SEARCH at AGU 2017

AGU Fall Meeting Logo
American Geophysical Union (AGU) Fall Meeting
11–15 December 2017
Ernest N. Morial Convention Center
New Orleans, Louisiana


Session ID: TH43A - Arctic Science for Stakeholders - Evolving Approaches
Date, Time & Location: Thursday, 14 December 2017 | 12:30-1:30 | New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, Room 252-254
Description: Recognizing the importance of science that is actionable by stakeholders, joint Town Hall event co-hosted by The Interagency Arctic Research Committee (IARPC) and the Study of Environmental Arctic Change (SEARCH) will engage the community in discussions of effective practices and new approaches. Examples of Arctic research addressing stakeholder needs will serve as test cases to examine: how are needs identified; how are questions appropriately framed to meet stakeholder needs; and what promotes and constrains research addressing those needs? The executive directors of SEARCH and IARPC will moderate discussion among SEARCH and IARPC teams and the broader community. Discussion questions will include:

  • IARPC & SEARCH focus on different stakeholder audiences; what audiences are left out?
  • Who is/should be targeting those other audiences?
  • How might your efforts to engage stakeholders amplify—or be amplified by—the efforts of IARPC and SEARCH?
  • What are effective approaches for communicating with diverse audiences?

Light refreshments will be provided.

For more information, contact:
Martin Jeffries
Executive Director
Interagency Arctic Research Policy Committee
Martin_O_Jeffries [at]

Brendan P. Kelly
Executive Director
Study of Environmental Arctic Change
bpkelly [at]

Town Hall Presentation
Summary Notes & Participants (n=75)

Permafrost Carbon Network Annual Meeting

Date & Time: Sunday, 10 December 2017 | 9:00am-5:00pm
The 7th annual meeting of the Permafrost Carbon Network will take place on Sunday, 10 December 2017 in New Orleans, LA prior to the Fall 2017 American Geophysical Union meeting. Bringing together the international community of permafrost researchers, the program for the day will feature a series of presentations to introduce break-out topics. Meeting participants will then have the opportunity to split into smaller break-out groups to discuss the Permafrost Carbon Network's ongoing and new synthesis products. The meeting is open to all members of the scientific community with an interest in permafrost research synthesis. There is no registration fee.

For more information about this event please contact Christina Schädel at 928-523-9588 or christina.schaedel [at]

The deadline for participant registration is Friday, 17 November 2017.

SEARCH Affiliated Sessions, Presentations, and Posters

Cross-Cutting Environmental Arctic Change Sessions

Understanding the New Arctic: Meeting Societal Needs Through Observing Networks, Indigenous Knowledge, System Science, & Synthesis

  • Poster Session - C11C: Monday, 11 December 2017 | 8:00-12:20 | Poster Hall D-F
  • Presentations - C13H: Monday, 11 December 2017 | 1:40-3:40 | Rm 275-277
  • Conveners: Martin O. Jeffries, Matthew L. Druckenmiller, Jacqueline Richter-Menge, Steven M Lev

Science to Action: Effective Coproduction - Will Science Meet the High Demands of Practitioners and Decision Makers?

  • Poster Session - PA43B: Thursday, 14 December 2017 | 1:40-6:00 | Poster Hall D-F
  • Conveners: Lawrence Buja, Laurna Kaatz, Caspar M. Ammann, William J. Gutowski

Cross-Cutting Environmental Arctic Change Presentations

C13H-01: Modifying Science Grammatically and Conceptually

  • Date & Time: Monday, 11 December 2017 | 13:40-13:55 | Rm 275-277
  • Abstract: Many adjectives—including normal, traditional, incremental, natural, social, system, actionable, and Arctic—are employed to distinguish types of science. How useful are those modifiers? For example, how is “Arctic” research different from other varieties? What conjunctions are useful among these types of research? In other words, do we benefit from “normal science” and “actionable science” or must we choose between them? Clarity about how we talk about science has substantial implications for how we think about science, how we integrate science with other epistemologies, and how science is regarded among policy makers. The importance of actionable science was highlighted during the last International Polar Year, and the Study of Environmental Arctic Change and others have taken up the challenge. As we make our knowledge actionable, however, we must remain clear about the essential nature of what Thomas Kuhn called normal science. Being clear about how science progresses would seem a prerequisite to the elusive challenge of integration with other ways of knowing.
  • Author: Brendan P. Kelly

EP13D-06: How Rapid Change Affects Deltas in the Arctic Region

  • Date & Time: Monday, 11 December 2017 | 2:45-3:10 | Rm 352
  • Abstract:Deltas form where the river drains into the ocean. Consequently, delta depositional processes are impacted by either changes in the respective river drainage basin or by changes in the regional marine environment. In a warming Arctic region rapid change has occurred over the last few decades in both the terrestrial domain as well as in the marine domain. Important terrestrial controls include 1) change in permafrost possibly destabilizing river banks, 2) strong seasonality of river discharge due to a short melting season, 3) high sediment supply if basins are extensively glaciated, 4) lake outbursts and ice jams favoring river flooding. Whereas in the Arctic marine domain sea ice loss promotes wave and storm surge impact, and increased longshore transport. We here ask which of these factors dominate any morphological change in Arctic deltas. First, we analyze hydrological data to assess change in Arctic-wide river discharge characteristics and timing, and sea ice concentration data to map changes in sea ice regime. Based on this observational analysis we set up a number of scenarios of change. We then model hypothetical small-scale delta formation considering change in these primary controls by setting up a numerical delta model, and combining it dynamically with a permafrost model. We find that for typical Greenlandic deltas changes in river forcing due to ice sheet melt dominate the morphological change, which is corroborated by mapping of delta progradation from aerial photos and satellite imagery. Whereas in other areas, along the North Slope and the Canadian Arctic small deltas are more stable or experienced retreat. Our preliminary coupled model allows us to further disentangle the impact of major forcing factors on delta evolution in high-latitude systems.
  • Authors: Irina Overeem and Mette Bendixen

Permafrost Sessions

Vulnerability of Permafrost Carbon to Climate Change

  • Presentations B31J: Wednesday, 13 December 2017 | 8:00-10:00 | Rm 386-7
  • Presentations B32D: Wednesday, 13 December 2017 |10:20-12:20 | Rm 386-7
  • Poster Session B41I: Thursday, 14 December 2017 | 8:00-12:20 | Poster Hall D-F
  • Conveners: Edward Schuur, Benjamin W Abbott, Marguerite Mauritz

Permafrost Poster & Presentation

C11C-0919: Impacts of Permafrost on Infrastructure and Ecosystem Services

  • Date & Time: Monday, 11 December 2017 | 8:00-12:00 | Poster Hall D-F
  • Abstract: The Study of Environmental Arctic Change (SEARCH) program developed knowledge pyramids as a tool for advancing scientific understanding and making this information accessible for decision makers. Knowledge pyramids are being used to synthesize, curate and disseminate knowledge of changing land ice, sea ice, and permafrost in the Arctic. Each pyramid consists of a one-two page summary brief in broadly accessible language and literature organized by levels of detail including synthesizes and scientific building blocks. Three knowledge pyramids have been produced related to permafrost on carbon, infrastructure, and ecosystem services. Each brief answers key questions with high societal relevance framed in policy-relevant terms. The knowledge pyramids concerning infrastructure and ecosystem services were developed in collaboration with researchers specializing in the specific topic areas in order to identify the most pertinent issues and accurately communicate information for integration into policy and planning. For infrastructure, the main issue was the need to build consensus in the engineering and science communities for developing improved methods for incorporating data applicable to building infrastructure on permafrost. In ecosystem services, permafrost provides critical landscape properties which affect basic human needs including fuel and drinking water availability, access to hunting and harvest, and fish and wildlife habitat. Translating these broad and complex topics necessitated a systematic and iterative approach to identifying key issues and relating them succinctly to the best state of the art research. The development of the knowledge pyramids provoked collaboration and synthesis across distinct research and engineering communities. The knowledge pyramids also provide a solid basis for policy development and the format allows the content to be regularly updated as the research community advances.
  • Authors: Erin Trochim, Edward Schuur, Christina Schaedel, Brendan P. Kelly

B32D-04: Divergent patterns of experimental and model derived variables of tundra ecosystem carbon exchange in response to arctic warming

  • Date & Time: Wednesday, 13 December 2017 | 11:05-11:20 | Rm 386-387
  • Abstract: Warming over the Arctic in the last decades has been twice as high as for the rest of the globe and has exposed large amounts of organic carbon to microbial decomposition in permafrost ecosystems. Continued warming and associated changes in soil moisture conditions not only lead to enhanced microbial decomposition from permafrost soil but also enhanced plant carbon uptake. Both processes impact the overall contribution of permafrost carbon dynamics to the global carbon cycle, yet field and modeling studies show large uncertainties in regard to both uptake and release mechanisms. Here, we compare variables associated with ecosystem carbon exchange (GPP: gross primary production; Reco: ecosystem respiration; and NEE: net ecosystem exchange) from eight years of experimental soil warming in moist acidic tundra with the same variables derived from an experimental model (Community Land Model version 4.5: CLM4.5) that simulates the same degree of arctic warming. While soil temperatures and thaw depths exhibited comparable increases with warming between field and model variables, carbon exchange related parameters showed divergent patterns. In the field non-linear responses to experimentally induced permafrost thaw were observed in GPP, Reco, and NEE. Indirect effects of continued soil warming and thaw created changes in soil moisture conditions causing ground surface subsidence and suppressing ecosystem carbon exchange over time. In contrast, the model predicted linear increases in GPP, Reco, and NEE with every year of warming turning the ecosystem into a net annual carbon sink. The field experiment revealed the importance of hydrology in carbon flux responses to permafrost thaw, a complexity that the model may fail to predict. Further parameterization of variables that drive GPP, Reco, and NEE in the model will help to inform and refine future model development.
  • Authors: Christina Schaedel, Charles Koven, Gerardo Celis, Jack Hutchings, David M. Lawrence, Marguerite Mauritz, Elaine Pegoraro, Verity G. Salmon, Meghan Taylor, William R. Wieder, Edward Schuur

Sea Ice Sessions

Integrating Observations and Models to Better Understand a Changing Arctic Sea Ice Cover

  • Poster Session C21B: Tuesday, 12 December 2017 | 8:00-12:20 | Poster Hall D-F
  • Presentations C23E: Tuesday, 12 December 2017 | 1:40-3:40 | Rm 278-279
  • Conveners: Donald K. Perovich, Marika Holland

Translating Arctic Ocean Science to Policy: Exploring the Value of Ocean Observations for Policy and Decision Making

  • Presentations OS24C: Tuesday, 12 December 2017 | 4:00-6:00 | Rm 283-285
  • Conveners: Monique Baskin, Henry Huntington

Sea Ice Posters

C11C-0934: Arctic sea-ice syntheses: Charting across scope, scale, and knowledge systems

  • Date & Time: Monday, 11 December 2017 | 8:00-12:20 | Poster Hall D-F
  • Abstract: Arctic sea ice supports and intersects a multitude of societal benefit areas, including regulating regional and global climates, structuring marine food webs, providing for traditional food provisioning by indigenous peoples, and constraining marine shipping and access. At the same time, sea ice is one of the most rapidly changing elements of the Arctic environment and serves as a source of key physical indicators for monitoring Arctic change. Before the present scientific interest in Arctic sea ice for climate research, it has long been, and remains, a focus of applied research for industry and national security. For generations, the icy coastal seas of the North have also provided a basis for the sharing of local and indigenous knowledge between Arctic residents and researchers, including anthropologists, biologists, and geoscientists. This presentation will summarize an ongoing review of existing synthesis studies of Arctic sea ice. We will chart efforts to achieve system-level understanding across geography, temporal scales, and the ecosystem services that Arctic sea ice supports. In doing so, we aim to illuminate the role of interdisciplinary science, together with local and indigenous experts, in advancing knowledge of the roles of sea ice in the Arctic system and beyond, reveal the historical and scientific evolution of sea-ice research, and assess current gaps in system-scale understanding.
  • Authors: Matthew L. Druckenmiller, Donald K. Perovich, Jennifer Ann Francis

C11C-0928: Collaborations for Arctic Sea Ice Information and Tools

  • Date & Time: Monday, 11 December 2017 | 8:00-12:20 | Poster Hall D-F
  • Abstract: The dramatic and rapid changes in Arctic sea ice require collaboration across boundaries, including between disciplines, sectors, institutions, and between scientists and decision-makers. This poster will highlight several projects that provide knowledge to advance the development and use of sea ice knowledge. Sea Ice for Walrus Outlook (SIWO: - SIWO is a resource for Alaskan Native subsistence hunters and other interested stakeholders. SIWO provides weekly reports, during April-June, of sea ice conditions relevant to walrus in the northern Bering and southern Chukchi seas. Collaboration among scientists, Alaskan Native sea-ice experts, and the Eskimo Walrus Commission is fundamental to this project’s success. Sea Ice Prediction Network (SIPN: – A collaborative, multi-agency-funded project focused on seasonal Arctic sea ice predictions. The goals of SIPN include: coordinate and evaluate Arctic sea ice predictions; integrate, assess, and guide observations; synthesize predictions and observations; and disseminate predictions and engage key stakeholders. The Sea Ice Outlook—a key activity of SIPN—is an open process to share and synthesize predictions of the September minimum Arctic sea ice extent and other variables. Other SIPN activities include workshops, webinars, and communications across the network. Directory of Sea Ice Experts ( – ARCUS has undertaken a pilot project to develop a web-based directory of sea ice experts across institutions, countries, and sectors. The goal of the project is to catalyze networking between individual investigators, institutions, funding agencies, and other stakeholders interested in Arctic sea ice. Study of Environmental Arctic Change (SEARCH: – SEARCH is a collaborative program that advances research, synthesizes research findings, and broadly communicates the results to support informed decision-making. One of SEARCH’s primary science topics is focused on Arctic sea ice; the SEARCH Sea Ice Action Team is leading efforts to advance understanding and awareness of the impacts of Arctic sea-ice loss.
  • Authors: Lisa Sheffield Guy, Helen V. Wiggins, Elizabeth J. Turner-Bogren, Robert Rich

Land Ice Presentation

PA51B-01: Planning for Sea Level Rise: An AGU Talk in the Form of a Co-Production Experiment Exploring Recent Science

  • Date & Time: Friday, 15 December 2017 | 8:00-8:20 | Rm 255-257
  • Abstract: Global sea level rise (SLR) may present the most urgent climate change adaptation challenge facing coastal communities today. The direction is clear, impacts are manifesting now, and the pace of rise is likely to accelerate. As a result, many coastal communities have begun planning their adaptation response and some are quite far along in the process. At the same time, evolving science provides new observations, models, and understanding of land-ocean dynamics that can increase clarity while also in many ways increase uncertainty about the scope, timing, and regional nature of SLR. The planning, design, and construction of water infrastructure has a relatively long timeline (up to 30 years), and thus the evolution of scientific knowledge presents challenges for communities already planning for SLR based on previous information. When does science become actionable for decision-makers? Are there characteristics or thresholds that could cause communities decide to move from one set of scenarios to another, or change approaches altogether? This talk focuses on two important studies different in kind but dominating the conversation about SLR adaptation planning today. First, DeConto and Pollard (2016) have suggested significantly higher upper end projections for Antarctic ice sheet melt, which increase both global and regional SLR above most previously assumed upper limits. Second, probabilistic projections using model output and expert elicitation as presented in Kopp et al (2014) are increasingly appearing in federal reports and planning-related documents. These two papers are pushing the boundaries of the science-to-planning interface, while the application of this work as actionable science is far from settled. This talk will present the outcome of recent conversations among our diverse author team. The authors are engaged in SLR planning related contexts from many angles and perspectives and include the aforementioned Kopp and DeConto as well as representatives of the City of San Francisco, Army Corps of Engineers, Environmental Protection Agency, and engineering consultant community. Attendees of this session will hear a presentation demonstrating co-production in process, including topics about which the authors have and have not agreed upon to date, with some attention to next steps in the process.
  • Authors: David H. Behar, Robert E. Kopp, Rob DeConto, Christopher P. Weaver, Kathleen D. White, Kris May, Robert Bindschadler

Land Ice Meeting to Discuss GrIOOS

  • Date & Time: Monday, 11 December 2017 | 12:30-1:30pm | Rm Riverside I of the Hampton Inn & Suites
  • Meeting Description: This open meeting will provide an opportunity for the research community to discuss and provide feedback on efforts to establish a Greenland Ice-Ocean Observing System (GrIOOS). The aim of GrIOOS is to provide long-term time series of critical in situ glaciological, oceanographic and atmospheric parameters at several key locations around Greenland. Observations will provide much needed information on the time-evolving relationships between the different climate forcings and glacier flow.

Contact Info

For more information on SEARCH activities at AGU, please contact Brit Myers at brit [at]