian Arctic Observatory

February 21, 2007

Map showing location of Tiksi, Siberia The NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory will host an international meeting, March 7-9, 2007, in Boulder, CO, to develop further plans for the new Intensive Arctic Observatory, Tiksi, Russia, located at the mouth of the Lena River on the Arctic coast of Russia. This observatory is a partnership between NOAA, NSF, NASA, and the Russian Federal Service for Hydrometeorology and Environmental Monitoring (Roshydromet) and will support international research across scientific disciplines, but with a focus on issues related to climate change in the Arctic. The station will become part of a network of intensive Arctic observatories in the U.S., Canada, Norway, Greenland and Finland that measure trace gases, air pollutants, radiation, clouds and aerosols as well as meteorology. Meeting participants are coming from the U.S., Russia, Finland, Canada, and Japan. The Russian delegation will include engineers from Tiksi, and managers and scientists from the Moscow and Yakutsk Roshydromet offices. The Tiksi engineers will be trained to use trace gas flask sampling equipment and continuous ozone monitors which will be the first sets of equipment deployed to Tiksi by NOAA. The goal will be to have the Tiksi Observatory support a number of global monitoring networks such as Global Atmosphere Watch (GAW), Baseline Surface Radiation Network (BSRN), Micropulse Lidar Network (MPLnet), the Ultraviolet Network (UVnet), the Climate Reference Network (CRN), the Aerosol Network (AERONET) program and the developing U.S. Arctic Observing Network (AON).

The establishment of the Tiksi observatory was initiated as part of the U.S Study of Environmental Arctic Change (SEARCH) program. A full complement of instruments will acquire long-term records of cloud and aerosol properties, trace gas concentrations, radiative fluxes and surface energy exchanges to facilitate the understanding of climate change in the Arctic. NSF replaced the existing weather station in Tiksi in the summer/fall of 2006 (at a cost of $500k) with a new, modern research building, which has laboratory and roof space intended to support research instrumentation. Present plans are to build a second "Clean Air" building 1.5 km upwind of the present facility in the summer of 2007. This building, also funded by NSF, is expected to cost an additional $500k.

Climate warming in the Arctic could potentially melt permafrost releasing huge amounts of carbon dioxide and methane, the most powerful greenhouse gases. Some of the largest reservoirs of peat, which is high in carbon, are located in the Arctic coastal plain of Siberia. Early detection of these releases will be possible from the measurements taken at the Tiksi station. The station will become part of the U.S. - Russian Climate Bilateral Agreement and will be discussed at an ambassadorial-level meeting in Washington, DC April 11-12, 2007, and at a U.S. - Russian Joint Coordinating Committee Meeting on Cooperation in the field of World Oceans and Polar Regions with the Russian Academy of Sciences, May 15-16, 2007, in Silver Spring, MD. This later meeting will be co-chaired by Dr. Richard Spinrad, Assistant Administrator, OAR. These activities support NOAA's mission goal of understanding climate variability and change to enhance society's ability to plan and respond, as well as the cross-cutting priority of international cooperation and collaboration.

Contact: Taneil Uttal More Information: