One objective of the Arctic PASSION project is to establish ten terrestrial environmental monitoring sites in the Arctic. This part of the work is led by the INTERACT Non-Profit Association (INPA), which unites and represents a network of field stations in the Arctic and northern alpine areas. INPA invited the following ten INTERACT stations to be part of this effort.

1.           Toolik Field Station – USA 

2.           Western Arctic Research Centre (WARC) – Canada

3.           CEN Whapmagoostui-Kuujjuarapik Station – Canada

4.           Arctic Station – Greenland

5.           Zackenberg Research Station – Greenland

6.           Kevo Subarctic Research Station – Finland

7.           CNR Arctic Station “Dirigibile Italia” – Svalbard

8.           Rif Field Station – Iceland

9.           NIBIO Svanhovd research station – Norway

10.         Churchill Northern Studies Centre – Canada


The mammoth task of listing all monitoring efforts at all ten stations

The first step was to do a thorough review of existing monitoring efforts at the ten stations. We looked for data in the INTERACT data portal, the INTERACT GIS and the stations’ own portals or websites. We compiled an extensive list of all parameters that are being monitored at the ten stations in the climate, cryosphere and ecosystem domains, detailing any metadata information that is available. For an easier comparison, we also compiled a simple spreadsheet detailing whether a parameter was measured (YES) or not (NO). This sheet allowed a quick comparison of where gaps exist when comparing monitoring at the ten stations.

Overview of priority parameters monitored at the ten participating stations 

Choosing which parameters to prioritise

Through a series of meetings with the station managers of the ten stations, we discussed the best approach to fill any gaps in monitoring. The discussions also focused on which parameters to prioritise with regards to the Shared Arctic Variables. We identified a list of “priority parameters” that would be ideal for all stations to monitor. It was important that these parameters were 1) measurable with a sensor requiring minimal human capacity once set up and running, 2) feasible for the budget allocated in the Arctic PASSION project and 3) relevant to the terrestrial Shared Arctic Variables wildfires and permafrost degradation. They encompass meteorological parameters (air temperature, air humidity, air pressure, wind velocity, wind direction, precipitation), energy balance and radiation (short wave incoming radiation, short wave outgoing radiation, long wave incoming radiation, long wave outgoing radiation, net radiation, UV-B, sensible heat flux, latent heat flux, soil heat flux), sub surface characteristics (permafrost/ground temperature, ground surface temperature, soil temperature, active layer thickness), snow characteristics (snow depth, snow density, snow temperature). These parameters are of particular interest when studying the Shared Arctic Variables wildfires and permafrost degradation.


Making decisions with limited resources

A discussion that came up in the meetings with the station managers, was whether to focus on fewer, more harmonised parameters versus a wider suite of parameters that are less harmonised. The group recognised that harmonising the instruments is a very difficult endeavour, as not all stations run their own weather stations. In some locations, the weather station is run by the national meteorological service, which makes integrating new equipment difficult.

Based on all the discussions we had, each station is currently assessing what equipment integrates best into existing monitoring and is feasible to install. INPA continues facilitating discussions and knowledge transfer with all ten station managers to work out the best solution for each of the station. We will place the order for new equipment by the end of this year, so that everything can be set up and installed during the field seasons in 2023.

INPA hosting an Arctic PASSION working group meeting in Iceland 2022. Photo: Margareta Johansson