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Federal Research Center 
"Krasnoyarsk Science Center of the Siberian
Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences"

 Федеральный исследовательский центр «Красноярский научный центр Сибирского отделения Российской академии наук»

Federal Research Center 
"Krasnoyarsk Science Center of the Siberian
Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences"

New scientific council of SB RAS will deal with the problems of the state of the environment in Siberia and the Eastern Arctic

31 March 2021 г.

Новый научный совет СО РАН займется проблемами состояния окружающей среды в Сибири и Восточной Арктике
At the meeting of the Presidium of SB RAS, the regulations on the establishment of the Scientific Council on the problems of the ecology of Siberia and the Eastern Arctic were approved. The main direction of the Council's activity is to make proposals for the development of methods for managing the quality of the environment in cities, terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems.

The first Deputy Chairman of the Scientific Council of SB RAS on the problems of ecology of Siberia and the Eastern Arctic, Director of the Institute of Biophysics of FRC "KSC SB RAS" Academician Andrei Georgievich Degermendzhi told about the principles and priorities of the Council.

General concept

- The key word in describing the tasks of the Council is management. This distinguishes the Council's activities from academic environmental research, technological research and prohibitive measures.

During the preliminary work, we received many proposals for specific environmental problems. However, upon closer examination, it can be seen that almost all of them relate either to the state assignment, or scientific work that is already being carried out in academic institutions, or to the competence of the previously created councils of SB RAS on climate, forest and others. However,  specific projects of the new Council should prepare scientifically grounded recommendations for management scenarios based on the existing scientific and technological developments. The proposed technologies for managing the quality of three main environments - the city (air quality), aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems - should be ranked according to their efficiency and cost, to form a paradigm of the Council's work.

When formulating this paradigm, we also relied on our positive experience, unique for Russia, in managing water quality in aquatic ecosystems. We have implemented monitoring, experiments, mathematical modeling and impact technologies, which made it possible to restore the purity of several reservoirs in the Krasnoyarsk Region. It is this methodological approach within the framework of the chain “monitoring-experiment-modeling-control” that is proposed to be used as the basis for the work, taking into account the nature and peculiarities of objects.

The Council has more other specific tasks. Of course, it should include a larger number of scientific experts and representatives of federal supervisory bodies which monitor the state of the environment, as well as large industrial companies. The Council should coordinate the scientific and expert work of academic organizations and ultimately form a consolidated position of the scientific community in the field of improving the state of the natural environment in Siberia and the Eastern Arctic. This position should be presented in the form of conclusions and proposals aimed at real improvement of the environment.

If necessary, the Council can conduct scientific expertise and submit to the Presidium expert opinions on large projects, federal or regional programs concerning the use of natural resources, as well as on legislative and regulatory initiatives. It is quite possible that we should initiate the creation of the Environmental Foundation with the participation of SB RAS in order to solve the most urgent ecological problems of the region.

It is possible to go even further and work out the initiation of a law according to which no large industrial or other project will be able to get official permission for implementation until a scientific and technological examination of environmental and other consequences is carried out with the participation of the Russian Academy of Sciences and the approval of the examination results.

Tasks of the thematic sections

- The Council is being established not as a structure to duplicate scientific research on ecology, but as an expert body for creating “short-range” projects based on the developed approaches. These projects will focus on significant environmental improvements based on the ecosystem management. The section leaders, together with experts, are to specify the current areas of work, whose results will allow one to propose a number of measures for improving the quality of the environment. These ready-made projects can be recommended to local authorities and government of the Russian Federation.

In the near future, projects in three thematic sections (urban ecology, water and terrestrial ecosystems) will become the areas of the Council's interests. I would like to emphasize that these projects should implement the proposed paradigm of the environmental quality management.

As concerns the ecology of cities, one of the first tasks is the development of a system for monitoring the quality of air and drinking water in cities based on the existing systems of hydrometeorological service and new methods developed by SB RAS. These data will be used to create accessible dynamic databases and pollution mapping.

It is extremely important to be engaged in experimental studies of chemical, photochemical and biological transformations of pollutants in the atmosphere and to consider these processes using mathematical models.

The next logical task is the development and adaptation of mathematical models of air transport and accumulation of pollutants in cities, taking into account the topography, wind patterns, emission sources and features of the urban climate. These models will allow building pollution maps and investigating the sensitivity of city zones to scenarios for reducing the volume and composition of emissions. It is the conjugation of the ranked impact scenarios with the technological possibilities of reducing emissions that will make it possible to develop optimal strategies for managing the quality of the urban environment.

In the field of aquatic ecosystems, one of the main tasks is to combat the "blooming" of natural water reservoirs by cyanobacteria and microalgae using various methods, both geonucleation and biomanipulation of trophic chains.

The topic of coastal blooming has now become extremely acute. Therefore, it is necessary to solve the problem of fighting the "green tides" of benthic filamentous algae by, first of all, identifying and eliminating the sources of eutrophication.
Another important task is bioremediation and increasing the productivity of dystrophic arctic lakes exposed to chronic anthropogenic pollution.
The water section of the Council will also consider the Siberian rivers. One of the tasks is to assess the possibility of managing river systems (the Yenisei, Lena, Ob rivers) in order to predict self-purification and optimize water use, compensate for significant anthropogenic influences and negative consequences of hydro-construction on the urban climate.

The relevance of the section on terrestrial ecosystems is due to the fact that, under the influence of climatic and anthropogenic factors, there occur transformations of the ecosystems, leading to serious biological threats. One of the first tasks will be the creation and application of biological methods for controlling the number of insects harmful to humans to reduce the pesticide load on terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. The task of preventing the death of non-target organisms (bees, fish, small mammals and others) from insecticidal treatments is associated with the same point. It is extremely important to develop effective methods for controlling the number of insects and reducing the phytopathogenic load on forest ecosystems as one of the methods for preventing fires.

The section on terrestrial ecosystems will also develop methods for effective monitoring of forests, control of the state of recreational urban areas.
Another important task is to study the effect of the ecosystem transformation on invasive species and natural foci of pathogens of human and animal diseases, and to study the effect of anthropogenic loads on pathogenic organisms and parasites in natural ecosystems.

Problem number one - urban ecology

- The section "Ecology of cities" seems to be the most urgent now. The state and quality of the urban environment, the atmosphere of many Siberian cities, including the Arctic zone, often does not comply with the norms, which is reflected not only in numerous reports, but also in a number of decrees of the President and Government of the Russian Federation. Local authorities in cities and many regions of Siberia have developed or are developing plans to reduce emissions from various sources. In this situation, the Council should promptly create on the basis of the “monitoring-model-technology” chain and propose a new effective operating instrument of management and decision-making system.

Such an instrument can be created using the example of a “pilot” city. It can be Krasnoyarsk or another city with a large and diverse amount of pollution. When developing the system, first of all, it is necessary to systematize the state open data of observations of the state of the environment and atmosphere of the city and to form a database for their subsequent use in mathematical models.

Further, it is required to adapt mathematical models of the dynamics of the pollution spread in the atmosphere to a specific city. Such a model shows how substances are distributed in the city's atmosphere, taking into account emissions, geography, evaporation from water and surface, absorption, wind conditions, and so on. For emissions, it is important to take into account all sources of pollution, including enterprises, private stove heating, vehicles, it necessary to to know the composition and volume of emissions, and dynamics over time.

Taking into account all the input and boundary conditions, a distribution map of pollution in the city atmosphere is formed in the model. It is then tested based on the measurement database. This is how its maximum adequacy is achieved. Then, there is the most interesting stage, which is verifying the effectiveness of environmental protection measures in terms of improving air quality. In the model, one can reduce or remove specific impacts or pollutants and see the most important thing: how much certain measures, ranked by financial cost, will affect the air quality at a particular point in the city. It is obvious that a reduction in emissions should lead to an improvement, to answer the question, how much and where, is the task of modeling.
An important point is emission reduction technologies, which must be adapted to each type of emission source, both common for different cities (coal combustion, motor vehicles), and very specific (aluminum production). To develop such proposals, in the absence of ready-made technologies, the council and SB RAS have a sufficient number of thematic institutes and high-profile specialists. For example, at this stage, there are no simple ways to manage the inversion layer over the city, which creates critical conditions for the extremely annoying "black sky" phenomenon.

By the way, in the proposed system, it is easy to test the effectiveness of the already implemented municipal and federal plans to reduce emissions. The concept of efficiency also includes different responses of different parts of the city to the reduction of emissions from enterprises. It can be assumed that different areas of the city will differ in sensitivity, that is, the parameters of changes in air quality. At present, there is no tool for such an assessment and decision-making in the management practice of Russian cities. The forecast tool created and adapted to the city can then be transferred and used in the permanent work of the administration of each city as a "digital" simulator.

Openness of the Council

- In conclusion, I would like to dwell on the excitement that has arisen in the media about the announcement of data on the levels of pollution in the cities of Siberia. The purpose of the first stage is to select priority "pilot" cities for the sections, in particular, for the development of the above-mentioned decision-making system. All the data presented at this stage were taken from open government sources and no one has the right to restrict access to them. This is a violation of the Constitution of the Russian Federation.

As for the interpretation of data, this is the prerogative of specialists. The task of the council is to organize the interaction of a sufficient number of independent and professional experts in such a way that everyone could trust the results of their work. I hope we can do it.

Source: Science in Siberia