SCANNET

Environmental change in the Nort

What is SCANNET?

SCANNET is a network of field site leaders, research station managers and user groups in northern Scandinavia and Europe that have been collaborating for four years to improve comparative observations and access to information on environmental change in the North.

What is SCANNET doing?

SCANNET partners are providing stability for research and facilitating long-term observations in terrestrial and fresh water systems. The partners are also providing information on existing environmental data sets from key locations in the North Atlantic Region and easy access to important environmental information and research activities within the SCANNET region. SCANNET links to related networks from local to global scales by providing a focus on the landscapes and environments of the North Atlantic Region.

North Atlantic Region

Enmental Information  

  • North Atlantic Region
    North Atlantic region, surrounded by North Sea, Baltic Sea, Arctic Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean, includes various climate regimes, physical environments, diverse biosphere and sources of natural goods. The relief is dominantly shaped by glaciers that created fjords, lakes, valleys and other impressive aspects of the landscape in this area. Forests, including peripheral tundra, represent the majority of the biosphere. With the exception of the extreme North, other areas are populated with human and many other species. Unfortunately, North Atlantic region is going through severe climate changes influencing global physical, ecological, even social aspects of civilization. North Atlantic region is also known as SCANNET region. It is named after the unique network of research sites created to follow-up, document, predict and interfere with climate and environmental changes currently going on in this area.
  • The problem of Global Warming

    The problem of Global Warming

    Two biggest concerns are rapid global warming effects leading to increasing of the sea levels and dramatic reduction of the wilderness and various biological species due to uncontrolled land exploration. Each research site of the SCANNET is focused on the investigation of one particular subject, such as changes in flora and fauna, remodeling of the relief, sea levels, air pollution and many other aspects. Some predictions suggest that the global climate will experience severe consequences due to ongoing changes that North Atlantic region is experiencing right now.

Northern Scandinavia and Europe 

Fresh Water Systems

The freshwater systems include precipitated water that flows above and under the ground. Specifically, the term refers to rivers, lakes, wetlands altogether with coastal areas surrounding them. Although the whole system represents quite a small percent of the Earth’s water, there is a crucial interaction between these sources of fresh water and global climate, biosphere and finally human population.

Freshwater systems of Northern Scandinavia and Europe are in the spotlight of various researches, such as SCANNET, over the last few decades, due to their key role in circumarctic and global environmental condition. 

What is Arctic freshwater system?

 

The mere Arctic ocean counts for only 1% of total ocean water, but the sum of all rivers flowing into it have a big impact on the unique environment in northern latitudes. The importance of these water flows seen in the region and beyond it in ecology, hydrology, atmosphere, economic and social aspects. This fresh water system consists of rivers flowing into Arctic ocean and causing “stratification” of the water layers. The deeper ocean layers keep their higher density, whereas lower salinity of superficial layers makes them susceptible to freezing and creating sea ice. On the other hand, relatively warm currents flow into the Arctic Ocean from the Atlantic and the Pacific Ocean. Normal low temperatures of Arctic ocean cool these currents and influence the average global sea temperature.

The Importance of Arctic Fresh Water Systems

Aside from carrying heat, regulating temperature and providing nutrients for environmental processes, these new water systems are crucial for the survival of Arctic coastal biosphere. Various plants and animal species rely on the conditions created by these water systems. Four million people populating this region center their lives, economy and social aspect around these water systems.

 

Profound Effects of Climate Changes

Ongoing climate changes causing a decrease of the ice covers increased water flows and sea levels, fluctuations in temperature and many others will certainly have profound effects on the overall northern environment, habitants of this region and finally global ecology conditions.

Why is SCANNET important?

Northern landscapes are some of Europe’s last wilderness areas. They contain specialized and diverse plants and animals and large stores of soil carbon. However, these regions are experiencing rapid environmental and social changes and are particularly vulnerable to predicted climatic changes. SCANNET seeks to facilitate research into these changes and their implications for the North and for lower latitudes by providing the fundamental infrastructure bases, local experience and research expertise on environmental impacts issues relating to landscapes of the North Atlantic Region.

Northern Landscapes

Plants, Animals and Large Stores of Soil Carbon

  • Northern landscapes
    Northern landscapes in the circumpolar region are experiencing significant changes in physical aspects and biosphere due to overall climate changes. SCANNET researchers are carefully studying plants and animal’s diversity, as well as natural sources, such as stores of soil carbon to predict future conditions in this region. As the climate changes impact all aspects of the northern environment, changes in one field are closely connected to changes in all others. Ocean is certainly a dominant environmental role in this region, and the conditions are extreme, but northern landscapes host quite specific and diverse populations.
  • boreal forests

    Flora

    Flora is mostly divided into three vegetation zones. North belongs to the polar desert, and the south is covered by boreal forests. These two zones are connected by a wide zone of tundra and its characteristic low bushes. Cold temperatures are convenient for coniferous species, like juniper. Ongoing climate changes threaten to shift these vegetation zones and to disturb their relations. Another predicted threat is frequent forest fires.
  • Polar Bears

    Fauna

    Aside salmon, as a typical representative of the aquaculture, SCANNET region is populated by polar bears, seals, seabirds and other marine mammals. These animals largely depend on the ocean, sea ice, and low temperatures. Polar bears use aquacultures as their food and seal species navigate the organization of the flock according to the sea ice and the sea provides them a home for resting. Animals inhabiting these regions are at risk of climate changes too.
  • Carbon

    Stores of Soil Carbon

    Northern landscapes are well known as regions carrying large stores of soil carbon that has been accumulating in these low temperatures over centuries due to limited decomposition. Climate changes and associated global warming are threatening to increase these temperatures and release a certain percentage of this soil carbon into the atmosphere, leading to air pollution and depriving tundra ecosystems of fertile soil.

Environmental and social changes 

Landscapes in the northern latitudes are the area experiencing the most obvious climate changes, but these changes will lead to the global effect in the future. Northern Atlantic region, also known as SCANNET region is mostly the ocean surrounded by land, and it hosts a myriad of plan and animal species, as well as nearly four million people. Though these inhabitants are adapted to the extreme environmental conditions in this region, the whole ecosystem is at risk due to the global warming effect, excessive resource use and pollution. The constantly increasing temperature, melting of glaciers and reduction in solar radiation will inevitably lead to sever changes in environmental, as well as in social aspects.

Changes of Vegetation

Some of the predicted changes refer to vegetation zones of tundra, boreal forests, and polar deserts. The zones will shift, expand northward, cause insect outbreaks and consequential diseases outbreaks. Most scientists, also, predict frequent forest fires. Changes of sea temperature and melting of sea ice will disturb diversity and distribution of various Arctic animals. Polar bears, seals, seabirds, and salmon, will suffer negative impact of these changes. Local communities living in these areas will undergo social and economic changes. These regions largely depend on natural sources, such as oil, gas, fish and many other, all of which are disturbed by ongoing climate changes.

Landscapes in the northern latitudes are the area experiencing the most obvious climate changes, but these changes will lead to the global effect in the future. Northern Atlantic region, also known as SCANNET region is mostly the ocean surrounded by land, and it hosts a myriad of plan and animal species, as well as nearly four million people. Though these inhabitants are adapted to the extreme environmental conditions in this region, the whole ecosystem is at risk due to the global warming effect, excessive resource use and pollution. The constantly increasing temperature, melting of glaciers and reduction in solar radiation will inevitably lead to sever changes in environmental, as well as in social aspects.

SCANNET’s Future

  • SCANNET partners have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to confirm their enthusiasm to continue to collaborate.
  • SCANNET is regarded as a well-defined terrestrial component of larger networks and is collaborating within the newly formed CEON – Circumarctic Environmental Observatories Network.
  • Additional sites within the SCANNET region has become part of “Local Networks” while sites outside the region have applied for “Observer Status”. We will also work closely with other networks which will become “Associated Networks”.

CEON

Circumarctic Environmental Observatories Network

Circumarctic Environmental Observatories Network is a network consisted of various local, regional and global terrestrial and freshwater observatories, researchers, scientists, environmental experts and institutions involved in all processes of exploring, studying and analyzing northern latitudes, Arctic particularly. The network was created with an aim to serve as a geodatabase that will gather all the information collected about northern areas, infrastructure and human resources focused on the researching of the environment in this region. It supports circum-arctic observing programs, enables mobility of researchers and remote-sensing devices, testing of various exploring models and availability of all accessible knowledge on the matter. All activities currently conducted by CEON serve to test ecological theories and to expand our overall knowledge about northern regions.

Testimonials

  • I’ve been involved with researches for more than a year, and my current impression is – this is big. These powerful scientists and experts are truly contributing to the understanding of Arctic matter.

    Alicia Walker

  • I’m a biologist, specialized in the northern biosphere. Studying these ecosystems via SCANNET project is an amazing to experience and opportunity to expand my understanding of species adapted to extreme conditions.

    Russell Paris

  • As a physicist, I’ve been impressed by polar radiation phenomena for years. SCANNET project and actual working in associated observatory stations brought me closer to my fascination.

    Rodney Flake

  • Environmental researches are my field of expertise, but I’m focused lately on fresh water systems. Considering obvious climate changes, I have high expectation of these researches centered around Arctic water flow changes.

    Richard Burkhalter

  • I was a leading coordinator of SCANNET geo-database organization for years. I’m pretty impressed by the total amount of passionately gathered information, broad knowledge and documented experiences we have stored in this project.

    Jesse Hawkins

  • Boreal forests are a powerful ecosystem to explore. They are currently at high risk of being disturbed by global warming and vegetation zones shifting. Thus I find our researches truly important in the long run.

    Federico Newman

  • As a young researcher and scientist interested in exploring glaciers and their rapid decrease, expedition conducted via SCANNET was an amazing experience and a source of information of great importance for the upcoming global climate changes.

    Alfreda Villalobos

  • Norther region is an obvious manifestation of climate changes we are experiencing. I find these massive researches highly important for the future environmental conditions of the whole civilization.

    Harold Prince

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