In Paris, at the workshop Environmental Changes in Siberia, scientists from Russia and France have discussed creating a network to study environmental changes in Siberia and the Arctic. This macroregion has an impact on climate formation and the well-being of the entire planet, so French researchers are ready to participate in bilateral projects to obtain new information on the manifestations of global warming and its possible consequences.
Participants from the Russian side were TSU staff, V.E. Zuev Institute of Atmospheric Optics, and scientists from the Siberian Federal University, Moscow State University, and the Institute of Geography of the Russian Academy of Sciences (Moscow). France was represented by the National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS), the largest French public research institution, uniting French government organizations specializing in applied and basic research.
– In Paris, we presented the results of several scientific projects and a tool for implementing them – a megatransect, a line of research stations and all-weather sampling points for studying environmental changes,- says Sergei Kirpotin, director of the TSU Bio-Clim-Land Center of Excellence. – Our experience aroused great interest among French colleagues because the presence of the transect helps us to research throughout the year. Many experts studying Siberia and the Arctic are forced to end their field season with the onset of cold weather. TSU has no limitations in this sense. Also, transects are a kind of supporting research axis, the infrastructure of which allows the implementation of logistics of several large projects at the same time with minimal costs. It is planned to create a new transect from west to east along the continental gradient of Siberia.
The megatransect is expanding dynamically due to the joining of scientific hospitals, which are partners of the SecNet network, created under the auspices of the university to study Siberia and the Arctic. The French are interested in researching this area. They are ready to combine their scientific potential and their resources with Russian centers under a joint network, which has already received the working title From the Tundra to the Steppe.
– The French scientists have very developed remote sensing technologies for the Earth, which are optimal for exploring Siberia and the Arctic because of their vast expanse and the presence of inaccessible places, for example, the Vasyugan marshes, – says Sergey Kirpotin. – France has very strong specialists in biogeochemistry. This area has a huge role in the study of climate. In France, humanities areas are actively developing in which TSU has created a huge scientific reserve, therefore, the field of joint interests is anthropology and the study of the indigenous peoples of Siberia and the Arctic. I am sure that by combining our competencies, we can get a synergistic effect.
Based on the results of the workshop and the negotiations, the parties formed the final concept of the research network. The next step will be presenting it to the leadership of the scientific centers of Russia and France – potential network participants – and to the governments of the two countries. It is assumed that the signing of the formal agreement will take place in 2020. Scientists note that the availability of a research network will be the basis for future joint projects, participation in international grants, and conducting the research necessary to understand and forecast the changes occurring with the planet.
As the French partners noted, now is the most favorable time for the development of bilateral collaboration in the study of Siberia and the Arctic, as the rapprochement of the two countries at the highest level has begun, including an active dialogue between the presidents of Russia and France. Evidence of this was the participation in the workshop of representatives of the French Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs and the French National Centre for Scientific Research directorate.