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2nd Siberian Environmental Change Network (SecNet) Workshop:

Winter Weather and Climate Extremes: How can researchers, authorities, and local peoples work together to record, predict and adapt?

An Interactive Workshop to Initiate a Discussion among a Multidisciplinary Community

Host Institution: Government of Yamal-Nenets Autonomous District

Sponsors:  Government of Yamal-Nenets Autonomous District, Tomsk State University, UK Science and Innovation Network and INTERACT 

Workshop Organisers: Terry V. Callaghan (TSU and INTERACT), Margareta Johansson (Lund University, Sweden and INTERACT), Luidmila Borilo, Sergey Kirpotin and Olga Shaduyko (TSU), Alexey Titovsky and Olga Kholyavko (Science and Innovation Department, Yamal-Nenets Autonomous District)

Venue: Government Building, Salekhard, Yamal-Nenets Autonomous District

Dates: 31 October — 4 November, 2017 (dates of arrival and departure included)

Participants: Russian and International researchers, decision makers, indigenous peoples and local residents working, or planning to work, in Siberia. Early career scientists will be encouraged to attend. By invitation.


To understand the changes in the environment of planet Earth, we need to understand the rapidly changing Arctic. To understand the Arctic, we need to understand the changes in its largest and most environmentally diverse landmass Siberia. Despite numerous research activities by Russian and International scientists in Siberia, a coherent picture remains largely unavailable to the Russian and global communities of past, current, and projected environmental changes, their drivers and societal consequences. However, the societal consequences of changes in the Siberian environment and its resources are likely to have implications for the global community as well as for local residents. To improve our understanding of current and likely changes in the Siberia and their wider consequences, Tomsk State University established the “Siberian Environmental Change Network” (, which held its inaugural meeting in Tomsk in October 2016. The meeting’s topic was “Impact of climate change on Siberia: detecting, understanding, and predicting Siberian Environmental Change and its Societal Consequences”. We now need to explore how to apply knowledge-based management to resources, ecology, and the environment.

Introduction to the Second SecNET workshop:

Thematically, the workshop will address the challenges associated with extreme events that are occurring at greater frequency and with greater intensity in the Arctic. In particular, we will focus on extreme weather events, mainly in winter but also in summer to some extent. Warm periods in winter, when snow melts or rain is deposited on snow, result in icing on the ground surface. This icing damages vegetation, kills reindeer, musk oxen and lemmings, and changes biodiversity by reducing populations of historic predators and encouraging immigration of southern scavengers. Immigration of some species results in the northward spread of pathogens and diseases harmful to people and animals. The loss of reindeer and other biodiversity changes affect the livelihoods and wellbeing of local residents such as reindeer herders, the hunting and fishing communities and the tourism industry. Although researchers can track such events experimentally or through remote sensing, it is the residents of the north who are the first observers of extreme weather events and who are those most affected. In contrast to winter weather extremes, little is known about the impacts of abnormally high temperatures in the Arctic summer.

Strategically, the workshop will explore how scientists, local authorities, and local peoples can work together to respond to such extreme events and climate changes in general. It will cooperate with the INTERACT Project ( to compile a guidebook on best practices for cooperation among the key players. Also strategically, it will build on the developing road map for research in Siberia that was initiated by a workshop in October 2016 at Tomsk State University co-funded by the SIN of the British Embassy in Moscow and Tomsk State University that highlighted the need for winter studies and the study of extreme weather events. Coincidentally, the need for progress in this field has been highlighted by the new “winternet” network hosted by Sheffield University and special sessions at the 2017 British Ecology Society and AGU meetings on winter processes.

Workshop Aims

The main aims of the workshop are:

1.     To bring researchers, local administrators, and local peoples together to exchange information on extreme weather events, general climate change, and their impacts.

2.     To learn from the dialogue a) best practices of working across sectors; b) how to respond to local concerns through appropriate adaptation strategies; c) how such actions can enrich the knowledge of local people in areas outside northern Siberia; and d) how the knowledge of northern local people outside Siberia represented through INTERACT can enrich the knowledge base in Siberia.


Workshop will take place in Salekhard, the capital of the Yamal-Nenets Autonomous District. Participants will include i) founder members of SecNET from Tomsk State University and cooperating Siberian Institutions; ii) targeted, relevant international experts; iii) members of INTERACT responsible for producing guidebooks on best practices for researcher-local people dialogues; iv) interested UK researchers; and v) local researchers, authorities, and peoples from Salekhard and its surroundings, including the area around the Kaibasovo Research Station. The workshop is by invitation only as we will deploy an interactive workshop format for the meeting.

Meeting Format and Programe:

The workshop will be arranged to maximize discussion among the various sectors. Following brief introductions by each participant, break out groups will be formed to discuss specific questions. Each group will be a mix of the three main groups – Local Peoples, Decision Makers and Researchers. Results of the break out groups will be presented in the plenary and refined into a status report. Early career scientists will be encouraged and mentored if necessary, to play significant roles in guiding, reporting, and synthesizing discussions.

A detailed programe will follow later.


The main outcome will be a continued and extended dialogue on environmental change in Siberia. An important outcome additional to the first SecNET meeting will be the focus on local peoples, their needs, and their knowledge and how decision makers and researchers respond to these. Tangible outcomes will be a “guidebook” on best practices for establishing a dialogue between researchers and local peoples, and a published report or paper. 

Practical Details:

The Yamal-Nenets Autonomous District is one of the largest constituents of the Russian Federation, a stable and dynamically developing region. It is a part of the Ural Federal District. The administrative center is Salekhard, founded by Russian Cossacks in 1595 and located on the Arctic Circle. Salekhard’s population is about 49.000 people. The Governor of the Yamal-Nenets Autonomous District is Dmitry Kobylkin. 

Yamal is a unique place for international and circumpolar cooperation. It is shown by the fact that in recent years the image of the district has grown considerably on the international arena: Events held in the district are more ambitious, significant, and effective, investors are more serious and the diplomatic corps is more interested.

The effective exchange of knowledge and progressive experience in the sphere of management and development of northern territories make a considerable contribution to the sustainable social and economic development of Yamal.

Today Yamal is a competent and active participant of international organizations, initiator and co-organisator of many international projects and programs.

For last years the Yamal-Nenets autonomous district has built tight and long-term relations with the largest organisations such as UN, Arctic Council and International Nobel Fraternity Fund and so on. Relations with these international institutes are essential, and taking into consideration mutual interest of countries they are in constant dynamics.

In terms of active Russian and geopolitics processes in the Arctic nowadays a system approach is very important to form Yamal-Nenets autonomous district as a strategic region of Russia in Arctic latitudes.

The Yamal-Nenets autonomous district is one of distinctive regions of Russia. The Yamal culture is based on multi-ethnic traditions of people living in the autonomous district.

The district has 228 arts and culture institutions. The Shemanovsky Museum and Exhibition Center, where the mummified body of Luba world-famous baby mammoth is stored, can be named the Arctic Hermitage.

There are two regular daily flights from Moscow to Salekhard  operated by “Yamal” and ‘Aeroflot” airline companies.

Meeting details:

The conference room has all the required facilities including internet access for participants. The working languages will be English and Russian (simultaneous translation will be provided for the plenary sessions and consecutive translation for each workgroup).

Please submit your introductory slides (if any) on a memory stick at least 10 minutes before the first session starts.

Electricity is 220 volts, with power sockets taking European two-pin plugs.

Telecommunications are excellent, with access to European mobile phone networks.

Weather and clothing:

It is likely to be cold at the end of October with temperatures of around -15 C. There may be snow showers and a temporary snow cover, but the persistent winter snow cover comes later. Please bring warm clothing (there can be some time outside during the workshop days, and there will be an excursion to the open-air ethnographic complex).

Medical help:

Please contact one of the organizers if you need medical attention (contact details below). In emergency, call 102 or 103, although it might still be best to contact one of the organizers to circumvent language difficulties.
Please let the organizers know if you have any intolerances to various foods. Participants are advised to arrange their own travel and medical insurance.

Contact Numbers

Terry Callaghan

Olga Shaduyko (Morozova)

Olga Kholyavko