High-latitude Fires, Arctic Climate, Environment, and Health 3
Thursday 21st March 2024
Hybrid Open Session(Online/Edinburg, Scotland)
Conference website: https://www.assw.info
* There is an online day rate option for registering, up until 18th March (£40 reduced, £60 full). The reduced fees are available for early career researchers and Indigenous participants. Early Career Researchers are all students and scholars who are at the undergraduate, graduate or post-graduate level (depending on national context) up to 5 years past their final degree (e.g. PhD). We will cover the online day rate for Indigenous participants, and ECRs working on a relevant topic (high-latitude fires) (ie. £40pp) Please contact Adriana Ford at firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange this.
Leverhulme Centre for Wildfires, Environment and Society, ACRoBEAR, Arctic Voices and ARCTIC PASSION
High-latitude fires are increasing in frequency and intensity, with extreme wildfire events documented in recent years across Alaska, Fennoscandia, Greenland, and the Russian Federation. This year Canada has experienced its most intense and widespread fire season ever, with analysis by the World Weather Attribution group indicating that more seasons such as this are now far more likely because of climate change. These wildfires have led to significant and urgent social, economic and health challenges for communities in these regions. Hazardous pollution levels, for example, are regularly observed to result from nearby fire emissions in high-latitude communities during spring and summer. For the largest fire events, hazardous pollution can extend across continental scales and beyond.
We require a new interdisciplinary understanding of the complex interactions between climate systems, ecosystems, and society, so that we can better understand how changes in fire activity relate to changes in the climate and terrestrial environment, and how these changes impact upon the wellbeing, livelihoods, culture, and economic development of high-latitude communities, as well as how communities can best respond and manage these risks in a changing Arctic environment. For this reason, wildfires have been proposed as a Shared Arctic Variable theme, recognising the information needs of diverse user groups such as Arctic local and Indigenous communities, the Arctic and global climate research community, policymakers, and the private sector.
This session follows on from two previous HiFACE workshops held at the Arctic Science Summit Week in March 2022, and at the 7th International Symposium on Arctic Research in March 2023, which aimed to share current understanding of high-latitude fires and their interactions with climate, ecosystems, and human activities, and through doing so identify future research and information needs.
The session will introduce the synthesis paper and key knowledge gaps that were developed from the previous HiFACE workshops, themed around:
- the unique characteristics of high latitude fires and their poorly understood Earth system interactions and feedbacks
- the unique risks, challenges, and impact pathways associated with wildfires due to the remoteness of Arctic communities and lifestyles
- the underlying socio-economic challenges which can elevate community vulnerability to wildfires, but also the resilience created by strong social networks and Indigenous and local knowledge
- the opportunities for adaptation to changing wildfire risk, as well as the barriers and potential limits to adaptation.
We will begin the session with a series of presentations (08:30-10:00).
The second half (10:30-12:30) will be focused on facilitating discussion among all participants, to explore these knowledge gaps and the opportunities for data sharing, collaboration, and inter- and trans-disciplinary approaches that will enable a better understanding of high-latitude fires, the challenges and impacts they pose for Arctic communities and the Earth system, and the priorities for monitoring, adapting and responding to these.
More information coming soon.
The event is organised by a collaborative team involving:
- PACES (Air Pollution in the Arctic: Climate, Environment and Societies);
- ACRoBEAR (Arctic Community Resilience to Boreal Environmental change: Assessing Risks from fire and disease – University of Leeds) (Steve Arnold, James Ford)
- Leverhulme Centre for Wildfires, Environment and Society (Imperial College London, King’s College London, University of Reading and Royal Holloway) (Adriana Ford, Matt Kasoar)
- Arctic Voices (University of Leeds)
- Arctic PASSION (Michael Karcher, Vito Vitale)