Scientific Cooperation: Supporting Circumpolar Permafrost Monitoring and Data Sharing
Authors: Troy J. BOUFFARD, Ekaterina URYUPOVA, Klaus DODDS, Vladimir E. ROMANOVSKY, Alec P. BENNETT, Dmitry STRELETSKIY
Number of views: 31
Scientific cooperation is a well-supported narrative and theme, but in reality, presents many challenges and counter-productive difficulties. Moreover, data sharing specifically represents one of the more critical cooperation requirements, as part of the “scientific method [which] allows for verification of results and extending research from prior results.” One of the important pieces of the climate change puzzle is permafrost. Currently, most permafrost data remain fragmented and restricted to national authorities, including scientific institutes. Important datasets reside in various government or university labs, where they remain largely unknown or where access restrictions prevent effective use. A lack of shared research—especially data—significantly reduces effectiveness of understanding permafrost overall. Whereas it is not possible for a nation to effectively conduct the variety of modeling and research needed to comprehensively understand impacts to permafrost, a global community can. However, decision and policy makers, especially on the international stage, struggle to understand how best to anticipate and prepare for changes, and thus support for scientific recommendations during policy development. This article explores the global data systems on permafrost, which remain sporadic, rarely updated, and with almost nothing about the subsea permafrost publicly available. The authors suggest that the global permafrost monitoring system should be real time (within technical and reasonable possibility), often updated and with open access to the data. Following a brief background, this article will offer three supporting themes, 1) the current state of permafrost data, 2) rationale and methods to share data, and 3) implications for global and national interests.