Siberia Integrated Regional Study: multidisciplinary investigations of the dynamic relationship between the Siberian environment and global climate change

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Siberia Integrated Regional Study: multidisciplinary investigations of the dynamic relationship between the Siberian environment and global climate change
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  This content has been downloaded from IOPscience. Please scroll down to see the full text.Download details:IP Address: content was downloaded on 12/10/2013 at 08:47Please note that terms and conditions apply. Siberia Integrated Regional Study: multidisciplinary investigations of the dynamic relationshipbetween the Siberian environment and global climate change View the table of contents for this issue, or go to the  journal homepage for more 2010 Environ. Res. Lett. 5 015007( usMy IOPscience  IOP P UBLISHING  E NVIRONMENTAL  R ESEARCH  L ETTERS Environ. Res. Lett.  5  (2010) 015007 (5pp) doi:10.1088/1748-9326/5/1/015007 EDITORIAL Siberia Integrated Regional Study:multidisciplinary investigations of thedynamic relationship between theSiberian environment and global climatechange E P Gordov Siberian Center for  Environmental Research and Training and Institute of  Monitoring of Climatic and  Ecological Systems SB RAS,10/3, Akademicheskii Ave,634055 Tomsk, E A Vaganov Siberian Federal Universityand Sukhachev Institute of Forest SB RAS, 79, Svobodny Ave, 660041 Krasnoyarsk, This is an editorial overview of the Siberia Integrated Regional Study (SIRS),which is a large-scale investigation of ongoing and future environmental changein Siberia and its relationship to global processes, approaches, existing challengesand future direction. 1. Introduction The SIRS is a mega-project within the Northern Eurasia Earth SciencePartnership Initiative (NEESPI), which coordinates interdisciplinary, national andinternational activities in Northern Eurasia that follow the Earth System ScienceProgram (ESSP) approach. Under the direction of the InternationalGeosphere–Biosphere Program (IGBP), SIRS is one of the Integrated RegionalStudies (IRS) that aims to investigate environmental change in Siberia under thecurrent environment of global change, and the potential impact on Earth systemdynamics [1]. The regions of interest are those that may function as ‘choke orswitch points’ for the global Earth system, where changes in regional biophysical,biogeochemical and anthropogenic components may have significantconsequences for the Earth system at the global scale. Siberia is a large andsignificant region that may compel change [2].Regional consequences of global warming (e.g. anomalous increases in coldseason temperatures) have already been documented for Siberia [3]. This result isalso supported by climate modeling results for the 20th–22nd centuries [4].Future climatic change threatens Siberia with the shift of permafrost boundariesnorthward, dramatic changes in land cover (redistribution among boreal forest,wetlands, tundra, and steppe zones often precipitated by fire regime change) andthe entire hydrological regime of the territory [5–8]. These processes feed back to and influence climate dynamics through the exchange of energy, water,greenhouse gases and aerosols [9]. Even though there have been a handful of national and international projects focused on the Siberian environment, scientistshave minimal knowledge about the processes that control change in thisunderstudied region, particularly those concerning the primary components thatinfluence regional climate (i.e. cloud cover, precipitation) and responses andfeedbacks to and from terrestrial and aquatic systems. This provides a strongimpetus for the SIRS project.SIRS was initiated at a boreal forest conference in Krasnoyarsk in 2002 under theauspices of the IGBP and ESSP regional strategy by Will Steffen (IGBP) and the 1748-9326/10/015007+05$30.00 1 © 2010 IOP Publishing Ltd Printed in the UK  Environ. Res. Lett.  5  (2010) 015007 Editorial Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences (SB RAS). Russian andforeign scientific activities continued under the Siberian Center for EnvironmentalResearch and Training (SCERT) in 2003. In 2005, the Siberian Branch of theRussian National Committee (SB RNC) for IGBP endorsed these activities andrecommended investigations focus on four major themes: •  quantification of the terrestrial biota full greenhouse gas budget, with a focuson the exchange between biota and atmosphere; •  monitoring and modeling of regional climate change impacts; •  development of SIRS informational-computational infrastructure; and •  development of a regional strategy of adaptation to and mitigation of thenegative consequences of global change.SIRS development [10,11] supports Siberian Earth science investigations fundedby the RAS Foundation for Basic Research, the European Commission (EC), theInternational Science and Technology Center (ISTC) and the NationalAeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). SB RNC is responsible for SIRSadvances, and SCERT hosts the Committee office and houses major SIRSinformational-computational infrastructure development. NEESPI( ) serves as an IGBP and World Climate Research Programme(WCRP) external project, and as a NEESPI mega-project, SIRS has organizeddistribution centers in Krasnoyarsk and Tomsk to support NEESPI activity, andhas coordinated training and educational activity aimed at young scientists. 2. SIRS approaches and outcomes 2.1. Organizational activity The ‘Siberian Geosphere–Biosphere Program: integrated regional study of contemporary natural and climatic changes’ is one of several fundedinterdisciplinary projects, and it serves to unite regional studies from 14 RAS andSB RAS institutes and 5 universities. In the course of this and similar national 1 and international projects, ENVIROMIS and ENVIROMIS-2 (EnvironmentalObservations, Modelling and Information Systems) was formed, which is theSIRS professional community comprising regional, national and internationalspecialists dealing with Siberian environmental dynamics studies. Results of those and parallel projects were analyzed in by coordinated activities:‘Enviro–RISKS-Man-induced Environmental Risks: monitoring, managementand remediation of man-made changes in Siberia’ [12]. Currently, a new set of SB RAS integrated 2 and international projects within the Asia-Pacific Network for Global Change Study (APN) and ISTC are under way. While a number of projects have been initiated and clustered under the SIRS umbrella and theirresults and data are distributed through the SIRS web portal ( ),the organizational SIRS infrastructure is inadequate. SIRS has neither SB RASstable funding nor a dedicated Project Office. Both obstacles are a major concernfor the SIRS governing body. 2.2. Information-computational infrastructure development  The SIRS informational-computational infrastructure, which is currently underextensive development, is designed to stimulate national and internationalcooperative Earth science investigations, easily exchange data and knowledge,coordinate activities, and optimize the usage of resources, services andapplications [13]. The infrastructure is organized as a set of thematic, bilingual 1 For example, ‘Complex monitoring of the Great Vasyugan Bog: modern state and development processes investigations’ and ‘Ecological problems of Siberian cities’. 2 For example, ‘Models of biosphere change based on the boreal ecosystems’ carbon balance using field and satellite data observations’ and ‘Informationtechnologies, mathematical models and methods for monitoring and control of ecosystems intended for stationary, mobile and remote observations’. 2  Environ. Res. Lett.  5  (2010) 015007 Editorial (Russian and English), internet-accessible informational-computational systems,the first of which is the scientific web portal ATMOS ( ).ATMOS is an integrated set of distributed topical websites, combining standardmultimedia information with research databases, models and analytical tools foron-line use and visualization, designed primarily for atmospheric physics andchemistry ( ) 3 [12,14]. These powerful tools have alreadypromoted understanding of the interactions between Siberian ecosystems, theatmosphere and human dynamics, under the impact of global climate change. Forexample, the climate site of the Enviro–RISKS portal( ) processes unique data sets, from monitoring andmodeling regional meteorology, atmospheric pollution transformation/transportand climate, all of which are significant for dynamic regional assessments. This isa user-friendly, interactive web system that can be used for regional climatechange assessment and visualization based upon standard meteorological data.All major reanalysis and climatic characteristics are provided (surface airtemperature, pressure, humidity, precipitation, soil moisture, and geopotentialheight), and the users can (but do not need to) access the data files directly butfreely receive the results of their analyses through the Grid Analysis and DisplaySystem (GrADS; ) or Interactive Data Language (IDL; ). Specific spatial and temporal domains can be selected, aswell as a wide range of statistical analyses, data manipulations, and visualizationtools (including animation) that may be required for global, continental, andregional climate change assessments. The SIRS infrastructure has become anindispensable tool, providing researchers with an open platform (portal plus tools)that may be used, adapted, enriched or altered on the basis of the specificscientific applications in regions of Siberia, the Russian Federation, and thenorthern exatropics. 2.3. SIRS capacity building/young scientists’ education/training The SIRS educational capacity building programme includes ENVIROMISbiannual Multidisciplinary Conference, CITES (Computational and InformationTechnologies for Environmental Sciences) biannual Young Scientists’ School(YSS) and international conferences [15]. These include lecture courses foryoung scientists, training sessions, invited lectures and thematic workshops( ). The first event was organized in 2000, andthereafter each year 50–70 young scientists from Russia and the Commonwealthof Independent States participate in CITES and ENVIROMIS conferences. Theseevents are organized to support multidisciplinary education, contain no parallelsessions, are composed of about 50% students, and all presentations are posted toassist future professional activity. In the first years, these activities weresupported internationally (INTAS, the EC International Cooperation Programwithin FP5 and FP6); however, recent activities have been supported by theRussian Foundation for Basic Research, the RF Ministry of Education andScience and the SB RAS. 2.4. Some results gained in the course of SIRS projects being carried out, and current challenges While some findings on regional climate dynamics were reported in the EGU2009 NEESPI session and in manuscripts listed on the NEESPI website( publications.pdf ), a majority of them havebeen published in Russian journals and are still unknown in the internationalclimatic community. However, additional reports can be found in the 3 ‘Environmental observations, modeling and information systems’ ( ) and ‘Man-induced environmental risks: monitoring,management and mitigation of man-made changes in Siberia (Enviro–RISKS)’. 3  Environ. Res. Lett.  5  (2010) 015007 Editorial Enviro–RISKS final scientific report [16], mainly in the third volume devoted toclimate change, terrestrial ecosystems and hydrology( ). We have already established that temperatureshave increased, particularly in the winter in Eastern Siberia (0.5 ◦  /decade), and thenumber of frost days ( ∼  1 day yr − 1 ) and growing season length has also increased( ∼  1 day yr − 1 ) [17,18]. Even more troubling is the potential for these transientphenomena to manifest themselves as nonlinear reactions to ongoing climaticchange [19].There are three main scientific research challenges to the SIRS community,which are also very important from a regional socio-economic point of view andfor the global carbon cycle. •  Permafrost fate, especially its border shift, seriously threatens infrastructureand might form a significant carbon and methane source to the atmosphere.Climate-related drying would alter biogenic emissions in peatlands that havebeen deposited over millennia and would increase the potential for peat fireswhich cannot be extinguished. •  Temperature/precipitation/hydrology regime change, which might increaserisks of forest and peat fires, thus changing significantly the carbon, terrestrialand hydrologic cycle of the region. •  Desert–steppe–forest–tundra ecosystem borders northward shifts, which willalso change regional input into the global carbon and radiation balance andgive rise to serious socio-economical consequences for local populations (i.e.alter potential agricultural lands).New  in situ  instrumentation, data sets, models and research are required toaddress these challenges. The SB RAS has adopted a long-term integrated project‘Development of the basic network for monitoring of natural and climaticprocesses in Siberia’ to establish a network of dedicated sites and stationsequipped with modern instrumentation to monitor environmental changes in theregion. One example is the Zotino tall tower observatory (ZOTTO) launched afew years ago ( [20]. It is anticipated that together with ZOTTO, the future SB RAS network will serve asan important source of reliable environmental data for analyses. Anotherimportant SIRS objective is the development of a high-resolution regional climatemodel that properly takes into account specifics of this region (e.g., presence of permafrost, interaction of the biosphere and terrestrial hydrology, etc).Development of an integrated model was recently discussed at the NEESPIWorkshop ( ) by leading SIRS specialistsand their German and US partners. 3. Conclusions Devoted to regional–global linkages, understanding, monitoring and assessmentof global change impacts on a regional level, SIRS targets provide substantiatedrecommendations for regional decision makers to understand and work towardsmitigating the negative effects of climate change for Siberia and its population.This approach will allow the Siberian Branch of the Russian National Committeefor IGBP to perform its mission, ensuring the growth of scientific knowledge of the dynamic Siberian environment and its subsystems, and to develop a solid basisfor mitigation and adaptation strategies for the negative consequences of globalchange. References [1] Brasseur G 2003 IGBP Newsletter No 50 (June 2002) IGBP II - Special Edition Issue 3rd IGBPCongress Overview  Global Change Newsletter   No 55 pp 2–4[2] 2005  Bulletin of the Russian National Committee for the International Geosphere BiosphereProgramme  4 4
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