Volume 20
Number 2
Spring
2016
17 June 2016

Volume 20, Number 2 - Spring 2016

ARCUS Member Highlight

UIC Science
"Witness the Arctic" regularly features the research and related programs of ARCUS member institutions . This issue spotlights UIC Science, a subsidiary of the Ukpeaġvik Iñupiat Corporation, the village corporation for Barrow, Alaska formed under the authority of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act of 1971 (43 U.S.C. 1601).

Interagency Study of Environmental Arctic Change (SEARCH)

Study of Environmental Arctic Change (SEARCH) Update
This update on the Study of Environmental Arctic Change (SEARCH) program includes recent news from each of SEARCH's three Action Teams as well as highlights from other activities that contribute to SEARCH goals, including the Sea Ice Prediction Network, the Sea Ice for Walrus Outlook, and the Arctic Observing Open Science meeting.

Arctic System Science Program

Forum for Arctic Modeling and Observational Synthesis (FAMOS)
The Forum for Arctic Modeling and Observational Synthesis (FAMOS) is an NSF-funded project designed to enhance the collaboration between Arctic marine modelers and observationalists, as well as others who are interested in working with such scientists. A key part of this effort is the annual workshop, usually held at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) each fall. Since 2009, the first day of the workshop is devoted to the FAMOS School for those new to Arctic marine studies.

Data Management

Figure 1: Arctic Data Center discovery portal, showing the geographic distribution of data sets, the list of recently added data sets, and filtering tools for precisely searching for data of interest. Image courtesy of the Arctic Data Center.
In March 2016, the Arctic Data Center was launched and assumed preservation responsibility for Arctic research data from National Science Foundation (NSF) awards. The center serves as the NSF research community's primary repository for Arctic data preservation and data discovery, and is funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) via a five-year award. The Arctic Data Center currently lists 3,899 data sets covering data from myriad research fields.

Science News

The team stopped for a short break on a calm, cold evening in the Arctic on their final stretch run of a 1,000 mile, three-week round trip traverse between Toolik Field Station and the Teshekpuk Lake Observatory in March 2012 while conducting fieldwork for the NSF-CALON project. Photo courtesy of Guido Grosse.
Ten years ago Christopher Arp (UAF) and Benjamin Jones (USGS) left from Barrow, Alaska, by snowmachine and headed 100 miles southeast along the Beaufort Sea coast to Teshekpuk Lake —Alaska's largest Arctic lake. As novices to such remote winter fieldwork they experienced numerous challenges. With much appreciated support from the experience of local guide, Ronal Aveoganna, and another USGS scientist, David Selkowitz, Arp and Jones gained insight into making such expeditions safe, successful, and a source of valuable scientific data.
 A herd of caribou crosses an ice patch. Photo courtesy of the Government of Yukon, Canada.
A creative sub-specialty of archaeology, called glacial archaeology, has become the key to opening an ancient fragile treasury to begin to tell the story of ancient peoples and their innate relationships to the earth. At high latitudes and altitudes, formerly permanent ice is melting: climate change is immutably taking place. Artifacts and biological specimens, long preserved by freezing temperatures, are beginning to appear at diverse sites throughout the cryosphere.

Science Education News

Workshop participants formed groups based on criteria such as science/education goals, geography, and other professional interests. Photo courtesy of Judy Fahnestock, ARCUS.
The Arctic in the Classroom (TAC) is a recently developed program created by the Arctic Research Consortium of the U.S. (ARCUS) that partners scientists, educators, and communities to collaborate on improving Arctic education. This 4-year program provides activities targeted to educate K-12 teachers, students, communities, and others about the Arctic.

National Science Foundation News

National Science Foundation
The National Science Foundation’s Division of Polar Programs has seen several key personnel changes in recent months. Brian W. Stone, who had headed the Division’s Antarctic Infrastructure and Logistics (AIL) section, began an assignment as Chief of Staff to NSF Director France A. Córdova. In the wake of this appointment, other changes took place in the Division’s senior management.

Interagency News

Proposed Structure for IARPC Arctic Research Plan FY 17-21
The Interagency Arctic Research Policy Committee, a subcommittee of the National Science and Technology Council (NSTC), is made up of representatives from 15 federal agencies and chaired by the National Science Foundation. It is in the process of drafting its next 5-year research plan—Arctic Research Plan 2017-2021—to guide the overall federal effort in Arctic research.
The Synthesis of Arctic Research (SOAR) provides a physics-to-whales ecosystem synthesis in the Pacific Arctic. Photos courtesy of K. Stafford, J. Craighead George, G. Divoky, C. Gelfman, R. Gradinger, B. Bluhm.
The Synthesis of Arctic Research (SOAR) , led by NOAA scientists Sue Moore and Phyllis Stabeno, and supported by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), was initiated in 2011 to capture the conditions of the changing Pacific Arctic using completed and ongoing research. The effort takes a holistic look at the "new normal" Pacific Arctic of the last decade, which now has a longer open-water season with reduced sea ice thickness and extent, increased primary production, and observed changes in abundance and behavior of Arctic species.

U.S. Arctic Research Commission

USARC
The U.S. Arctic Research Commission (USARC) is an independent federal agency that was established in 1984 by the Arctic Research and Policy Act. Its principal duties are to develop and recommend an integrated national Arctic research policy and to assist in establishing a national Arctic research program plan. This article discusses recent appointments to the Commission, developments within the three USARC working groups, upcoming events, and new publications.

International News

Photo courtesy of Julien Schroder
Over 1,000 Arctic experts and enthusiasts convened in Fairbanks, Alaska on 11-18 March for the 2016 Arctic Science Summit Week, Arctic Observing Summit, and numerous other meetings and events. With participants representing 30 nations and more than 130 different institutions, the gathering represents a significant step towards the future of Arctic research and policy. While this was the 18th Arctic Science Summit Week (ASSW) convened by the International Arctic Science Committee (IASC) and its partner organizations, the conference achieved many notable firsts.
IASC
The International Arctic Science Committee (IASC) was founded in 1990 by representatives of scientific organizations from the eight Arctic countries. Currently comprised of the original eight countries plus 15 non-Arctic nations, the organizational needs of IASC are served by an international Secretariat that is hosted and financed by an IASC member country. Norway, Sweden, and Germany have previously hosted the Secretariat; during a March 2016 meeting the IASC Council decided that Iceland will host starting in 2017.
The White House
On 28 September 2016, the U.S. Administration will host the first-ever Arctic Science Ministerial meeting in Washington, D.C., convening science ministers, chief science advisors, indigenous representatives, and other high-level officials from foreign governments around the world in an effort to advance international scientific collaboration in the Arctic. The goals for the meeting are "to advance promising, near-term science initiatives and create a context for increased international scientific collaboration on the Arctic over the longer term."

A Note From the ARCUS Executive Director

Dr. Robert Rich
The Arctic Research Consortium of the United States (ARCUS) has been dedicated to connecting Arctic research across boundaries for more than 25 years. We work to support communication, coordination, and collaboration between researchers, among institutions, spanning disciplines, bridging sectors, and connecting nations. Witness the Arctic is one of many offerings we provide, and we encourage each Witness reader to complete the Arctic research readership needs survey at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/ArcticReadership .
ARCUS
Greetings from the ARCUS D.C. Office, which is increasingly serving as a hub of Arctic research activity here in the nation's capital. A major advantage of my being based in D.C. (with our headquarters remaining in Fairbanks, Alaska) is the ability to participate in the frequent policy discussions related to Arctic research. We can also host local events in our building, such as the ARCUS-sponsored Arctic Research Seminar Series, the December IARPC Re-visioning Workshop, and the April International Arctic Fisheries Meeting.

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). Starting in early 2009 the issues have been published online 3-4 times per year depending on newsworthy events. Witness has over 9,800 subscribers.

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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.org.

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Executive Director: Dr. Robert Rich

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

Contributors: C. Arp, S. Bowden, A. Budden, R. Cooper, K. Creek, M. Druckenmiller, J. Farrell, Þ. Gunnarsson, B. Jones, M. Jones, B.P. Kelly, M. LaValley, B. Myers, K. Newyear, A. Pope, A. Proshutinsky, V. Rachold, R. Rich, T. Scambos, C. Schädel, M. Schildhauer, L. Sheffield Guy, M. Stapleton, S. Starkweather, M. Steel, K. Timm, J. Warburton, P. West, H. Wiggins

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.