Study of Arctic Change Workshop

12 September 1997



An open workshop on the Study of Arctic Change will be held at the
University of Washington in Seattle Washington, November 10, 11, and 12,

The Arctic is in the midst of a significant physical change. This
involves both the atmosphere and ocean. The results of several recent
expeditions indicate that the influence of Atlantic Water is becoming
more widespread and intense than previously found. Among others, data
collected during the SCICEX cruises of 1993 and 1995 and the Summer 1994
Arctic Ocean Section of the Polar Sea and the Louis S. St Laurent all
indicate that the boundary between the eastern and western halocline
types now lies roughly parallel to the Alpha and Mendeleyev Ridges. In
terms of longitudinal coverage, this means the area occupied by the
eastern water types is nearly 20% greater than previously observed. The
greater intensity of the Atlantic influence is also shown by the warm
cores observed over the Lomonosov and Mendeleyev ridges. Historical
Russian data give no indication of such warm cores and show maximum
temperatures over the Lomonosov Ridge about 1 degree celsius colder. The differences
fr! om climatology are too large and spatially consistent to be
attributed to instrument error or normal seasonal and interannual
variability. There are some indications that the observed shift in
frontal position is associated with a decadal trend in the atmospheric
pressure pattern. Buoy data show the patterns of pressure and ice drift
have shifted counterclockwise 40-60 degrees from the historical patterns, just
as the upper ocean circulation pattern has shifted. The annual mean
atmospheric surface pressure is decreasing.

We feel it is of utmost importance that these changes in the Arctic
Ocean be studied in detail. To start a community discussion, a group of
us circulated an open letter advocating a long-term study of the
physical changes in the Arctic. Fifty scientists from 7 countries have
endorsed the letter.

The workshop is being held to explore the extent of the change and to
begin planning a program to study it. It is being supported by a grant
from the Arctic Systems Science (ARCSS) section of the NSF Office of
Polar Programs. We strongly encourage to attend anyone with data or
modeling results indicating changes in the physical characteristics of
the Arctic over the last 10 years. We envision most of the attendees
will be oceanographers, atmospheric scientists, and sea ice experts. We
also hope that anyone with information on changes in terrestrial ice and
snow or changes at lower latitudes over the same period will
participate. Besides covering evidence of Arctic change, the agenda
will address a monitoring scheme, relationship with other US and
international programs, and an organizational plan for future work.

Please let us know if you plan to attend, and if you want to make a
small presentation about observations relevant to the change. Reply by
post or email to Peggy Hartman with a copy to me:

Study of Arctic Change c/o Peggy Hartman Polar Science Center 1013 NE
40th St. Seattle, WA 98105 email: phone: (206)
543 6613 fax: (206) 543 3521

Only a very limited amount of funding is available to cover travel costs
for a few scientists, but we have planned the schedule to dovetail with
the ACSYS meeting being held at nearby Rosario Resort the prior week.
Finally, if you are aware of anybody else who might be interested in the
workshop, please pass this message on to them. I hope to see you at the

Yours truly,

Jamie Morison