Siberian center for Environmental Research and Training

Working Group on Siberia Integrated Regional Study development

Organizers: Alexander Baklanov (DMI,, Gerard Begni (MEDIAS-France,, Evgueni Gordov (SCERT,, Martin Heimann (MPI for Bio-Geochemistry,, Michael Kabanov (Institute of Monitoring of Climatic and Ecological systems SB RAS,, Vasily Lykosov (Institute of Numerical Mathematics RAS,, Sten Nilsonn (IIASA, Evgueni Vaganov (Institute of Forest SB RAS,, Anatoly Shvidenko (IIASA, and Sergej Zilitinkevich (Helsinki University,,
Under auspice of the Siberian Branch of IGBP Russian National Committee and with support of Siberian Center for Environmental Research and Training and MEDIAS-France

The first Meeting of the Working Group on Siberia Integrated Regional Study (SIRS) is planned to be held within framework of the CITES 2005 Conference in Novosibirsk, Russia, 23 March 2004. We plan to gather regional, national and international researchers and representatives of institutions and funding agencies interested in development of the SIRS as a part of the Earth System Science Partnership and IGBP 2 network of the Integrated Regional Studies in the selected regions of the globe. The idea is to have a brainstorming session bringing together the small group of regional scientists and their close partners on one hand, the key persons from the international programmes who accepted the invitation on the other hand, in order to deepen and strengthen the preliminary project and push it on the international scenery. It will take place just after the CITES 2005 Conference, which is an unique opportunity to bring together the relevant people; to become aware of the regional state-of-art, and have an in-depth discussion to chose the right tracks in order to have a fruitful synergy with endorsed global change regional programmes.
Really, many disciplinary and interdisciplinary local and regional studies on environmental, climatic and human dimension issues have been provided so far in Siberia by regional, national and international groups. Accordingly to present knowledge, Siberia is the place in the world where the most pronounced consequences of climate changes already happen and will happen. Various models have been developed to address different dimensions of this issue. Variability in space and time as well as regions of critical importance (”hotspots”) have been evidenced through in situ and remote sensing measurement techniques and were forecasted by advanced climatic models. Climate warning will cause some large areas to change their temperature and humidity regimes. In some places, it will generate new large bogs, which will act as an active source of CH4 (and probably CO2 at least at the beginning). In other places, the boundary of the boreal forest will move to the North, covering new areas and generating new CO2 sinks. Dramatic change of disturbance regimes, in particular fire and insect outbreaks is foreseen as well. Thawing permafrost will likely provide physical destruction of landscapes and infrastructure, and may dramatically change the hydrological regime and vegetation’s condition of vast territories. What will be the net balance of such changes in terms of carbon, water and energy cycle at the local and sub-regional scales? How will it interact with regional and global scales? What will be the feedback to the climate system at all these scales? In addition, the anthropogenic interference has to be taken into proper account. How will policy and decision makers, public and private industry, citizens react? Are we able to predict and to model that? How should regional predictions be tied with the conventional IPCC climatic and human dimension scenarios? What is the current and future role of the Kyoto Protocol in the regional aspect?

The region requires a new research paradigm. An overarching vision of regional aspects and its various connections to global aspects is now needed in line with the defined by the Earth System Science Partnership Integrated Regional Studies (IRS) approach, which could lead to Siberia IRS (SIRS) program. This requires bringing together scientists from several disciplines and sub-regions into a much wider approach and setting up the relevant structures (institutions, regional and trans-regional and international networks, funding) to lead such integrative studies. Results of such studies should be bridged with and acknowledged by relevant decision policy makers in order to implement proper mitigation and remediation actions at managerial and political decision levels.

An overall classical scheme to address such an ambitious objective as SIRS is to fully address the following issues (some of them have already been addressed from some specific points of views but most of them have never been considered in a consistent integrated approach):
• What are the main features of the regional Siberian climate changes (overall trends, sub-regional trends and anomalies, interactions between ecosystems, atmosphere, and human society, etc.)?
• What are the regional drivers of these changes?
• How are they linked to the global climate change features?
• In turn, how do they impact them?
• In particular, what are the connections with surrounding sub-regions and regions such as central Asia, Aral Sea basin, Mongolia, Arctic area…?
• How can sub-regional and regional modeling be incorporated into continental and global models?
• What are optimal interconnection of regional and IPCC scenarios? What are the results of such scenarios?
• What are the anticipated physical, biological and socio-economic impacts of/ responses to global change according to each scenario?
• Are relevant socio-ecological models available and could be satisfactory validated with respect to the above problems?
• What adaptation and mitigation measures should be realized in order to decrease/ eliminate negative consequences of the global change? At what cost?
Namely to answer such questions, a Siberia Integrated Regional Study (SIRS) should be initiated as well as the associated institutions, official and unofficial organizational structures (interdisciplinary collaborative networks, central structure, etc.) should be created.
The principal goal of the Working Group is to analyze various research programs and activities in the region from a systemaic point of view based on integrated ideas of the ESS-P/IRS approach; to identify gaps and overlaps and the ways how to reduce those; to understand how these activities pave the way to next integration steps; and to define such next steps.

According the SB of the Russian National IGBP Committee on the initial stage SIRS might be centred along the four following activities:
• Quantification of the terrestrial biota full greenhouse gas budget in particular exchange of major biophilic elements between biota and atmosphere (Leader Evgeny Vaganov, regional core group includes Andrej Degermendgi, Slava Kharuk, Nikolai Kolchanov, Vadimir Krupchatnikov and Alexander Onuchin)
• Regional climate change impact monitoring and modelling (Leaders Mikhael Kabanov and Vasily Lykosov, regional core group includes Vladimir Krutikov, Valerian Snytko, Yurii Vinokurov, Arnold Tulokhonov, Gdaly Rivin, Vladimir Shaidurov, Viktor Kuzin)
• Development of information-computational infrastructure of SIRS (Leader Evgueni Gordov, regional core group includes: Igor Bychkov, Alexander Fazliev, Anatoly Fedotov, Anatoly Lagutin, Alexander Starchenko)
• Development of an anticipatory regional strategy of adaptation to and mitigation of negative consequences of global change (Leader and group should be determined)

As result of the WG, we hope to define more precisely a preliminary plan to develop the scientific basis and implement of an Integrated Regional Study which would address the unique features of Climate Change in Siberia, its local and regional impacts, responses and vulnerabilities of ecosystems, and its interconnection with the global processes.
Also we hope that the Working Group will generate rather strong signal showing that the regional scientific community enforced by strong international links is quite ready and eager to work within the framework of ESS-P, aiming at development of an IRS which would correspond to the mainstream of national and international science on global change.