Speakers are setting the scene for their business ahead in arctic observing and what a scene it is. Glaciers draining into rising oceans and in the bottom of the arctic seas, what look to be pretty clear signs of the dissolving of the shells of marine organisms in the increasingly acidic waters.
The breakout sessions are aimed at coming up with an action plan to mount an observing system and keep it in place. To do this, the scientists need to try to think in a different way than researchers are accustomed to. They need to figure out who i n the future will want this information, and what would it be worth to them.
The International Polar Year in 2007-08 probably set the pattern for this. Scientists discovered then that the target of their observations was already moving. The arctic was melting right before their eyes. They are still trying to catch up. As Peter Schlosser of Columbia University admitted “”the system is changing faster than we are catching up.” Schlosser is one of the organizers of the Observing Summit.