Dr. Fred Wrona, Chief Scientist of the Alberta Environmental Monitoring, Evaluation and Reporting Agency (AEMERA), will lend his scientific expertise to a specially convened meeting that will address various long-term challenges facing the Arctic. The Arctic in 2045: a long-term vision is a three-day meeting, by invite only from the United Kingdom (UK) Foreign and Commonwealth Office, in association with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Norway, the Natural Environmental Research Council Arctic Office and the Canadian High Commission. The purpose of the meeting is to consider and propose ways in which Arctic and non-Arctic states, and wider scientific and stakeholder communities, can work together to address long-term environmental challenges, including climate change.
The Arctic is viewed as a global bellwether of climate and associated environmental change. Rapid environmental and technological changes are driving the economic and social development of the Arctic region. The province of Alberta shares many of the same environmental, economic and societal issues that the Arctic is facing, including alterations in snow, ice and water resources, increasing pressures associated with sustainable resource development, and the well-being of indigenous communities.
Alberta and the Arctic are very closely linked as the province is home to many headwater rivers that are part of the Mackenzie River Basin. Covering an area more than seven times the size of the UK, the Mackenzie River Basin is the largest river basin in Canada, and is the fourth largest river basin discharging to the Arctic Ocean.
Dr. Wrona has been actively involved in Arctic science for many years as an environmental researcher and in scientific advisory roles. He was the Head Delegate for Canada for the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Program under the Arctic Council, and was a lead or contributing author to multiple international arctic and cold-regions scientific assessments, including the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment (ACIA), the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Polar Regions, the Arctic Biodiversity Assessment (ABA), the Snow, Water, Ice, Permafrost Assessment (SWIPA), and most recently, the Arctic Freshwater Synthesis (AFS).
The Arctic in 2045: a long-term vision will present participants with hypothetical scenarios characterizing the Arctic in 2045. The expert group will explore different environmental, scientific, political, economic and social challenges that could arise in the next thirty years. Participants will then examine what policy options are open to the international community to meet the long-term challenges, in support of the Arctic Council’s longer term vision.
“Because of Alberta’s northern latitude, diverse landscapes and associated environmental gradients, many of the projected changes in the Arctic pose similar risks to Alberta’s water, land, air and biological resources,” said Dr. Wrona.
“Climate and environmental change is a global scientific and societal issue. It is important that AEMERA participates in the conversation to obtain perspectives from a wider scientific and stakeholder community that could help inform Alberta’s environmental monitoring, evaluation and reporting activities and related policy and management responses, including any mitigation and adaptation actions required to address the risks and impacts of climate change and variability,” said Wrona.
The Arctic in 2045: a long-term vision will take place at Wilton Park, West Sussex, UK, February 17 to 19, 2016, and participation is limited to 60 experts world-wide.
The Alberta Environmental Monitoring, Evaluation and Reporting Agency (AEMERA) is an arm’s length provincial agency responsible for measuring, assessing and informing policy makers and the public on the condition of Alberta’s environment on key ambient air, water, land and biodiversity indicators including information necessary to understand cumulative effects. http://aemera.org/
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