Arctic Council Working Groups ACAP, AMAP, CAFF and PAME are all meeting this week in Tromsø, Norway. To mark the occasion, we’re highlighting a series of projects from their portfolios. This article looks at the Sustaining Arctic Observing Networks, or SAON, an initiative supported by Working Group AMAP.


The purpose of the Sustaining Arctic Observing Networks (SAON) is to support and strengthen the development of multinational engagement for sustained and coordinated pan-Arctic observing and data sharing systems. SAON was initiated by the Arctic Council and the International Arctic Science Committee, and was established by the 2011 Ministerial Meeting in Nuuk. All Arctic states, several Permanent Participant organizations, and a number of non-Arctic states are involved. SAON is open to all Working Groups, as well as to international organizations and initiatives that are engaged in observational activities in the Arctic.

Christine Daae Olseng from the Research Council of Norway and Larry Hinzman from University of Alaska took the positions as Chair and vice-Chair of the SAON Board in 2015.

SAON operates through two Committees. The Arctic Data Committee (ADC) currently works with four projects:

  • documenting and understanding the Arctic data management ecosystem;
  • identifying and promoting common metadata elements;
  • engaging in data citation and publication movement; and
  • promoting data interoperability.

The tentative list of activities for the SAON Committees on Observations and Networks (CON) involves these activities:

  • Atmospheric observations initiative;
  • EU PolarNet;
  • Community-Based Monitoring atlas;
  • indicators; and
  • inventory of Arctic Council Working Group projects.

ADC is led by Peter Pulsifer, from the US National Snow and Ice Data Center; CON is led by Lisa Loseto from Fisheries and Oceans, Canada.

The next meeting of the SAON Board will take place during the Arctic Observing Summit in Fairbanks, Alaska in March 2016.

Learn more about SAON, AMAP and IASC at,, and


Photo: Henning Thing