ACME workshop: Towards reliable proxy-based reconstructions: community perspectives and criteria for the ACME database

01.05 - 02.05.2020  
Vienna, Austria
Contact person:
Anna Pienkowski, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The Arctic Cryosphere Change and Coastal Marine Ecosystems (ACME) working group will hold the workshop "Towards reliable proxy-based reconstructions: community perspectives and criteria for the ACME database" from 1-2 May 2020 in Vienna, Austria.


Potentially either the Mercure Biedermeier Vienna or the Marriott Vienna Prater/Messe, Vienna (TBA)


This is an open workshop for approximately 30 participants who have a range of proxy expertise. The workshop will be held immediately before the General Assembly 2020 of the European Geosciences Union (EGU). Parts of the workshop may be available online - more details to come.


The ACME working group was launched in July 2019, with the aim to assess and refine available marine proxies that can be used to reconstruct past cryosphere changes and their ecosystem impacts on the arctic coastal zone. A particular focus is placed on the techniques and the quality of data, on the training of early-career scientists, and on the establishment of new community-driven protocols.


This first ACME workshop will have two clear objectives that are both linked to a product outcome:

First, the overall product goal of ACME Phase 1 (2019-2022) is a database that contains a spatial network of currently available sites and proxies commonly used for reconstructing sea ice, primary production, meltwater runoff and terrestrial inputs in arctic coastal and fjord environments. It is implicit that each database entry follows the criteria defined by the ACME community to ensure that quality assessment will be easy for the end users. Hence, the main objective of the workshop is to plan proxy-specific data entry criteria. ACME seeks to have as wide community participation as possible to assure the robustness of these criteria for each proxy, and hence attaching the workshop to a wide-scope, wide-participation conference will have a high likelihood to meet this goal.

Second, ACME has recently conducted a survey to collect community perspectives on the current state and future directions of arctic coastal paleoceanography. The results of the survey will provide a basis for outlining priority research questions and community directions within and beyond ACME, and will give an overview of spatial, methodological, and ecological knowledge gaps identified by the community. The ACME Steering Group is planning to draft a white paper based on the survey, and it is imperative to discuss this directly with the community. The Steering Group will meet in January 2020 to analyse the survey results, and the outcomes of this exercise and their relevance to the paper will be discussed with the community during the workshop.

Key participants

At this first short ACME-workshop we will not invite key speakers, instead the focus will be on working in groups formed around key proxies for sea ice, primary production, meltwater runoff and terrestrial inputs.

These groups will establish proxy-specific data entry criteria for the planned database, to ensure data quality assessment is made easy for the users of the database.

Financial support

PAGES has provided some funding for the attendance of early-career researchers and scientists from developing countries. Details on how to apply will be made available as soon as possible.

Registration and deadlines

Details on how and when to apply will be made available as soon as possible.


This workshop represents a fundamental component of the first phase of ACME and will be instrumental in achieving the overarching goal for this phase, i.e. to critically assess and refine current available marine proxies for reconstructing Arctic cryosphere changes and their impacts. By directly contributing to one of the main products from ACME Phase I - the proxy database - this workshop will constitute a firm foundation on which to lead the second phase of ACME to success, aimed to apply marine proxies to Holocene coastal records across the Arctic.

By the date of this workshop, the community will have been able to provide feedback via the online questionnaire and the steering group will have met to draft a white paper incorporating the comments provided by the community. This workshop is thus a timely and apt opportunity to:

- promote ACME to the wider community
- discuss the state of the discipline directly with the community, thereby finalizing and submitting  the white paper
- discuss and finalize the criteria for the proposed ACME database, and
- devise a firm and strategic plan on how to advance the discipline over the course of ACME and beyond.

Planned products

- Draft of White Paper based on the ACME online community survey to be submitted to the international peer-reviewed journal Frontiers in Marine Science. Preliminary title: Community perspectives on research gaps and priorities in proxy-based reconstructions for the marine Arctic.
- Defining proxy-specific entry criteria and framework for ACME database
- Past Global Changes Magazine workshop report
- Establishment of a formal ECS network for ACME including members from developing countries.

Outreach event

One of the steering committee members (A. Pienkowski) will visit her old secondary school in Vienna (Bundesgymnasium & Bundesrealgymnasium Zirkusgasse 48, 1020 Vienna) to give a talk about, and engage with school children on, climate change in Arctic coastal environments.

Data stewardship

The ACME database developed as part of this workshop will follow PAGES data guidelines and FAIR Data Principles (Wilkinson et al. 2016), taking into account the experience and suggestions by PAGES 2k Network open paleo-data pilot (Kaufman et al. 2017).

Following the main objective of ACME, experts of each proxy group will work together and in collaboration with ecological statisticians and coastal monitoring experts to critically evaluate the protocols (including sampling, data collection and data analysis), establish recommended standards and set critical metadata platforms for the database.

The ACME database aims to more than a repository, establishing next generation standards that enable controlled reconstruction of critical components and facets of past biosphere-cryosphere dynamics in the Arctic coastal zone. This workshop will be instrumental to bring the database to fruition.

Stakeholder engagement

As the main objective of this workshop is to plan proxy-specific data entry criteria for the ACME database, specific stakeholders will not be engaged at this point. However, ACME will engage stakeholders such as the Arctic Council via e-newsletters on ACME activities and products (including outcomes from this workshop), and will invite stakeholder representatives to the planned final synthesis workshops of Phase I.

Further information

Contact workshop organizer Anna Pienkowski, Norwegian Polar Institute: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.