Arctic Wildfires: Leverhulme Wildfires at ISAR-7

Arctic Wildfires: Leverhulme Wildfires at ISAR-7

by Katie Blackford and Matt Kasoar (Department of Physics, Imperial College London)

From the 6th to 10th March, we attended the Seventh International Symposium on Arctic Research, held at the National Institute of Polar Research in Tachikawa, Japan. This biennial conference brings together hundreds of polar scientists from around the world, with a focus on transdisciplinary research in the rapidly changing Arctic environment. The transdisciplinary aspect was evident with sessions ranging from atmospheric chemistry and sea ice, to the impacts of tourism in the Arctic. It was a great opportunity to learn about the challenges affecting the Arctic region and Arctic communities from a diverse range of perspectives, as well as gain further insight into our own research areas of modelling high-latitude wildfires and climate impacts.

On the 9th March, Leverhulme Wildfires, along with along with ACRoBEAR and Arctic Voices (University of Leeds) and Arctic PASSION, convened a special session on High-latitude Fires, Arctic Climate, Environment and Health (HiFACE). This session was a follow up to a workshop held at the Arctic Science Summit Week in Tromsø in 2022, and was chaired by Leverhulme Wildfires centre manager Dr Adriana Ford. The session brought together researchers interested in Arctic fires from many backgrounds including observation, modelling, public health, social sciences, and more, and featured talks on a variety of issues from how Arctic fires are represented in Earth System Models to the health impacts from wildfire smoke in the Arctic.

The presentations were followed by an open discussion, which provided a forum to discuss Arctic fires, share ideas and help to focus down on current knowledge gaps, ranging from the challenges of collecting data on wildfires in remote locations, to climate change adaptation and the need to incorporate local communities and indigenous fire knowledge in Arctic research. These discussions will inform a new transdisciplinary research agenda for high-latitude fires, to accelerate our understanding of fire impacts on this highly sensitive ecoregion.

Matt also visited the Japan Meteorological Agency’s Meteorological Research Institute (MRI) and presented some of our ongoing work to researchers there. Using the opportunity to catch up with old acquaintances as well as meeting new ones, the meeting involved exchanging ideas on observational measurements and climate modelling, and exploring possibilities for collaborating further in future.

Leverhulme Wildfires involvement at ISAR-7 forms part of a growing body of work at the Centre focused on Arctic wildfires.