On 13 November 2018, Polar Research and Policy Initiative (PRPI) and the SALIENSEAS project came together in joint deliberations with a select group of experts to bring attention to metocean and sea ice services that will be needed to support safe, sustainable Arctic maritime activities now and through 2035. The workshop Maritime Futures 2035: The Arctic Region was hosted by the Danish Meteorological Institute (DMI) in Copenhagen, Denmark, and was attended by 28 participants including delegates from the Norwegian and Danish Meteorological Institutes, Greenland Pilot Service, Association of Fishers and Hunters in Greenland, Visit Greenland, Maritimt Forum Nord, Arctia, Harnvig Arctic & Maritime and the Association of Arctic Expedition Cruise Operators as well as representatives of academia.
The objective of the workshop was to discuss, and to develop scenarios in response to, the question What information is needed to successfully respond to changes impacting Arctic maritime activities now and through 2035? The point of departure for discussion was an ice-diminished Arctic Ocean and the increased access that will enable increased development with emerging strategic and security dimensions. Deliberations were framed by the assumption that accurate weather and sea ice forecasts are necessary to assist Arctic communities and maritime users to increase their resilience, to ensure their security, and to encourage environmental sustainability in the changing Arctic. Through a series of panel discussions and breakout group activities, participants deliberated the most influential drivers of change that will impact uncertainties in maritime operational and tactical planning. These drivers spanned political, scientific and socio-economic themes and notably included the uncertainties surrounding an influential outside player, China’s activities. By taking a foresight outlook perspective, our experts produced important projections to support continued scientific engagement around climate services and to inform broader development planning policies.
A presentation by Deputy Director of Operations Søren Olufsen (Danish Meteorological Institute) concluded the workshop. The presentation showcased DMI’s vision for Greenland ice service to share inshore and offshore ice information for all of Greenland, and to create a complete production chain from observation to forecasts. Following the workshop, PRPI and SALIENSEAS delegates met with members of the Greenland Committee, Faroe Islands and the Arctic Working Group at a PRPI ‘SDGs in the Arctic’ Roundtable in the Danish Parliament to share key insights from the workshop and to discuss sustainable development goals in the Arctic.
In the months following the workshop, an extensive, comprehensive foresight process accompanied the development of final scenarios by project partners at Wageningen University’s Environmental Policy Group in partnership with Denamics GmbH that provided technical expertise. The report below includes a brief Executive Summary, a comprehensive summary of results including visual illustration of scenarios, technical documentation and details about the workshop proceedings. For the report, click here.