Witness the Arctic

Volume 21
Number 2
01 December 2017

Arctic System Science Program

Sea Ice Prediction Network (SIPN) Updates

By: Betsy Turner-Bogren and Helen Wiggins, ARCUS

SIPN 2017

During the final months of funding for the initial Sea Ice Prediction Network (SIPN) project, efforts were focused on the core Sea Ice Outlook (SIO) activities in the summer and fall of 2017. Activities included development of the June, July, and August monthly reports, and a post-season report to synthesize results from the 2017 melt season. Additionally, SIPN Leadership Team members contributed several peer

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International News

Greenland Ecological Monitoring Program's Treasure Trove of Arctic Research Data Publicly Available

By: Catherine Jex, Journalist for ScienceNordic.com

Editor's Note: This article is based on one published online by ScienceNordic on 15 November 2017, "Treasure trove" of Arctic research data now publicly available, also written by Catherine Jex.

The Greenland Ecosystem Monitoring program (GEM) was established in 1994 by research institutions throughout Denmark and Greenland to conduct long-term inter-disciplinary data collection. As part of the program

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The Year of Polar Prediction

By Kirstin Werner, Year of Polar Prediction International Coordination Office, Project Officer

Environmental and climate changes in the Arctic have significant impact on maritime traffic related to fisheries, scientific efforts, and tourism, and create potential risks to both humans and the natural environment. Precise weather and sea-ice predictions will play an increasingly important role in managing related safety issues in polar regions. The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) under the auspices of its World Weather Research Programme (WWRP) and the Polar Prediction Project [(PPP)

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Highlights from the International Arctic Science Committee (IASC)

By: Gunnar Gunnarsson, International Arctic Science Executive Officer and Allen Pope, International Arctic Science Committee Executive Secretary

The Arctic is a huge natural laboratory offering a surprising diversity of research possibilities in every branch of science. The International Arctic Science Committee's (IASC) mission is to encourage and facilitate cooperation in all aspects of Arctic research, in all countries engaged in Arctic research, and all areas of the Arctic region. For nearly three decades, IASC has worked to transform the conditions for

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Study of Environmental Arctic Change (SEARCH)

SEARCH Plans Meetings for Actionable Science

By: Brendan P. Kelly, SEARCH Executive Director
What understanding is needed to inform Arctic decision-making through 2050?

How can scientists better understand and contribute to Arctic policy conversations?

How might unexpected events or trends in the Arctic substantially alter policy needs by 2050?

What research is needed to avoid unmanageable change in the Arctic?

Arctic Futures 2050 will address these questions through a scenarios workshop in 2018 and a larger, open meeting of Arctic scientists and policymakers in 2019. The immediate products will include descriptions of

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Translating Science - SEARCH's Adventures in Synthesis and Engagement

By: Brendan P. Kelly, SEARCH Executive Director
The Study of Environmental Arctic Change (SEARCH) facilitates synthesis of Arctic science and communicates our current understanding to help society respond to a rapidly changing Arctic. We focus our syntheses on the changing cryosphere (permafrost, land ice, and sea ice) and the consequences for ecosystems and society. We communicate our understanding to multiple audiences but with an emphasis on policymakers. Synthesizing and communicating to non-scientists both are acts of translation—across

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A Note From the ARCUS Executive Director

2017: An Interesting Year for Arctic Research

By: Robert H. Rich, Ph.D., CAE
Robert Rich
Joseph Chamberlain (the father of the late British prime minister) said "I think that you will all agree that we are living in most interesting times. I never remember myself a time in which our history was so full, in which day by day brought us new objects of interest, and, let me say also, new objects for anxiety." Chamberlain could easily have been talking about today's Arctic research, with its amazing discoveries, the worrying attacks on research funding, and the emergence of new objects of interest and anxiety every day.

Your Arctic Research

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Interagency News

IARPC Seeks Comments on Revision of Principles for Conduct of Research in the Arctic

By: IARPC Staff
The Interagency Arctic Research Policy Committee (IARPC) is seeking comments on how best to revise and strengthen the NSF Principles for the Conduct of Research in the Arctic. A Federal Register Notice has been published to solicit community input. Comments can be submitted to the Principles Revision

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Governing Across the Waves: An International Workshop on Managing Maritime Traffic in the Bering Strait

By: Cara Condit, Director for Arctic Study and Policy, U.S. Coast Guard Academy

The U.S. Coast Guard Center for Arctic Study and Policy (CASP) organized the recent "Governing Across the Waves Workshop: Global Insights for Transboundary Waterways Management in Sensitive and Congested Maritime Spaces," which aimed to support the ongoing efforts by the U.S. and Russian governments to achieve the shared objectives in the Bering Strait region of safe, secure, and environmentally responsible maritime traffic.

Established in September 2014, CASP serves as

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U.S. Arctic Research Commission

New Agreement to Enhance International Arctic Scientific Cooperation

By: John Farrell, Executive Director, U.S. Arctic Research Commission

Editor's Note: This article, originally published in the October 2017 issue of Witness Community Highlights, has been updated with new information and the newly-released map of "Identified Geographic Areas" related to the Agreement on Enhancing International Arctic Scientific Cooperation.

The eight member states of the Arctic Council vowed to

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National Science Foundation News

Updates from NSF's Arctic Sciences and Research Support and Logistics Programs

NSF Arctic Sciences Town Hall to Convene During 2017 AGU Fall Meetings

Program Directors from NSF's Office of Polar Programs Arctic Sciences Programs will provide an overview of recent and upcoming news of interest to the research community at a town hall meeting during the 2017 AGU Fall Meetings. Topics will include staffing changes in the Arctic Section, proposal pressure in 2017 versus 2016 without proposal deadlines, and upcoming opportunities at NSF of interest to Arctic researchers (including mid-scale research infrastructure, partnerships in geosciences-cyberinfrastructure

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Arctic Social Sciences Program

Investigating the Health and Wellbeing of Alaska Native Elderly in Northwest Alaska Using Community-Based Research Methods

By: Jordan P. Lewis, Associate Professor (WWAMI) School of Medical Education; Director, National Resource Center for Alaska Native Elders; University of Alaska Anchorage, College of Health

Alaska Native communities have a strong sense of respect for their older residents. In many Alaskan rural communities, whose primary population is Alaska Native people, the elderly are still relied upon for their deep knowledge and understanding of the natural environment, heritage languages, and cultural practices that are important not only for

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Research Processes and Indigenous Communities in Western Alaska: Results from a Workshop on Indigenous Perspectives

By: Brenden Raymond-Yakoubian, Sandhill.Culture.Craft Principal and Julie Raymond-Yakoubian, Kawerak, Inc., Social Science Program Director

Kawerak, Inc., the Alaska Native non-profit tribal consortium for the Bering Strait region, and Sandhill.Culture.Craft, a social science research and consulting firm based in Girdwood, Alaska, partnered to hold a two-day workshop in August 2016 to discuss key Indigenous perspectives on a variety of issues regarding the relationships between Indigenous communities and research

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ARCUS Program News

ARCUS staff manage a diverse portfolio of projects to connect Arctic research across disciplines, organizations, knowledge systems, and geography. A few recent highlights include:


American Geophysical Union (AGU) 2017 Fall Meeting

We have been busy preparing for the upcoming AGU Fall Meeting in New Orleans, Louisiana:

ARCUS Annual Meeting - ARCUS' annual meeting will take place on Wednesday, December 13 from 6:00–7:00 p.m. Central Time in the Riverside I Room at the Hampton Inn & Suites New Orleans Convention Center. There will be a

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Polar Research Board

Recent Icebreaker Report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine

By: The National Academies Staff

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine Committee on Polar Icebreaker Cost Assessment released a report in July that advises the U.S. Congress on strategies to minimize life-cycle costs of polar icebreaker acquisition and operations.

A U.S. presence in the high-latitude regions requires reliable year-round access in order to support economic interests, search-and-rescue needs, defense and security readiness, environmental protection, maritime mobility, and scientific research. In the

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Science Education News

Joint Science Education Project (JSEP): Mentoring the Next Generation of Polar Scientists

By: Lauren Culler, Research Assistant Professor in the Environmental Studies Program at Dartmouth College and JSEP co-Principal Investigator, and Lee McDavid, Program Manager of the Institute of Arctic Studies, Dartmouth College

Twenty high school students from Greenland, Denmark, and the U.S. learned about polar science this past summer as they gained first-hand experience of how international research teams work together and some of the challenges they face, especially when speaking different languages.

The Joint Science Education Project [(JSEP)](https://dickey.dartmouth.edu/joint

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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@arcus.org.

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

  • Arctic Research Consortium of the United States
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  • Phone: 907-474-1600
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  • info [at] arcus.org
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Executive Director: Dr. Robert Rich

Editors: Betsy Turner-Bogren and Helen Wiggins

Contributors : C. Condit, L. Culler, J. Farrell, G. Gunnarsson, C. Jex, B. P. Kelly, J. P. Lewis, L. McDavid, J. L. Mercer, A. Pope, B. Raymond-Yakoubian, J. Raymond-Yakoubian, R. Rich, C. Suchman, B. Turner-Bogren, K. Werner, H. Wiggins, the IARPC Staff, and the National Academies Staff.

Witness the Arctic is published by the Arctic Research Consortium of the U.S. (ARCUS), a nonprofit organization that advances Arctic research and education. Witness the Arctic is funded through a Cooperative Agreement with the National Science Foundation (PLR-1304316). Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication do not necessarily reflect the views of NSF.