. "3 Methods and Technologies to Address the Frontier Questions." Frontiers in Understanding Climate Change and Polar Ecosystems: Summary of a Workshop. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, 2011.
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Frontiers in Understanding Climate Change and Polar Ecosystems: Report of a Workshop
high-resolution physical measurements on land and sea. More sophisticated biological and chemical sensor techniques are needed to track species composition of plankton, pCO2 and pH, nutrients like silica and ammonium, and acoustic and video capabilities on fixed and floating mooring arrays for observations for marine mammals and benthic species, respectively. Workshop participants discussed the development of smaller sensor packages that can be deployed over larger spatial scales, such as sensors currently attached to fish, seabirds, and seals. Development of systems that can survive in winter, particularly in ice-covered seas, is crucial, given the continuing logistical difficulty of making human-attended observations.
SUSTAINED LONG-TERM OBSERVATIONS
In situ Observations
Because of their remote location and harsh environment, the polar regions lack sufficient observational assets to meet existing needs for research support, forecasting, and modeling, especially in winter. Thus, several participants noted the need for a vastly enhanced, expanded, and better-integrated system of sustained observations to support frontier scientific research in the polar regions. A network of in situ instrumentation and communications is one critical element of the wider system. Currently, sustained observations are mostly limited to atmospheric sampling and relatively few manned and automated, but often widely-spaced weather stations, especially in Antarctica. One example of such a network that is now being implemented is the Arctic Observing Network (AON) under SEARCH (Study of Environmental Arctic Change), consisting of a suite of atmospheric, land, and ocean sensors, ranging from ocean buoys to satellites. Besides weather, observing systems are needed to document and quantify sea ice, glacier, and ice sheet dynamics, fluxes of greenhouse gases, and the distributions and activities of organisms and biogeochemical cycles.
The Southern Ocean Observing System (SOOS; e.g., Schofield et al., 2010) will address several of these needs, but emphasis still centers on geophysical processes (ice dynamics, circulation, and climate) and is limited to the ocean. Better observations of the continental interior remain a barrier to a comprehensive, continental-scale observing and forecasting capability. In situ sensor systems are a challenge in polar regions where extreme weather and ice are constant threats to performance, communication, and survival of assets. Few of the current instrument platforms such as moorings, AUVs, and Gliders cope adequately with such conditions. Thus, an integrated observing network for land, oceans, and atmosphere