"Fifth International Symposium on Arctic Research (ISAR-5)," the largest international Arctic research symposium of Asia's non-Arctic nations was held in Tokyo from January 15 to 18, 2018.
The participants included 344 persons from 18 countries and regions, with 100 young researchers as well (students and researchers who had acquired their degree within the previous five years).
The Arctic is experiencing rapid environmental and amplified climatic changes, creating significant challenges for the people and the ecosystem in the region besides its various impacts on other areas of the globe.
H.I.H. Princess Takamado marked the opening ceremony of the symposium by talking about the expectations from Arctic research.
Researchers from various research fields -- natural sciences, engineering, social sciences, and humanities -- participated and discussed important topics related to global warming and its impacts:
- Natural variability in Arctic warming and its relationship with global change were discussed.
- Recent warming in the Arctic and its influence on the ecosystem and human activity can be considered as the formation of a "New Arctic."
- Importance of elucidating the Arctic changes using various data sets was emphasized.
- Need for international collaboration for various kinds of Arctic observations as well as national and community-level efforts for monitoring, taking use of indigenous knowledge, were suggested.
- In many senses, the Arctic is no more considered a confined region but as the "global Arctic." Reduction in the extent of summer sea ice in the Arctic Ocean has brought about changes in the world cargo ship traffic, higher possibilities of development of natural resources and tourism, and extreme weather in mid-latitudes.
- Reports were presented about the new research project, the MOSAiC, which involves sending a research ship onto sea ice to monitor the atmosphere, sea ice, and ocean all year around, cooperating with other research ship operations and circum-Arctic observatories.
The importance of the symposium held in a non-Arctic country was recognized by the wider research communities, and the new participants gained a valuable opportunity to learn about new findings, exchange ideas, and develop their research interests. The next ISAR (ISAR-6) will be held in 2020.
About the Japan Consortium for Arctic Environment Research (JCAR):
Established by Arctic environmental researchers in Japan, JCAR is a nationwide network-based organization for promoting Arctic environmental research. It comprises 440 members as of March 2018.
About the International Symposium on Arctic Research (ISAR):
This symposium is directed to detecting and clarifying the recent changes in the region, including impact on the ecosystems and human lives to know the underlying essential processes and examine their global influence.