About the outreach project “The Arctic System”

The project “The Arctic System” presents the Arctic as a continuous nature system. The focus is on the Norwegian part of the Arctic. The project aims to explain why it is important to conduct research and environmental monitoring in the Arctic, and how the changes that are happening here fit into the context of the rest of the world.

The Arctic

The Arctic can be described as a contradiction to itself – varied and robust, but still very vulnerable to climate change and ecological influences from the rest of the world. Some wildlife and vegetation can only be found in the Arctic, and have grown accustomed to the rough climate. Rapid changes could lead to their extinction.

The climate in the Norwegian part of the Arctic differs from that of places on the same latitude in the rest of the world due to energy (heat) which is transported southwards with the Gulf Stream. As the climate gradually becomes warmer, the ice retracts, which in turn reveals more holms and skerries. The tundra is thawing. The Arctic provides us with an early warning of climate change, and so plays an important part in the global climate system.

Project aims

The project “The Arctic System” is an outreach and educational project under “The International Polar Year 2007-2008”, sponsored by the Research Council of Norway. It is based on scientific knowledge and aims at increasing the interest for polar research for as many people as possible; from the media to school children to policy makers.

Responsible for the project

The Norwegian Polar Institute is responsible for the project, which is a co-operation between the Insitute’s communicators and scientists, as well as scientists from the University of Tromsø, the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, the Norwegian Institute for nature research, the Norwegian Geological Survey, the Institute for Marine Research, met.no, and Tromsø University Museum. Youth from TVIBIT Youth Centre in Tromsø and a selection of sixth form colleges have also contributed.