AMAP's assessments are based to a large extent on information and results from recent (published and unpublished) monitoring and research work. Consideration of quality assurance issues is an integral component of the AMAP monitoring and assessment process.
AMAP has established a number of thematic data centres (TDCs) to:
- provide access to data from recent monitoring and research activities conducted as part of the AMAP National Implementation Plans;
- provide a means to ensure that data are treated in a consistent manner, undergo uniform statistical analysis, etc., including application of objective quality assurance procedures;
- establish long-term archives of Arctic-relevant monitoring data; and
- meet the terms of reference of the Ministerial declarations, charging AMAP with establishing databases of sources, types, and levels of radionuclide contamination of the atmospheric, aquatic and terrestrial environments of the Arctic and northern areas.
These data centres compile data from relevant monitoring and research activities and make them available to scientists engaged in AMAP assessments under strict conditions that protect the rights of data originators (according to the AMAP Data Policy). AMAP TDCs are located at established centres with appropriate expertise and facilities for conducting the types of international data handling work required by AMAP. Some of these centres also conduct data handling work for other international monitoring programs, facilitating harmonized reporting of data to meet the needs of different regional programs.
AMAP thematic data centres exist for:
- atmospheric contaminants data: at the Norwegian Institute for Air Research (NILU), Kjeller, Norway, and are accessible through their EBAS database;
- marine contaminants data: at the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES), Copenhagen, Denmark, and are accessible through their online EcoSystemData warehouse;
- radioactivity data, including both sources and levels and trends: at the Norwegian Radiation Protection Authority (NRPA), Oslo, Norway.
In addition, freshwater and terrestrial contaminants datasets have been compiled in the SynCon database. International data centres for ozone/UV, arctic ocean acidification, permafrost and other key AMAP-relevant data exist and their use is encouraged.
Other international data reporting initiatives are under development as part of the Sustaining Arctic Observing Networks (SAON) initiative.