Witness the Arctic

Distribution Date: 5 June 2013

Volume 17, Number 2 - Spring 2013

Arctic Generations

Witness the Arctic | 2013 | Article | Image
A Conversation between Carl Benson, Professor Emeritus at University Alaska Fairbanks, and Gifford Wong, PhD Candidate at Dartmouth College

Interagency Study of Environmental Arctic Change (SEARCH)

SEARCH
After gathering additional input from meetings and a Town Hall at the 2012 AGU Fall meeting , the SEARCH Science Steering Committee and the Arctic Research Consortium of the U.S. (ARCUS) submitted a proposal to NSF and other SEARCH Interagency Program Management Committee agencies in support of a new organizational structure and framework to translate the SEARCH vision into concrete tasks.
Screen shot of ELOKA's Snowchange Oral History website
The Arctic has been home to Indigenous peoples for many generations. Out of the frozen landscape in which they dwell, Indigenous peoples have carved a productive, vital culture. From the learned experience and skills it is their local observations and knowledge that tell the story of drastic changes to the arctic climate—changes that have a global impact. Until recently, Indigenous local observations, knowledge, and involvement have been largely overlooked by science. Today, Indigenous peoples are acknowledged as investigators, partners, and collaborators. Their local knowledge and...

Arctic System Science Program

NSF
Change. This is perhaps the key word that describes the trajectory of the arctic system. It also applies to the Arctic System Science program (ARCSS) , as it continually adapts to the changing conditions in the Arctic, in the research community, and at NSF. One recent change is that ARCSS has welcomed a new Program Director, Robert 'Max' Holmes from the Woods Hole Research Center, who will work alongside Neil Swanberg in managing ARCSS over the coming year or so (see accompanying article ). Max has a long history studying the rivers in the U.S., Canadian, and Russian Arctic, as well as other...
Robert 'Max' Holmes, ARCSS Program Director
Having transitioned in January 2013 from being a scientist at the Woods Hole Research Center to a Program Director for NSF's Arctic System Science program (ARCSS) , I thought it might be useful to share my initial impressions while they are still fresh on my mind. My dominant impression is one of respect for my new colleagues at NSF. They are all smart, hard working, and dedicated to funding the best science. They are also all scientists and they care deeply about scientific progress.

Arctic Social Sciences Program

Increasing water in pasters impedes horse and cattle grazing and fodder havestin
Mobility is central to the livelihoods of the diverse reindeer-herding, hunting/gathering, and pastoralist peoples inhabiting the circumpolar north. Like their circumpolar neighbors, today the livelihoods of Russia's indigenous peoples are challenged by the local effects of climate change and by other changes including industrial contamination, economic transformations, globalization and modernity, and alienation of their youth.
Witness the Arctic | 2013 | Article | Image
The international and multidisciplinary project "Negotiating Pathways to Adulthood" explored the indigenous adolescent experience at the critical time of transition from adolescence to young adulthood among Alaskan Yup'ik, Alaskan Inupiat, Canadian Inuit, Norwegian Sami, and Siberian Eveny. Funded by NSF, this collaborative and multi-sited study examined the challenges these adolescents face and the resources and strategies they use to cope with hardship and adversity.

Arctic Research Support and Logistics

Witness the Arctic | 2013 | Article | Image
The NSF Arctic Research Support and Logistics (RSL) program is hosting a workshop on strategies and recommendations for arctic research support and logistics. The workshop is planned for 2.5 days, 7-9 October 2013 in the Washington, D.C. area and will be organized by the Arctic Research Consortium of the U.S. (ARCUS).

Data Management

ACADIS
The Advanced Cooperative Arctic Data and Information Service (ACADIS) team continued to expand data management planning, sharing, and preservation support for all projects funded by the Arctic Sciences Section in NSF's Division of Polar Programs (POL). ACADIS, a joint effort by the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) and the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR) , is entering the third year of a four-year continuing grant awarded by NSF in July 2011.
AOOS: Image of sea ice October 1978
A data-sharing agreement signed in August 2011 between the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and three oil companies (Shell, ConocoPhillips, and Statoil) has laid the groundwork for the Alaska Ocean Observing System (AOOS) to provide public access to a wealth of oceanographic and environmental data collected between 2008 and 2012 in the Chukchi Sea. By: Molly McCammon, Excutive Director, Alaska Ocean Observing System Molly McCammon, Executive Director, AOOS. Image Courtesy of M. McCammon. A data-sharing agreement signed in August 2011 between the National Oceanic and...

Science News

Witness the Arctic | 2013 | Article | Image
Prediction of when the Arctic Ocean will be nearly ice-free in summer is of interest to arctic and non-arctic science and resource management communities, since large shifts in the arctic environment represent indicators of global climate change. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) scientist James Overland, of NOAA's Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory , and Muyin Wang, of the NOAA Joint Institute for the Study of Atmosphere and Ocean at the University of Washington, recently investigated a range of methods for predicting future sea ice loss and identified three groups...

Science Education News

Image courtesy of Lynn Foshee Reed, NSF.
NSF selected five high-school students from as many states nationwide to deploy to the Arctic this summer as part of a science-education and cultural-exchange program with their peers from Denmark and Greenland. The students will participate in a three-week field experience in Greenland as part of the multinational Joint Science Education Project (JSEP) . The U.S. students were selected in a competitive process that drew 375 applications from all 50 states as well as Department of Defense schools abroad.
Visitors learn about albedo
Public outreach is an important part of the mission of scientific agencies such as NSF and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) . While scientists are usually enthusiastic about their research they typically don't think about how to present it to general audiences and they may lack the time or confidence to seek out such opportunities. Partnerships with informal science education institutions offer scientists the chance to reach large public audiences and to develop the skills to communicate with them. The institutions benefit from the new content presented by the...

Science Policy News

National Strategy for the Arctic Region logo
National Strategy for the Arctic Region On 10 May 2013 the Obama Administration released the National Strategy for the Arctic Region . Priorities identified in the strategy include: advancing U.S. security interests, pursuing responsible arctic region stewardship, and strengthening U.S. international cooperation. According to the strategy, the Administration intends to advance these priorities in a manner that safeguards peace and stability in the region, utilizes the best available information for decisions, emphasizes the use of innovative arrangements, and underscores the importance of...

National Science Foundation News

NSF
On 18 April the Division of Polar Programs issued a Dear Colleague Letter (NSF 13-086) to announce the suspension of postdoctoral fellowships in the Polar Regions research program.

Interagency News

Image courtesy: Amy Merten, NOAA
The Arctic Environmental Response Management Application (ERMA®) is a web-based Geographic Information System (GIS) tool that assists emergency responders and environmental resource managers in dealing with incidents that may adversely impact the arctic environment. Arctic ERMA integrates various real-time and static datasets into a single interactive map to provide a visualization of the situation and improve communication and coordination among responders and stakeholders.
Image courtesy of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.
The Department of Energy (DOE) has developed a new accelerated approach to climate change research called Next-Generation Ecosystem Experiments (NGEE) . This strategy seeks to provide Earth System Models (ESMs) with improved representation of climatically sensitive and globally important ecosystem processes. Supported by the Terrestrial Ecosystem Science program within DOE's Office of Biological and Environmental Research , NGEEs connect modeling and field studies in an iterative approach so that model needs are considered in development of field studies whose outcomes in turn inform and...
USGS Map of Yukon River Basin
The unique partnership between the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and the Yukon River Inter-Tribal Watershed Council (YRITWC) yields critical data for the assessment of climate change effects in the Yukon River Basin (YRB). The YRITWC is an international, Indigenous, nonprofit organization, created in 1997 with the mission of monitoring, preserving, and protecting the YRB. Today, the YRITWC is guided by an Inter-Tribal accord, which has been signed by seventy of the Indigenous governments of the YRB in Canada and Alaska.

U.S. Arctic Research Commission

Witness the Arctic | 2013 | Article | Image
By: Fran Ulmer, USARC Chair, and John Farrell, USARC Executive Director The U.S. Arctic Research Commission (USARC) biennial "Report on the Goals and Objectives for Arctic Research 2013-2014 for the U.S. Arctic Research Program" recommends that U.S. scientific research focus on the following five major themes: Observe, understand, and respond to environmental change. Improve arctic human health. Understand natural resources. Advance civil infrastructure research.

International News

2013 Arctic Council Chair: Sweden to Canada
The Eighth Ministerial Meeting of the Arctic Council was held 15 May 2013 in Kiruna, Sweden. Ministerial meetings are held every two years, marking the culmination of the Council's work under the current Chair and transition to new leadership. At the 2013 meeting the chair passed from Sweden to Canada, which will lead the Council through May 2015.
AOS 2013 logo
The first Arctic Observing Summit (AOS2013) , held 30 April–2 May 2013 in Vancouver, BC, Canada, brought together a cross-section of the arctic community to deliberate on the design, implementation, coordination, and sustained long-term (decades) operation of an international network of arctic observing systems. The AOS is a task of the Sustaining Arctic Observing Networks (SAON) process, which is led jointly by the Arctic Council and the International Arctic Science Committee (IASC) . The International Study of Arctic Change (ISAC) is responsible for leading the AOS task.

A Note From the ARCUS Executive Director

Susan Fox
ARCUS reaches a milestone this year with the retirement of Vera Alexander as President of the Board of Directors, a position she's held with distinction for the past ten years. A founding member of the organization, Vera's vision for and dedication to ARCUS and its mission in support of arctic research is unsurpassed.

A Note from the ARCUS President

Vera Alexander
"Times they are a-changing" would make a good theme song for the Arctic during the mid-twenty-first century. Changes, driven by global physical processes, have enormous political, social, and economic consequences within the arctic region. Until quite recently there was little interest in the Arctic. It was out there, perhaps exotic, perhaps worth studying for its own sake, but apart from strategic cold war considerations, not too important. One example of attitudes towards Alaskan studies was a review comment on a proposal submitted under NSF's Research for National Needs program...

About

Witness the Arctic provides information on current arctic research efforts and findings, significant research initiatives, national policy affecting arctic research, international activities, and profiles of institutions with major arctic research efforts. Witness serves an audience of arctic scientists, educators, agency personnel, and policy makers. Witness was published biannually in hardcopy from 1995-2008 (archives are available below) and is currently published online 3-4 times annually, depending on newsworthy events.

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Archives

With the Spring 2009 issue, ARCUS changed the format of Witness the Arctic. To provide more frequent updates and reduce printing and mailing costs and associated environmental impacts, the newsletter is now distributed online in three or four shorter issues per year, depending on newsworthy events.

Contact

If you have a question or an idea for a Witness article, contact Betsy Turner-Bogren at betsy [at] arcus [dot] org.

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Executive Director: Susan E. Fox

Editors: Betsy Turner-Bogren, Kristina Creek, Helen Wiggins

Contributors: V. Alexander, C. Benson, R. Crain, S. A. Crate, K. Creek, H. Eicken, J. Fahnestock, J. Farrell, S. E. Fox, P. Haggerty, N. Herman-Mercer, L. Hinzman, R. M. Holmes, M. McCammon, H. McCann. A. Merten, J. Moore, M. Murray, J. Overland, S. M. Rasmus, C. Rea, T. Rosati, L. Schlagel, M. Serreze, H. Stern, N. R. Swanberg, B. Turner-Bogren, F. Ulmer,
O. Ulturgasheva, P. West, H. Wiggins, G. Wong, S. D. Wullschleger, L. Yarmey

ARCUS is a nonprofit organization consisting of institutions organized and operated for educational, professional, or scientific purposes. Established by its member institutions in 1988 with the primary mission of strengthening arctic research, ARCUS activities are funded through cooperative agreements with NSF and the National Park Service, grants from NSF, a contract with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and membership dues.

Witness the Arctic is published periodically by ARCUS. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication do not necessarily reflect the views of NSF.