iCUPE – Integrative and Comprehensive Understanding on Polar Environments – answers to ERA-PLANET (European network for observing our changing planet) thematic strand 4 (Polar areas and natural resources). The project is motivated by the fact that the role of polar regions will increase in terms of megatrends such as globalization, new transport routes, demography and use of natural resources. These megatrends have environmental effects and will drastically affect e.g. regional and transported pollutant concentrations. As a consequence, the polar areas face interconnected grand challenges.
The vision driving iCUPE activities is that we need to establish and maintain long-term, coherent and coordinated observations and research activities on environmental quality and natural resources in polar areas. The core idea of iCUPE is the development of novel, integrated, quality-controlled and harmonized in-situ observations and satellite data in the polar areas, as well as data products to the end users. iCUPE combines integrated in-situ and satellite Earth Observation with a modelling platform. By doing this it 1) synthesizes data from comprehensive long-term measurements, intensive campaigns and satellites, collected during the project or provided by on-going international initiatives 2) relates the observed parameters to impacts, and 3) delivers novel data products, metrics and indicators to the stakeholders concerning the environmental status, availability and extraction of natural resources in the polar areas. These data, metrics and indicators will be targeted to identified stakeholders. They will be useful for policy development and for improving and clearly communicating our multidisciplinary understanding of status of the polar environment and pollution dynamics in the future. The knowledge generated is relevant to the general population, policy makers and scientists.
The ambition in iCUPE will make significant advances towards a better integration between existing in-situ observational networks for polar measurement data on short-lived air pollutants including both aerosols and trace gases, as well as contaminants. The focus is on the availability of long-time data series and on the facilitation of intensive campaigns as well as on piloting near real-time data. Quality control, data flows and data streams will be harmonized within iCUPE.
iCUPE is a 3-year project and the work and tasks performed within iCUPE are distributed to 7 Work Packages, 18 tasks, 56 deliverables and 30 milestones.
Tuukka Petäjä, Helsinki University