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From climate to transport: Arctic projects of Russian and Japanese scientists

August 22, 2017, 19:10 UTC+3 MOSCOW

Both Russian and Japanese scientists are interested in climate change studies in the area

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© AP Photo/David Goldman

MOSCOW, August 22. /TASS/. Many projects of the Russian-Japanese scientific cooperation are related to multifaceted studies of the Arctic. For example, scientists are interested in climate research in the Russian Arctic zones, which may become a basis for long-term forecasts of climate changes on the planet.

These issues will be on agenda of the Eastern Economic Forum, due in Vladivostok on September 6-7. Shortly before the forum, experts of leading universities and scientific centers told TASS about joint projects and further development of the Russian-Japanese scientific cooperation in the Arctic.

Spheres of mutual interest

Japanese scientists are interested in the Russian Arctic zone in a few research directions: from the climate change to implementation of the energy projects, deputy head of the Eastern Institute of the Far East Federal University, an expert in Japan, Evgeny Pustovoit told TASS.

"[Japanese scientists] are involved in scientific research projects in different spheres, including also in the sphere of researching the Northern Sea Route, where private companies may be involved. At the same time, there are regional strategies relating to the Arctic, and one of them, for example, includes re-equipment of Hokkaido ports to raise their competitiveness with ports of other countries for beginning navigation along the Northern Sea Route," the expert said.

Japan's interests in the Arctic also relate to energy projects, marine transportation along the future Northern Sea Route, studies of the region's resource opportunities, as well as of environment and security issues.

Studies of Arctic climate are leading direction

The top interest of Japanese scientists in the Russian Arctic is research in the climate change. In this sphere are most joint projects involving Russian and Japanese scientists in the Arctic. "Japan pays special attention to research of the Arctic and Antarctica to analyze impact from the climate change and to make global-scale forecasts, including in relation to their own country and its surrounding waters," the Russian expert said.

In this direction most active counterparts for the Japanese researchers are experts of the North-Eastern Federal University. One of the most important projects of the kind was modelling the climate changes on a supercomputer at the Earth Simulator Center (Yokohama) using data from the Spasska Pad scientific station in Yakutia.

"Under the GAME-Siberia Russian-Japanese joint scientific project <…> we make mathematics modelling of the climate change using the data, received at the Spasska Pad station in Yakutia," Director of the international educational center in bio-geo-chemistry and climate studies of the North-Eastern Federal University Trofim Maximov told TASS.

At the Spasska Pad there are a few 30-meter poles equipped with modern systems, which collect information about flows of water, energy, carbon at various heights. These data are necessary for analyzing inflows of carbon dioxide and for comparative estimation of the effects from certain ecology systems and anthropogenic sources on growth of greenhouse gases. Using these data, the Japanese experts make long-term forecasts of the climate changes not only in the Arctic, but also in other parts of the globe.

Russian and Japanese scientists continue climate change studies not only in the Eastern sector of the Arctic. In 2013, the Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute of the Russian Hydrometeorology Service resumed the ice base Baranova Cape on the Bolshevik Island of the Northern Land archipelago. Currently, scientific research continues at the base the year round, and the institute has invited for cooperation foreign scientists, including experts from Japan.

"Jointly with partners from Japan we want to continue research of the atmosphere processes at big areas. This interest is mutual, as exchange of information would result in more precise understanding of the natural processes. In the Arctic now works a Japanese scientific vessel, which plans working in the coming years. The issue of cooperation with the Japanese partners is at the stage of discussions, and within a month we shall know details," head of the Institute's High-Latitudinal Arctic Expedition Vladimir Sokolov said.

New directions for cooperation

Research of conditions for development of the Northern Sea Route and of the Arctic's development would be new directions in the joint work of the Russian and Japanese scientists, the Far East Federal University's expert said. "In further expanding of the cooperation between Russia and Japan in the Arctic we should point to the direction like joint work on new methods to regulate navigation along the Northern Sea Route and research of technical conditions for its exploitation," he said.

In his opinion, implementation of Arctic projects with involvement of Japanese investments and scientific technologies will open for Russia access to advance technologies of environment monitoring, shipbuilding, mining, and logistics. Russia, in its turn, may share with Japan the vast scientific-technological experience of working in the Arctic.

Eastern Economic Forum 2017

The third Eastern Economic Forum will take place in Vladivostok on September 6-7.

The forum is the biggest international communication platform for cooperation between businesses, political and expert communities from Russia, the Pacific Region and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). The event organizers report confirmations received from 24 delegations, including representatives of China, Japan, Australian, Canada and the US, as well as European countries like the UK, Germany and others.

In 2016, the Forum gathered 3,500 participants, who presented 111 projects worth total investments of 2.2 trillion rubles ($37 billion). The forum's delegations signed 216 agreements worth 1.85 trillion rubles ($31 billion).

TASS is the event’s general information partner and moderator of the investment projects’ presentation zone.

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