The CRIOS project

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1. Project objectives

  • create the cal/val system for indirect research, eg. remote sensing, ground penetrating radar survey, others.
  • modernise and expand an automated monitoring network focused on the cryosphere of Spitsbergen. 
  • harmonise and expand the monitoring systems in Hornsund, Longyearbyen and Ny-Ålesund (level I stations). Equipping all Research Infrastructures operated by Polish Research units (level II stations) with the newest cryosphere monitoring technologies.
  • choose existing or develop standardised measurement protocols during joint workshops and training sessions based on the SIOS Core Data process. 
  • real-time data transfer to the open repositories, following the FAIR principles, for researchers and policymakers.

2. Project summary

The acceleration of the Arctic warming causes significant changes in the cryosphere of Svalbard (faster melting of glaciers, thawing of the permafrost, changes in melting period onset and winter thaws) and stimulates faster energy exchange between atmosphere, cryosphere and ocean and mass transfer from land to the sea. The observed fluctuations in measured meteorological parameters demonstrate regional/local differences in climate warming and subsequently, response to other environmental factors. Thus, monitoring of such parameters and the environmental response has to be done in many localities in Svalbard. The distribution of long-term observational stations and sites of Polish and Norwegian institutions along the entire western Spitsbergen coast gives a chance for better quantification of observed changes and their more profound understanding.

This project aims to modernize and expand an automated monitoring network focused on the cryosphere of Spitsbergen as a calibration/validation system for indirect research (Figure 1). As a first step, we plan to harmonize and expand the monitoring systems in Hornsund, Longyearbyen and Ny-Ålesund (level I stations), the last two in cooperation with Norwegian partners. The second stage will be equipping all Research Infrastructures operated by Polish Research units (level II stations): Nicolaus Copernicus University Polar Station, Stanisław Baranowski Spitsbergen Polar Station of the University of Wroclaw, Adam Mickiewicz University Polar Station, Calypsobyen UMCS Polar Station with the newest cryosphere monitoring technologies. All measurement stations will operate following the standardized measurement protocols developed as part of joint workshops and training sessions based on the SIOS Core Data process. The key element of the observatory network will be real-time data transfer to the open repositories, following the FAIR principles, for researchers and policymakers.

Location of the monitoring sites. Level I (red triangles): NyA – Ny-Ålesund, LYR – Longyearbyen, HOR – Hornsund. Level II (blue triangles): KAF/WDR – Kaffiøyra and Waldemarbreen, PTN/SVN – Petuniabukta and Svenbreen, CLP/RND – Calypsobyen and Renardbreen, ELV/WRN – Elveflya and Werenskioldbreen.

3. Work packages

The project has been divided into six Work Packages:

  • WP1: Project management
    • The implementation of the project requires excessive administrative work. A full-time position is included at the Leader’s institution.
  • WP2: Equipment unification and the measurement protocols and data formats standardization
    • Purchase of all equipment in the procurement process. All partners have experience in purchasing the appropriate equipment, contacts with producers and administration familiar with the specificity of purchasing instruments on Svalbard. The current delay in starting the project is included in the planned purchases. Institutions are prepared for purchasing prioritization for the CRIOS project.
    • Standard measurement protocols (WMO, etc.), standard data protocols, measured variables (ECVs, SIOS core data, Arctic share variables – SAON, Arctic PASSION) products.
  • WP3: Installation of the monitoring network
    • Stations on level 1 (permanent access to the electricity network, year-round service)
      • Localization: Hornsund (tundra) (IG PAS), Longyearbyen (tundra) (UNIS/NPI, UoS), Ny-Ålesund (tundra) (NPI, IG PAS, NCU)
      • Equipment: Eddy Covariance Towers in Hornsund and Longyearbyen, InSAR corner of reflectors, GNSS monitoring, snow and ice sensors (SPICE, WISe)
      • Field campaigns: spring 2023, summer 2023, spring 2024
      • Level 1 stations carry out various types of monitoring (meteorological, geophysical, glaciological, hydrological, chemical, remote sensing, etc.) from which data is already available. The project aims to expand the existing infrastructure with new monitoring, the necessity of which has been indicated, inter alia, in the recommendations of the SESS report. Another goal is to complete the monitoring systems – for example, if some measurements are carried out in Ny-Ålesund and not in Hornsund, appropriate instruments will be installed to harmonize the measurements for the possibility of spatial analysis of changes in the cryosphere occurring throughout Svalbard. The planned monitoring does not duplicate the existing monitoring but supplements or modifies it.
    • Stations on level 2 (battery-powered, seasonal service)
      • Localization: Kaffiøyra (tundra – NCU, UWr) and Waldemarbreen (glacier – NCU), Petuniabukta (tundra – AMU, UWr) and Svenbreen (glacier – AMU), Calypsobyen (tundra, UMCS, UWr) and Renardbreen (glacier – UMCS, UoS), Elveflya (tundra – UWr) and Werenskioldbreen (glacier – UoS)
      • Equipment: automatic weather stations (AWS), time-lapse cameras (only tundra), temperature probe – permafrost, snow and ice sensors (SPICE, WISe)
      • Field campaigns: spring 2023, summer 2023, spring 2024
      • Level 2 stations have so far carried out short-term measurements related to research projects. Establishing permanent monitoring points in these locations is crucial for conducting research and validating models and remote sensing products.
  • WP4: Data management and data sharing
    • Each station will be equipped with a real-time data transmission module (Iridium or similar).
    • Real-time data transfer to publicly available repositories (PPDB, ADC, etc.) and SIOS data access portal (in collaboration with MET.NO and SIOS).
  • WP5: Network maintenance
    • Because the primary objective is to provide open data, the last months of the project implementation will be devoted to securing the equipment for its further operation.
  • WP6: Training and dissemination
    • Joint meetings, training and courses for Project members would improve data quality. Five travel grants for outstanding MSc and PhD students will develop their qualifications and knowledge. Organizing workshops during the Polar Night Week in 2023 and 2024 would facilitate the dissemination and visibility of the CRIOS results and strengthen the cooperation for scientific papers and the following projects.

4. Activities

  • Meetings:
    • November/December 2022 – online kick-off of the project.
    • January 2023 – CRIOS kick-off meeting and workshop during SIOS Polar Night Week (PNW)
    • January 2023 Steering committee meeting during SIOS Polar Night Week (PNW)
    • June 2023 Steering committee online meeting
    • November 2023 CRIOS workshop during Svalbard Science Conference
    • January 2024 – CRIOS workshop during SIOS Polar Night Week (PNW)
    • January 2024 Steering committee meeting during SIOS Polar Night Week (PNW)
    • April 2024 Steering committee online meeting

5. Dissemination

Participation in the conferences:

Arctic Science Summit Week 2023, Vienna, Austria | 17 – 24 February 2023 | #ASSW2023

ISAR-7 Seventh International Symposium on Arctic Research, Tokyo, Japan |6-10 March 2023 |

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