Arctic Coastal Dynamics

6th Arctic Coastal Dynamics Newsletter

April 2006

The main purpose of the ACD Newsletter is to inform you as an Arctic researcher interested in coastal dynamics about the progress and activities of the IASC-IPA project Arctic Coastal Dynamics (ACD). The 5th Newsletter was sent out in 2004 and this 6th Newsletter summarizes the achievements of the last two years and upcoming activities. The Arctic Coastal Dynamics project now has its own email address:

1. Achievements

1.1 Meetings
Fifth ACD workshop, Montreal (Canada), 12-16 October 2004

The 5th ACD Workshop was hosted by McGill University in Montreal, Canada on 13-16 October, 2004. Participants from Canada (20), Germany (3), Malaysia (1), the Netherlands (1), Norway (1), Russia (14), and the United States (6) attended. Of these, two were young scientists supported by IASC. The Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT) and the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) provided support for six of the Russian participants. In addition to the established ACD thematic working groups on (1) GIS development, (2) Transition from Onshore to Offshore Permafrost and (3) Environmental Forcing, a new theme introduced at the Canadian workshop was (4) the Human Dimensions of Arctic Coastal Dynamics.


The International Conference on Arctic Research Planning II (ICARP II) took place in Copenhagen, Denmark, on November 10-12, 2005. The Science Plan of the Arctic Coastal Processes Working Group (WG3), chaired by Volker Rachold, was developed with strong input from ACD membership. During the ICARP II conference, the science plan was refined and a final version has now been released. In it, key scientific questions are identified for coastal process science over the next decade and beyond. These questions include a wide range of disciplines and viewpoints, so that linkages between working groups are identified. The basic scientific approach adopted is the establishment of long-term coastal observatories distributed about the circum-Arctic coastline, in order to begin studying coastal processes on a systematic and coordinated basis at the global scale. A side meeting was held in Copenhagen on November 14 following ICARP II to discuss the status of ACD activities.

1.2 Publications and products
  • A collection of 15 ACD relevant papers was published in a special issue of the international peer-reviewed journal Geo-Marine Letters, Volume 25, Number 2-3 (June 2005).
  • The report of the 4th ACD Workshop (St. Petersburg, Russia, 10-13 Nov. 2003), with over 60 extended abstracts, was published as Reports on Polar and Marine Research (Vol. 482).
  • The report of the 5th ACD Workshop (Montreal, Canada, 13-16 October 2004), including ca. 50 extended abstracts, was published as Reports on Polar and Marine Research (Vol. 506).
  • Other recently published ACD-relevant articles are referenced on the ACD website. This list will be updated frequently.
  • An article on Arctic coastal change and the work of ACD and ACBio will appear in the upcoming issue of the World Wildlife Federation’s quarterly magazine, Arctic Bulletin.
  • The ACD website has been updated and has a new look.
1.3 Conference presentations

ACD presentations were given at:

  • McGill University Colloquium in Montreal (Canada), 16 February 2004
  • AOSB Meeting during the Arctic Science Summit Week in Reykjavik (Iceland), 21-28 April 2004
  • ARCUS 16th Annual Meeting and Arctic Forum in Washington DC (USA), 13-14 May 2004
  • Annual conference of the Russian permafrost community in Tyumen (Russia), 22-27 May 2004; (special sessions on Arctic Coastal Dynamics and coastal and offshore permafrost)
  • 1st Workshop of the European Science Foundation Network “Sedimentary Source-toSink-Fluxes in Cold Environments - SEDIFLUX” in Saudarkrokur (Iceland), 16-21 June 2004
  • 32nd International Geological Conference in Florence (Italy), 21-27 August 2004
  • AGU Fall Meeting in San Francisco (USA), 13-17 December 2004
  • Shifting Lands, 2nd Workshop of the European Science Foundation (ESF) Network Sedimentary Source-to-Sink-Fluxes in Cold Environments (SEDIFLUX), ClermontFerrand (France), 20-22 January 2005
  • European Geophysical Union (EGU) annual meeting, Vienna (Austria), 24-29 April 2005
  • Annual conference of the Russian permafrost community, Pushchino (Russia), 25-27 May 2005 (ACD session chaired by Alexander Vasiliev)
  • Arctic Observing Networks, Workshop organized by the US National Academy of Science, Copenhagen (Denmark), 11-13 May 2005
  • 2nd European Conference on Permafrost (EUCOP II), Potsdam (Germany), 12-16 June 2005 (session of coastal and offshore permafrost chaired by Volker Rachold and Mikhail Grigoriev)
  • LOICZ II, Inaugural Open Science Meeting, Egmond aan Zee (The Netherlands), 27-29 June 2005
  • NOAA Workshop “Alaskan Coastal Climatologies Wind and Wave Hindcast”, Anchorage (USA), 2-3 August 2005
  • NOAA Workshop “The State of the Arctic”, Woods Hole (USA), 11-13 October 2005
  • 2nd International Alfred Wegener Symposium, Bremerhaven (Germany), 30 Oct-2 Nov 2005
  • 2nd International Conference on Arctic Research Planning (ICARP II), Copenhagen (Denmark), 10-12 Nov 2005
  • Symposium/workshop on “Climate and changing pathways of marine Arctic pollution”, Tromsø (Norway), 28 November-3 December 2005
  • Arctic Science Summit Week, Potsdam (Germany), 22-29 March 2006
1.4 Volker Rachold named Executive Secretary of IASC

Volker Rachold, the outgoing project leader of ACD, was named Executive Secretary of the International Arctic Science Committee (IASC) and took up his duties at the new IASC secretariat in Stockholm, Sweden in January 2006. Volker has been a dynamic and enthusiastic leader of ACD for the last five years and the project’s success is a measure of his efforts. He will be missed at ACD, although we look forward to his continued involvement in Arctic coastal science. We would like to thank him for his excellent leadership and wish him the very best in his new functions.

2. New Developments and Upcoming Activities

2.1 New project leaders

In the wake of Volker Rachold’s departure, two new leaders of the ACD project have been named. Nicole Couture of McGill University, Montreal, Canada, and Paul Overduin of the Alfred Wegener Institute, Potsdam, Germany will take over the project management with the assistance of the international steering committee members.

2.2 ACD II

The first phase of the ACD project, developed in its science and implementation plan, laid out a schedule and milestones for the project through 2005. The project has been very successful and the council of the International Arctic Science Committee (IASC) has decided to continue its promotion of ACD and keep it in its project catalogue. IASC considers ACD to be an ongoing project which will be infused with new ideas originating from the outcome of the ICARP II working group on Arctic Coastal Processes and will feed into the IPY. On March 22-29, 2006, the Arctic Science Summit Week (ASSW 2006) was held in Potsdam, Germany at the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research. At the meeting, the status and general plans for ACD were presented to the IASC council and other conference attendees. This presentation can be viewed online on the ACD website (ASSW presentation). ACD is now entering a new, second phase and we look forward to developing the next chapter for Arctic coastal science research.

2.3 ACD-related Projects

The Arctic Circumpolar Coastal Observatories Network (ACCO-Net: IPY Full Proposal 90) has been officially endorsed by the International Polar Year (IPY) Joint Committee and was selected as the coordinating proposal for the IPY cluster “Coasts and Margins – Arctic”. Based on the recommendations of the IPY Joint Committee and inter-project coordination, 14 projects have joined the cluster. Lead organisations are the IASC, IPA and IGBP/IHDPLOICZ, with 52 consortium members representing 7 nations. ACCO-Net will coordinate the establishment of a network of interdisciplinary observatories for coastal process research, integrating monitoring of the socio-economic, biological and physical effects of change in the Arctic coastal zone.

IPA-IPY Projects

The International Permafrost Association (IPA) has established a steering committee for IPAIPY activities. The steering committee is composed of Jerry Brown and Hanne Christiansen as co-chairs. Steering committee members are Paul Overduin (ACCO-Net) project, Peter Kuhry (CAPP: Carbon Pools in Permafrost Regions), Vladimir Romanovsky (TSP: The Thermal State of Permafrost) and Jan Boelhouwers and Jim Bockheim (ANTPAS: Antarctic Permafrost and Soils). The steering committee is charged with coordination between the projects, particularly joining efforts in the establishment of common monitoring sites.


One of the working groups at the ACD workshop in St. Petersburg, Russia (2003) sought to identify potential bridges between biodiversity assessment and the ACD coastal classification, and to assess the feasibility of a circum-Arctic coastal biodiversity assessment project. This resulted in a science and implementation plan for the Arctic Coastal Biodiversity project (ACBio) which has been accepted as a fully-supported project by the International Arctic Science Committee (IASC). ACBio’s has three overall objectives: to improve our fundamental knowledge of environmental processes and possible new impacts to Arctic coastal ecosystems, to provide a biodiversity knowledge base to researchers, and to generate data for decision-making support systems. For more information on ACBio, contact the project leader: Christopher Cogan at the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research in Bremerhaven, Germany ().

IPA Coastal and Offshore Permafrost WG

The International Permafrost Association (IPA) has named Paul Overduin acting Co-chair of the IPA Coastal and Offshore Permafrost Working Group. Nikolai N. Romanovskii remains Co-chair.

2.4 Publications and Products

A major focus of the ACD project has been the development of a circum-Arctic coastal classification in GIS (Geographical Information System) format to visualize and analyze the current status of the Arctic coastal region and its sensitivity to environmental changes. Important planned applications of the ACD GIS include calculations of organic carbon and sediment fluxes from the coastal zone to the Arctic Ocean. The segmentation and classification of the circum-Arctic coastline was completed during the 5th ACD Workshop in Montreal (October 2004) and some follow-up meetings of the ACD GIS working group. This coastal GeoInformationSystem, which includes the coastal classification and the relevant environmental and climate forcing data, was presented at the 2nd International Conference on Arctic Research Planning (ICARP II) in Copenhagen (November 2005). The GIS system is currently undergoing a data quality assessment process before being released on its own ArcIMS server (internet mapping server) housed at the Alfred Wegener Institute.

Arctic Coastal Dynamics Book

One outcome of the 2004 workshop in Montreal was the decision to publish a book on the coastal dynamics of Arctic regions. The book has two foci: the first consists of a series of manuscripts, each providing a comprehensive regional overview of the environmental parameters and the processes operating along the coasts of eight different seas of the Arctic Ocean. The second focus involves thematic papers with original contributions providing a detailed look at unique aspects of various coastal processes. Close to 20 manuscripts have been received and are currently in the review and revision process. The book will be published by McGill-Queen’s University press and its release will coincide with the International Polar Year (IPY).

2.5 Upcoming ACD-relevant meetings
  • The Russian annual permafrost conference, traditionally held in Pushchino, will be part of the international conference on Earth Cryosphere Assessment: Theory, Applications and Prognosis of Alterations which takes place at Tyumen State Oil and Gas University, Tyumen, West Siberia, Russia on 29-31 May 2006 . The conference will be focused on Russian and International Permafrost Association activities in the framework of the forthcoming International Polar Year.
  • The Coastal Zone Canada (CZC) 2006 Conference will take place from 14-18 August 2006 in Tuktoyaktuk, Northwest Territories, Canada. The conference focus is to raise awareness of the unique challenges faced by residents of the Arctic coastal zone in the face of rapid changes occurring in Arctic marine ecosystems.
  • The European Science Foundation network on source-to-sink-fluxes and sediment budgets in cold environments (SEDIFLUX) holds their Fourth ESF SEDIFLUX Science Meeting on October 29th-November 2nd, 2006, in Trondheim, Norway. The first circular was issued on February 20th, 2006.
2.6 Next ACD Workshop

The next ACD workshop will be held in October 2006, hosted by the Arctic Centre at the University of Groningen, in Groningen, Netherlands. The workshop will be entitled the Arctic Coastal Research International Science Plan (ACRISP) Workshop. A central goal of the workshop will be to identify the key science questions for the second phase of the ACD project, within the context of both IPY activities in the coastal margins cluster (IPY Full Proposal #90) and the ICARP II Coastal Working Group report. Candidate science questions have been suggested in the ICARP report. Additional goals are the development of a template for coastal observatory monitoring and the integration of ACD activities with other organisations. A first circular announcing specific plans for the workshop will be issued separately.

3. Financial Support

ACD gratefully acknowledges financial support from the following organizations:

  • International Arctic Sciences Committee (IASC)
  • International Permafrost Association (IPA)
  • nternational Association for the Promotion of Co-operation with Scientists from the New Independent States of the Former Soviet Union (INTAS): INTAS Young Scientist Postdoctoral Fellowship, Project 03-55-2506, INTAS Project 01-2332, and INTAS Project 01-2329
  • Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT)

ACD-associated projects have also received support from:

  • Study of the Northern Alaska Coastal System (SNACS)
  • ArcticNet: a study of the impacts of climate change in the coastal Canadian Arctic (ArcticNet)



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