Climate is changing worldwide, but the Arctic is warming at a rate almost twice the global average and will likely continue to warm throughout the next century. In Alaska the effects of a warming climate, such as thawing permafrost, increased coastal erosion, and changes in landcover can already be seen. There is tremendous interest from within the scientific community in documenting arctic change, and understanding the linkages between arctic and global climate systems. Current and projected landscape changes also present a suite of new challenges for land and resource management agencies. Recognizing this, a number of these entities have taken a critical step toward addressing climate change by identify the new information they need to support decision making.
The Linking Climate and Habitat Change in Arctic Alaska (2.7 MB) is the product of the Arctic LCC Species & Habitat Working Group. The Species & Habitat Working Group consisted of four sub-groups: fish, mammals, birds, and subsistence resources. Each group summarized their findings in a common tabular format that identifies the climate-associated biophysical process shifts thought to most strongly influence broad species assemblages or access to subsistence resources, species or species groups most likely to be affected, and pertinent biophysical parameters to measure or model.
This report identified both overarching and specific research needed to implement policy recommendation being offered for the Alaska climate change strategy. Go to the http://www.climatechange.alaska.gov for more information.
The North Slope Science Initiative’s Emerging Issues Summaries identifies 13 topics that are relevant to management of natural resources in Arctic Alaska. Go to http://northslope.org for more information.
The New Conservation Priorities in a Changing Arctic Alaska report is the product of a 2009 workshop convened by the Wildlife Conservation Society. The workshop brought together key scientific and management stakeholders to identify emerging wildlife conservation priorities of a changing Arctic Alaska.
The WildREACH Workshop report (10 MB) details the priority research, modeling, and synthesis activities needed to understand the effects of climate change on birds, fish, and mammals of arctic Alaska, with a focus on terrestrial and freshwater systems.
The Arctic Biodiversity Assessment (18 MB) is a report containing the best available science informed by traditional ecological knowledge on the status and trends of Arctic biodiversity and accompanying policy recommendations for biodiversity conservation. The press release, report, key findings, and policy recommendations are available at www.arcticbiodiversity.is.
The Arctic Climate Impact Assessment is a comprehensive, integrated assessment of changing climate and ultraviolet radiation across the Arctic.
On February 19th, 2013, the Whitehouse released the Interagency Arctic Research Policy Committee’s Arctic Research Plan: FY2013-2017 (2.6 MB). The 14 participating Federal agencies identified 7 research areas that will inform national policy and benefit significantly from close interagency coordination.
On April 4, 2013, an interagency working group chaired by Interior Deputy Secretary David Hayes released a report that calls for an integrated management strategy for the rapidly changing Arctic. The report, Managing for the Future in a Rapidly Changing Arctic (14 MB), highlights the need for a coordinated approach that uses the best available science to integrate cultural, environmental, and economic factors in decision-making about development and conservation.
On May 10, 2013, President Obama signed the National Strategy for the Arctic Region (490 KB). The United States joins its Arctic Council colleagues Canada, Norway, Denmark, Iceland, Finland, Russia, and Sweden in articulating strategic priorities for this critical region of the world.