The Arctic and its adjacent region is highly sensitive to global warming, based on the reports of the last 35 years, showing that the Arctic sea ice extent in summer has declined by approximately two-thirds. This environmental change in the Arctic is very likely to affect the climate and the ecosystem in the region, and further lead to global environmental changes through water and atmosphere cycle. On the other hand, the decreasing amount of sea ice has an enormous potential to increase economic benefits by expanding the navigable area in the Arctic Ocean, and as such is currently attracting growing interests in both the economic and political aspects.
Our aim is to work out solutions to global problems through comprehensive and integrated research on the Arctic in order to contribute towards the sustainable development and the conservation of the Arctic. For that purpose, we put together researchers of all fields in Hokkaido University, ranging from natural sciences to human and social sciences, so that we can advance cutting-edge and interdisciplinary research activities as well as exploratory studies.
We are also equipped to facilitate international cooperation by unifying international exchanges concerning the Arctic research in the whole university. Interdisciplinary cooperation will be promoted by the governance of URA. In cooperation with National Institute of Polar Research, and Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology, we are aiming to serve as a national center for the Arctic Research, and to contribute to policy making about the Arctic.