Arctic Circle
Frá málstofu um væntanlega loftslagsskýrslu. IMO-led session on climate variations in Iceland.

IMO at the Arctic Circle Assembly 2017


The Fifth Arctic Circle Assembly was held in the Harpa Conference Center in Reykjavík on October 13-15. The symposium was attended by 2000 delegates from more than 50 countries. The Arctic Circle has in recent years grown into a large and influential forum for international dialogue and cooperation on the future of the Arctic. During the 2017 Assembly about 600 speakers convened in more than 100 specialized sessions organized by individual countries, universities, research institutes, private companies and non-profit organizations.

IMO scientists presented research and collaborative projects on climate change, Arctic hydrology and glaciology at the symposium. At an IMO-led session on the 21st century impacts of global warming in Iceland, climatologist Halldór Björnsson (IMO) presented the latest data on past climate variations in Iceland as well as scenarios for temperature change and sea-level rise until the end of this century. Oceanographer Jón Ólafsson (University of Iceland) discussed data on the acidification of the ocean around Iceland, marine ecologist Ólafur Ástþórsson (Marine and Freshwater Research Institute) described changes in fish stocks and biologist Trausti Baldursson (Icelandic Institute of Natural History) talked about changes in land-based flora and fauna. The session concluded with a presentation on societal impacts of climate change, given by Brynhildur Davíðsdóttir (University of Iceland).

Arctic Circle

Some of the 2000 participants in the Arctic Circle Assebly.

At a session on Arctic observation systems and data sets the IMO director, Árni Snorrason, described the WMO contribution to large-scale climate observations in the Arctic. Other session speakers included representatives from the Nordic countries, the USA, the European Space Agency (ESA) and China.

Ingvar Kristinsson, managing director at IMO, participated in a session on the potential effects of volcanic ash clouds from Icelandic volcanoes on aviation in the Arctic airspace. In a special session on issues related to Arctic Freshwater, Halldór Björnsson and Þorsteinn Þorsteinsson contributed to a discussion on freshwater fluxes into the Arctic Ocean and adjacent seas, with a focus on the effects of increasing runoff from ice sheets and ice caps in the region. Þorsteinn also participated in a special meeting organized for the Standing Committee of Parliamentarians of the Arctic Region, where he described the effects of climate change on glaciers in Iceland and future projections.

Halldór Björnsson also participated in sessions organised in conjunction with Arctic Circle by the World Council of Churches and the Church of Iceland on "Just Peace with the Earth", Thursday, and "Climate Justice" on Saturday. In both events he gave a presentation and took part in round table discussions. Bartholomew I patriarch of the Orthodox church also participated in the latter event.

Sigrún Karlsdóttir, director of Natural Hazards at IMO, participated off-venue in a workshop on "Energy in the Arctic".

Aldís Elfarsdóttir, currently working as an intern at IMO, worked with the Arctic Circle management team during the assembly, writing statements for the Arctic Circle´s social media accounts on Twitter and Facebook.

More pictures from the conference and IMO sessions are online, by OZZO Photography.

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