Study of Environmental Arctic Change (SEARCH) Update


Contributors: Brit Myers, Lisa Sheffield Guy, and Helen Wiggins (SEARCH Science Office, Arctic Research Consortium of the U.S.); Brendan Kelly (SEARCH Executive Director, University of Alaska Fairbanks); Matthew Druckenmiller (SEARCH Sea Ice Action Team, Based at National Snow and Ice Data Center), Christina Schädel (SEARCH Permafrost Action Team, Northern Arizona University)

This update on the Study of Environmental Arctic Change (SEARCH) program provides an introduction to SEARCH's new Science Steering Committee (SSC) members and cross-disciplinary working groups; discusses opportunities to connect with SEARCH activities at the upcoming SEARCH events at the Fall Meeting of American Geophysical Union; and includes a summary of a Sea Ice Action Team Knowledge Exchange workshop. A perspective on the outcomes of the recent White House Arctic Science Ministerial, by SEARCH Executive Director Brendan Kelly, is available here.

SEARCH Welcomes Two New Science Steering Committee Members

At a SEARCH SSC meeting in August, the SSC voted to elect two new members. Dr. Amy L. Lovecraft and Ms. Raychelle Aluaq Daniel will serve three-year terms, taking over the seats recently held by Dr. Stephen Vavrus (University of Wisconsin-Madison) and Ms. Karen Pletnikoff (Aleutian Pribilof Islands Association).

Dr. Amy Lauren Lovecraft (University of Alaska Fairbanks)

Amy Lauren Lovecraft Dr. Lovecraft is a Professor of Political Science at the University of Alaska Fairbanks where she has been a member of the faculty since 2001. Working to foster interdisciplinary engagement among students and faculty, she is active in the Arctic and Northern Studies program and an International Arctic Research Center Affiliate at UAF. In her research, Dr. Lovecraft explores power dynamics in social-ecological systems. In particular, how will the changes in climate affect the policy relationships among various and competing Arctic interests? She has served two terms as a member of the U.S. National Academies Polar Research Board. Currently, as the Principal Investigator on a four-year National Science Foundation grant, she leads a team working with resident experts in the Northwest Arctic and North Slope Boroughs on scenarios development asking "what is required for healthy sustainable communities in Arctic Alaska by 2040?" She received her B.A. in International Studies in 1994 from Trinity University and her Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin in 2001, with a concentration on American political development, public policy, and political theory.

Raychelle Aluaq Daniel (U.S. Department of the Interior)

Raychelle Aluaq Daniel Ms. Daniel currently works as a Policy Analyst in the U.S. Department of the Interior's Office of Policy Analysis. Previously she has served as a Senior Associate with the Pew Charitable Trusts, focusing on Pew's work in the U.S. Arctic, as well as a Conservation Scientist with The Ocean Conservancy. Ms. Daniel grew up in Tuntutuliak, Alaska where the Kuskokwim River meets the Bering Sea in a Yup'ik community inextricably linked to a subsistence way of life, where fish and marine mammals were prominent. Her background influenced her to study marine mammal ecology. She earned a B.S. in Biology at the University of Alaska Southeast in 1999 and a M.S. in Zoology from the University of British Columbia Fisheries Centre in 2003. She has worked on several major research projects on pinnipeds in the Beaufort Sea and the Gulf of Alaska and has natural resource management experience that includes ecological monitoring, marine ecology, and conservation science.

New SEARCH Working Groups Announced

In August, the SEARCH SSC approved the formation of new working groups to facilitate cross-cutting research in the following areas:

Coastal Resilience

The Coastal Resilience Working Group will convene broad-thinking experts to assess the ecological, morphological, and socioeconomic components of the Arctic's coastal resilience (as defined by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) and recommend to the SEARCH SSC research areas that would benefit from greater coordination and multi-disciplinarity. This working group is being led by Dr. Betsy Baker (University of Vermont).

Methane Budget Working Group

A Methane Budget Working Group has been convened by the SSC to assist in the planning, facilitation, and reporting on an international workshop to reconcile methane budgets in the northern permafrost region, tentatively scheduled for the first quarter of 2017. This workshop will bring together researchers studying methane from terrestrial sources (primarily wetlands and lakes), coastal sources, and inferences of fluxes based on atmospheric methane concentrations. This working group effort is led by Dr. A. David McGuire (University of Alaska Fairbanks). Funding support for the upcoming workshop has been generously committed by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the U.S. Arctic Research Commission, and the U.S. Geological Survey.

Arctic Future Scenarios

The Arctic Future Scenarios Working Group will outline steps for SEARCH to produce synthetic Arctic scenarios as well as a successful Arctic Futures 2050 Open Science Meeting currently targeted for 2019. More details on this working group will be available soon.

SEARCH Events at the Fall Meeting of the American Geophysical Union (AGU)

SEARCH Town Hall

Date: Monday, 12 December 2016
Time: 12:30–1:30pm PT (ed note: time revised from original publication)
Location: San Francisco Marriott Marquis, Foothills E - 780 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94103 or online for live webinar.

At this open Town Hall, SEARCH leadership will discuss how researchers, agencies, and stakeholders can contribute to and participate in SEARCH's "Permafrost", "Sea Ice", and "Land Ice" activities; help steer the work of new cross-disciplinary working groups on coastal resilience and Arctic scenarios; and introduce SEARCH's new "Knowledge Pyramids." SEARCH is constructing Knowledge Pyramids to make scientific knowledge available on-line to decision makers, journalists, students, and scientists in diverse fields. Each knowledge pyramid answers a specific question about environmental change in the Arctic through tiers of increasing detail. The top of the pyramid provides—in accessible language—a succinct synopsis of what we know about the question in the form of a 1–2-page brief suitable for policymakers. Published reports back up the brief in lower tiers. The second tier down contains summaries more detailed than the brief; below that are published conceptual and technical syntheses; and, finally, the base of the pyramid is made of detailed technical reports focused on specific details—the scientific building blocks.

Broad participation enhances SEARCH's success and we invite everyone interested in the Arctic to learn more about becoming part of our community at this event. Light refreshments will be provided. Students and early career investigators are encouraged to participate.

In addition to the in-person event, an online webinar stream will be available for those not attending AGU. To join via an online participant, please register at:

Registration is not required for in-person attendance. For more information, please contact Brit Myers: brit [at]

Permafrost Carbon Network Annual Meeting

The 6th annual meeting of the Permafrost Carbon Network will take place on Sunday, 11 December prior to the Fall AGU meeting. Bringing together the international community of permafrost researchers, the program for the day will feature a series of presentations and speed talks to introduce break-out session 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 research products. The meeting is open to all members of the scientific community with an interest in permafrost carbon research synthesis.

To register for this event, please visit:

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

Other SEARCH Events at AGU

In addition to the events above, SEARCH will be active in several oral and poster sessions; more information is available at:

Towards a Sea Ice Action Network to Support Knowledge for Action

The SEARCH Sea Ice Action Team held its First SEARCH Knowledge Exchange Workshop on the Impacts of Arctic Sea Ice Loss in Washington, D.C., 14–15 September 2016. The goals were three-fold: 1) to begin building a new network of researchers, Arctic residents, decision-makers, and other Arctic stakeholders to exchange knowledge and experience regarding the socio-environmental implications of an ice-diminishing Arctic; 2) to identify new opportunities for relevant synthesis science; and 3) to discuss avenues for co-communicating knowledge for action to diverse audiences. A Sea Ice Action Network (SIAN) will foster collaboration and communication related to impacts of Arctic sea ice loss with the goal of making science and research more relevant to those on the frontlines of policy and practice. The Sea Ice Action Team, led by Jennifer Francis (Rutgers University) and Henry Huntington (Huntington Consulting), is in the midst of developing Knowledge Pyramids that provide timely and tiered information about the impacts of sea-ice loss, organized across a series of high-level topics, such as the links between Arctic sea ice loss and marine ecosystems, coastal communities, and mid-latitude weather. This web resource will enable the scientific community to collaboratively disseminate important scientific knowledge, while providing a trusted and reliable resource for decision-makers, the media, and the public. Look for the "Sea Ice Matters" website and SIAN blog to be released this fall. For more information, please contact SIAN Coordinator Matthew Druckenmiller at druckenmiller [at]