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Polar Panorama – FAQ

PolarRES is a Europe-wide research project involving various institutes and experts from a range of different countries and research fields. Their common goal is to gain new insights into the processes involved in atmosphere-ocean-ice interactions in the Arctic and Antarctic at the local-regional scale, and to investigate their influence on global circulation. For more information on PolarRES in general, please click here.

One subproject of PolarRES, the Citizen Science Project – Polar Panorama, calls for integrating citizens and their experience of the changes in the Polar Regions, in order to highlight the societal perceptions of the vulnerability of the Polar Regions. The goal is to involve people in the research process who are not active members of the scientific community. The subproject is coordinated by the Climate Office at the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI).

Citizen science is an approach in which scientific insights are gained by people who do not work as professionals in the relevant scientific field (Pettibone et al. 2016: 6 f.). There are a variety of definitions of citizen science, and the concept can be interpreted in many different ways (Vohland et al. 2021: 25). Yet, according to Vohland et. al. (2021: 243), the key aspects that define citizen science are that non-professional scientists contribute to scientific research and that their perspectives and personal experiences are recognized. Generally speaking, citizen science also refers to “the active engagement of the general public in scientific research tasks […] to produce new knowledge for science and society“ (Vohland et al. 2021: 1). In addition, citizen science seeks to promore exchange, increase access to knowledge and find common ground between science and society. This also includes open access, open research methods and the dissemination of research results to the public (Pettibone et al. 2016: 6 f.).


Pettibone, L., Vohland, K., Bonn, A., Richter, A., Bauhus, W.,  Behrisch, B., Borcherding, R., Brandt, M., Bry, F., Dörler, D., Elbertse, I., Glöckler, F., Göbel, C., Hecker, S., Heigl, F., Herdick, M., Kiefer, S., Kluttig, T., Kühn, E., Ziegler, D. (2016): Citizen science for all. A guide for citizen science practitioners.

Vohland, K., Land-Zandstra, A., Ceccaroni, L., Lemmens, R., Perelló, J., Ponti, M., Samson, R., Wagenknecht, K. (2021): Science of Citizen Science. Springer Nature, 2021.

The underlying idea is to gather, assess and visualize societal perceptions of the ongoing changes in the Arctic and Antarctic. The Polar Panorama is a digital and interactive display of people’s personal experiences regarding the vulnerability and protection of the Polar Regions: a gallery of thoughts and impressions concerning the Polar Regions and how they are changing. Everyone – from locals to people who have travelled or worked in the Polar Regions – is invited to share their impressions using different types of media, like images, videos, audio recordings, drawings or in writing. The aim of the Polar Panorama is to showcase the citizen’s view of the vulnerability of the Arctic and Antarctic and gain further insights into the environmental and social impacts of the changes in the Polar Regions.

Currently, we are starting the project with a pilot phase. During this phase, we will initially focus on travellers in the Polar Regions. Afterwards, the target group will be actively expanded to include e.g. the working crews of (research) vessels and residents of the Arctic and Antarctic.

The project aims to go beyond the researcher’s view and capture societal perspectives on the Arctic and Antarctic. Everyone, from locals to people who have personally lived, worked or travelled in the Polar Regions, is invited to join the project and share their impressions and experiences. By participating, you can broaden our understanding of the ongoing changes and their environmental and societal implications. Moreover, you can help convey the vulnerability of and need to protect the Polar Regions to those who will never have the chance to visit them.

Please bear in mind that your contributions should be related to the topics: a) vulnerability; b) protection of the Polar Regions; c) environmental / societal / cultural implications of the ongoing changes in the Arctic and Antarctic.

All contributions are collected via an upload form on the webpage seaiceportal.de, which is managed by the Climate Office of the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research. Please follow this link to access the upload form and submit your contributions: https://www.meereisportal.de/en/upload-form-polar-panorama. All submissions will be reviewed at regular intervals, processed and made available to PolarRES’s partner institutes. Selected contributions will become part of the Polar Panorama, an interactive gallery that will be available on the PolarRES project website.

Currently, we are starting the project with a pilot phase. We hope to be able to present the first results in the next few months and share selected contributions on this website. The site will be updated at regular intervals.

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