Arctic Field Projects

Project Title: Collaborative Research: Research, Synthesis, and Knowledge Transfer in a Changing Arctic: Science Support for the Study of Environmental Arctic Change (SEARCH) (Award# 1331083)

PI: Wiggins, Helen V (
Phone: (907) 474-1604 
Institute/Department: Arctic Research Consortium of the United States,  
IPY Project?
Funding Agency: US\Federal\NSF\GEO\OPP\ARC\ARCSS
Program Manager: Dr. Neil Swanberg (
Discipline(s): | Education and Outreach |

Project Web Site(s):

Science Summary:
The Arctic is undergoing dramatic, accelerating environmental change, resulting in impacts on local, regional and global scales. Improved understanding of the present and probable future state of the arctic environment is important for a wide range of stakeholders, including arctic residents, the private sector, agencies and decision-makers. To develop and convey this understanding to decision makers, an interdisciplinary research program is needed that engages with stakeholders to provide science-based answers to stakeholder questions, and the Study of Arctic Environmental Change (SEARCH) is well positioned to serve this function. This project will build a support structure to enable SEARCH to serve the needs of the scientific community and agencies. The new research coordination structure will coordinate science, exchange knowledge and tools between science and stakeholders, drive scientific syntheses, and connect scientists and stakeholders to answer questions about arctic change. The new structure will ensure that its activities have societal benefit, and foster two-way communication of research findings and information needs. Proposed activities include knowledge exchange workshops that will facilitate networking between stakeholders and scientists, and stakeholders will be included in other synthesis research activities, meetings and conferences. A set of activities focused on the theme "Arctic Futures 2050" will frame scientific findings in a way that can help decision-makers plan for the future. All of these activities will lead to development of research products that address societal priorities and can help inform policy. SEARCH will facilitate research in response to scientific priorities and stakeholder questions about complex arctic change. This project will improve understanding, advance prediction, and explore the consequences of changing arctic sea ice; document and improve understanding of how degradation of near-surface permafrost will affect arctic and global systems; and improve predictions of future land-ice loss and its impacts on sea level. An additional overarching goal will be to analyze societal and policy implications of these arctic environmental changes, and a set of activities will be undertaken to integrate findings across all the thematic goals. These goals will be achieved by facilitating research across disciplines, scales and among agencies; advancing scientific synthesis of data, model output and expert projections; creating networks of people and research groups that promote efficiencies and scientific discovery; developing tools useful to stakeholders and decision-makers; and enhancing research coordination.

Logistics Summary:
This collaboration between Kelly (1331100, UAF) and Wiggins (1331083, ARCUS) will continue to move SEARCH to full implementation and to respond to the changing needs in the scientific, agency, and decision-maker communities. SEARCH has developed a new vision and mission, a set of prioritized cross-disciplinary five-year goals, an integrated set of activities, and an organizational structure. The SEARCH vision is: achieving scientific understanding of arctic environmental change to help society understand and respond to a rapidly changing Arctic. The SEARCH mission is: to provide a foundation of arctic change science through collaboration with the research community, funding agencies, and other stakeholders. The SEARCH five-year science goals are: 1. Improve Understanding, Advance Prediction, and Explore Consequences of Changing Arctic Sea Ice 2. Document and Understand How Degradation of Near-Surface Permafrost Will Affect Arctic and Global Systems 3. Improve Predictions of Future Land-ice Loss and Impacts on Sea Level 4. Analyze Societal and Policy Implications of Arctic Environmental Change No fieldwork is conducted.

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