Witness the Arctic

Volume 19
Number 1
27 February 2015

Study of Environmental Arctic Change (SEARCH)

SEARCH continues to transition from a planning-focused structure to an implementation phase. As follow-up from a SEARCH kick-off meeting this past fall and with input from a SEARCH Town Hall and related meetings at the AGU Fall Meeting, SEARCH has made progress on key governance and structure issues, including posting and announcement of three new SEARCH positions and rotations in the Science Steering Committee (SSC).

Arctic Research Support and Logistics

The NSF Arctic Research Support and Logistics (RSL) program funded an Arctic Field Safety Risk Management Workshop on 4-5 February 2014 to initiate a discussion of Arctic field safety risk management. Over 50 participants attended representing diverse academic disciplines, facility managers, university risk management offices, and field support providers and incorporating experiences from across the Arctic. A pre-publication draft of the workshop report will be available online in March 2015. The final publication will be released in Spring 2015 and announced via ArcticInfo and other information channels.

Data Management

The Advanced Cooperative Arctic Data and Information Service (ACADIS) team continues to support data management needs of projects funded by NSF's Division of Polar Programs (PLR) Arctic Sciences Section with data submission, preservation, search, and sharing services. Updates include a new data submission interface, review and improvements to metadata, and increased speed and efficiency of the Arctic Data Explorer search tool.

Science Policy News

President Obama issued an Executive Order on 21 January 2015 to help coordinate Arctic-related activities across the Federal government and to enhance collaborations with State, local, and Alaska Native tribal governments and similar Alaska Native organizations, academic and research institutions, and the private and nonprofit sectors. The Executive Order establishes an Arctic Executive Steering Committee that will serve as a coordinating mechanism on federal Arctic activities and facilitate cohesive guidance to departments and agencies. The Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy, Dr. John P. Holdren, will chair the committee.

Interagency News

IARPC Collaborations - Iceberg photo courtesy of Nick Salava.
In 2013 the Principals of the Interagency Arctic Research Policy Committee (IARPC ) approved a new vision statement that expanded its focus from federal-only discussions to a more collaborative effort involving both federal and non-Federal partners to better harness the talent of the broader scientific and stakeholder community. A number of tools have been put in place in order to enable this far-reaching communication and collaboration. In some cases these tools are tried and true, while others are new, innovative, and even experimental in nature.
Arctic Report Card
The 2014 Arctic Report Card was released on 17 December 2014 during a press conference led by Martin Jeffries, Principal Editor of the Arctic Report Card. This is the eighth annual update to the Report Card, which provides reports on key indicators and components being tracked in the Arctic. New features of the 2014 Report Card include three new sections entitled "Vital Signs," "Indicators," and "Frostbites" and an Editorial Advisory Board, formed for the 2014 Report Card and subsequent issues, which advises the editors on the choice of topics for the "Indicators" and "Frostbites" sections, and participates in the internal review of the Report Card prior to the independent peer review.

International News

Scientific, political, and economic interest in the Arctic is rapidly growing and the increasing number of Arctic and polar research programs requires better coordination in order to agree on shared objectives and ensure the best value for funds spent. Consequently, the International Arctic Science Committee (IASC) has initiated the planning of a third International Conference on Arctic Research Planning (ICARP III) and invited all interested partner organizations to participate in shaping the future of Arctic research needs.
Plans are underway for Arctic Science Summit Week (ASSW) 2016, which will convene 12-18 March 2016 in Fairbanks, Alaska. ASSW, an annual gathering of international scientists and policymakers, provides a forum to share Arctic research findings and to advance understanding and planning for a rapidly changing Arctic. Over 500 scientists, policymakers, administrators, students, and members of the media from around the world are expected to attend. The conference will consist of several separate but related activities to strengthen international coordination, collaboration, and cooperation in all fields of Arctic science.

From the ARCUS Board

Mark Ivey
Mark is the manager for the Department of Energy's (DOE) Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) climate research facilities in Alaska. These facilities, managed by Sandia National Laboratories for DOE, include ground-based systems in Barrow, Oliktok, and Atqasuk, Alaska. Ivey is also a distinguished member of the technical staff at Sandia where he has worked since the early 1980's. He received his PhD in electrical engineering from the University of New Mexico. In addition to working for Sandia, Mark has worked for technology start-up companies in New Mexico, and he taught briefly as an adjunct professor in the electrical engineering department at Montana State University in Bozeman, Montana.


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. Witness has over 8,700 subscribers.



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.


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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Witness Community Highlights

Witness Community Highlights is an online publication launched in May 2017 to complement the regular publications of Witness the Arctic. It was developed in response to community feedback identifying the need for a monthly publication to highlight 1–2 Arctic research efforts and other timely items of interest to our readers. Community Highlights is distributed monthly via our Witness the Arctic mailing list of over 8,700 subscribers.

Witness Community Highlights

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

Contributors: S. Arms, L. Booker, S. Bowden, H. Eicken, M. Ivey, M. Jeffries, E. Nienhouse, V. Rachold, J. Richter-Menge, J. Rohde, T. Rosati, J. Scannell, D. Stott, K. Timm, B. Turner-Bogren, H. Wiggins, and L. Yarmey

ARCUS is a nonprofit organization with a vision of strong and productive linkages among international Arctic researchers, educators, communities, and other stakeholders to promote discovery and understanding of the Arctic.

Witness the Arctic is funded by the National Science Foundation as a service to the research community through Cooperative Agreement PLR-1304316 with ARCUS. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication do not necessarily reflect the views of NSF.