Project Profile: ACRoBEAR

Arctic Community Resilience to Boreal Environmental change: Assessing Risks from fire and disease


Principal Investigators: Stephen Arnold, University of Leeds, United Kingdom
Partners: Christine Wiedinmyer, Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Science, University of Colorado - Boulder, United States
Katharine Law, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique-Laboratoire Atmosphères, Milieux, Observations Spatiales, France
Svetlana Malkhazova, Lomonosov Moscow State University, Russia
Robert Orttung, George Washington University, United States
Marianne Tronstad Lund, Center for International Climate Research, Norway
Bertil Forsberg, Umeå University, Sweden
Joakim Langner, Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute, Sweden
Tuukka Taneli Petäjä, Institute for Atmospheric and Earth System Research / Physics, Faculty of Science, University of Helsinki, Finland, Finland
Sponsors: AKA, Finland
Forte, Sweden
RCN, Norway
UKRI, United Kingdom


Full Project Title: Arctic Community Resilience to Boreal Environmental change: Assessing Risks from fire and disease
Full Call Title: CEH2019


Project Objective: The Arctic is warming twice as fast as global mean temperature increases. High latitude communities are searching for ways to address the consequences of an increase in temperatures and heat extremes. Using an interdisciplinary approach, we aim to address two key pathways between these rapid changes and risks to human health across high latitudes: climatically-driven changes to landscape fire activity and associated air quality degradation, and natural-focal disease (NFD) occurrence. The pan-Arctic region is characterised by vast boreal forest areas, which are prone to intense vegetation fires, acting as a source of air pollutants. Several extreme Boreal fire seasons in recent years have led to widespread increases in pollution, and associated health impacts. The natural boreal landscape incorporates hosts and vectors of NFD, with strong sensitivity to warming. Warming, humidity changes and weather extremes at high latitudes have led to tick-borne diseases becoming more endemic in these regions. These risks are potentially linked through fire impacts on NFD hosts and vectors. There is potential for widespread changes in these climate-health pathways under warming, but lack of understanding regarding their severity and capacity for resilience among local communities. In collaboration with local Arctic community groups, and other stakeholders, we will develop a framework for an end-to-end assessment of climate change impacts on these health risks, and create credible projections of how they will respond and interact under a range of climate and urban development scenarios. Outcomes will include information for communities and local policy makers for minimizing risks and an interactive online dashboard for visualisation of scenario data and impacts. We will work with community groups in education, faith-based groups, among others, to ensure widespread impact. A legacy of the project will be an online dashboard tool for mapping and visualising future and past risks and impacts, and incorporation of outcomes into local and national risk management planning.
Call Objective: To improve understanding of the pathways between climate, environment, and health to protect and promote human health and well-being in the face of climate challenges. Multilateral, inter- and transdisciplinary research projects will investigate where significant uncertainties exist that are barriers to action; address complex climate, ecosystem and health pathways to determine processes underlying causal links; and foster the use of scientific information and climate-related decision support tools to better inform planning and enhance resilience.


Regions: Asia, Europe, North America
Countries: Finland, France, Norway, Russian Federation, Sweden, United Kingdom, United States of America (USA)


Duration: 48
Call Date: 14 March 2019
Project Award Date: 10 June 2020