Arctic Freshwater Synthesis - Network and science integration
Writing Team Workshops organized by IASC Network Arctic Freshwater Synthesis (AFS), Partners: Climate and Cryosphere (CliC), All IASC WGs, Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme (AMAP)


There is increasing scientific recognition that changes to the Arctic freshwater systems has produced, and could produce even greater, changes to bio-geophysical and socio-economic systems of special importance to northern residents and also produce some extra-arctic effects that will have global consequences. To address such concerns, a scientific assessment is being conducted that focuses on assessing the various Arctic freshwater sources, fluxes, storage and effects.
The AFS is structured around five major components: atmosphere, ocean, terrestrial hydrology, terrestrial ecology and resources, with modeling as a sixth cross-cutting component. The AFS is currently being developed with scientific and financial support from the World Climate Research Program’s Climate and Cryosphere Project (CliC), the International Arctic Science Committee (IASC), the Arctic Council’s Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Program (AMAP), the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Norwegian Ministry of Climate and Environment.  

Publication plans for the AFS include a number of reports tailored to the scientific foci of the individual participating organizations, and to a suite of scientific-journal review papers.  Research needs identified by the AFS are also to act as benchmarks for the upcoming International Conference on Arctic Research Planning III, planned for 2015.
During spring and summer 2013, planning of the structure of the synthesis was carried out. Subsequently, lead writing and coordinating authors were identified for all six components. During fall 2013, a session focused on the AFS was held at the AGU Fall Meeting in San Francisco, and a first meeting of co-lead authors was held November 10-11 in Stockholm, Sweden.
The Stockholm meeting was followed by remote writing work, where all components prepared zero-order drafts of their respective component review papers. These were reviewed at a second meeting of co-leads in Stockholm on May 4-6, at which breakout meetings were held between all co-leads to ensure component integration and a common synthesis approach.

First order drafts have now been finished, and planning includes a series of smaller meetings during the fall, component by component, to finish second order drafts of the papers. In the process leading up to these meetings, complete writing teams have now also been formed. Final versions of all papers are to be ready and submitted by early 2015.

Reporting Template

“The Arctic Freshwater System in a Changing Climate” Report

For more information please see:

Palaeo-Arctic Spatial and Temporal Gateways (PAST Gateways): a multidisciplinary, pan-Arctic network researching Arctic palaeoclimate
Trieste, Italy - 19-23 May 2014, Potsdam, Germany – 18-22 May 2015

Conferences organized by IASC Network PAST Gateways, Partners: IASC Marine, Cryosphere, Terrestrial and Atmosphere WGs, University of the Arctic, Association of Polar Early Career Scientists (APECS)


Over 70 delegates from Europe, Russia, Canada and the USA attended the second PAST Gateways International Conference and Workshop. There were 32 oral and 30 poster presentations divided into three major themes:

• Growth and decay of Arctic Ice Sheets
• Arctic sea ice and palaeoceanography
• Non-glaciated Arctic Environments including       
  permafrost change.

The wide range of presentations and discussion across these three themes emphasized the interconnectedness and importance of a multi-disciplinary integrated approach to Arctic palaeoclimate. The combination of senior Arctic scientists and early career researchers ensured strong interaction between researchers at different stages of their careers. IASC, through ICARP III, supported the participation of 17 early
career researchers and two keynote speakers at the conference. A special issue of Quaternary Science Reviews comprising papers related to the meeting will be published in 2015/16.

2014 Conference Report
2015 Conference Report


Emerging Questions in Geosciences
Special Publication of the Geological Society of London
organized by IASC Action Group on Geosciences, Partners: IASC Marine, Terrestrial and Social & Human WGs

Contact: bjcoakley(at)


As a contribution to ICARP III, the IASC Action Group on Geosciences is compiling a Special Publication of the Geological Society of London. The volume is intended to be a compilation of ‘review/state-of-the-art’, broad perspective, papers that cover the range of geoscience topics in the Arctic arena from tectonics, climate change, and humans and Earth resources.  As such, it will be a valuable introduction for students and researchers new to working in the Arctic, as well as an important resource for policy makers in providing an up-to-date summary of emerging topics in Arctic research.
The Special Publication will include a collection of papers organized in three main parts:

•  Part I: Arctic Tectonics,
•  Part II: Impact of Arctic climate change and
•  Part III: A Long-Term Perspective on Human Uses of Arctic Mineral Resources
and it will be edited by:

•  Victoria Pease, Stockholm University,
•  Bernard Coakley, University of Alaska Fairbanks,
•  Julie Brigham-Grette, University of Massachusetts Amherst,
•  Carlo Barbante, University of Venice Ca’Foscari and
•  Peter Jordan, University of Groningen.

Reporting Template

Quantifying Albedo Feedbacks and Their Role in the Mass Balance of the Arctic Terrestrial Cryosphere
Bristol, UK - 21-23 September 2014
Workshop organized by IASC Cryosphere WG, Partners: IASC Atmosphere WG

Contact: Martin.Sharp(at)


Scientific Highlights:

• The workshop covered a range of issues related to albedo feedbacks. It identified important and urgent needs in observation and modeling, to promote a further understanding of roles of feedbacks in the mass-balance of terrestrial cryosphere.

• As inputs for ICARP III, 10 scientific questions were identified and shared with the participants. This list includes the recent history of albedo changes, variability in the sensitivity of albedo to climate forcing, availability of albedo measurements in the Arctic, calibration/validation of satellite measurements, adequate characterization of snow packs for albedo modeling purposes, modeling of glacier and lake-ice albedo, biological effects on the albedos of snow, firn, glacier ice etc., effects of organic/inorganic particulates and living organisms, and terrestrial component modeling in climate models.

Martin Sharp

Workshop Report

Linkage between Arctic Climate Change and Mid-latitude Weather Extremes
Seattle, USA - 3-5 September 2014
Workshop organized by IASC Atmosphere WG, Partners: IASC Marine, Cryosphere and Terrestrial WGs, Climate and Cryosphere (CliC), Association of Polar Early Career Scientists (APECS)

Contact: James.E.Overland(at)


The assessment of the potential for recent Arctic changes to influence broader hemispheric weather is a difficult and controversial topic, with considerable skepticism. There is little agreement on problem formulation, methods, or robust mechanisms in the research community. The topic, however, is a major science challenge, as continued Arctic changes are an inevitable aspect of anthropogenic global change and is an opportunity for improved extended range forecasts at mid-latitudes. An intriguing and increasingly important question from scientists and the broader community is whether recent extreme weather in North America, eastern Asia and northern Europe were merely random events or were related to recent global or Arctic climate change. The Atmospheric Working Group of IASC, other IASC Working Groups, and multiple programs have prioritized the challenge:  CliC, WMO/Polar Prediction, NOAA, UK Met Office, and the Icelandic Met Office. Following an IASC/CliC workshop in Iceland in November 2013, a smaller group met in Seattle during September 2014 to address the difficult topic of the current state of the science. A manuscript has been submitted to Journal of Climate and 28 abstracts on linkages and related topics have been submitted to the ISAR/ICARP III session in Japan April 2015. Seattle suggested a way forward through case studies of regional episodic mechanisms. Two candidates for linkages are increased Siberian high pressure and wave trains of high/low pressures bring cold air into eastern Asia, and an amplification of the North American ridge/trough structure related to Greenland blocking (a slowing of the wind pattern) affecting cold weather in eastern North America.
Reporting Template

Linkages Paper - Journal of Climate

Arctic snow cover changes and their consequences
Copenhagen, Denmark - 16-17 October 2014
Workshop organized by INTERACT and IASC Terrestrial WG, Partners: All IASC WGs, Climate and Cryosphere (CliC), Association of Polar Early Career Scientists (APECS)

Contact: terry_callaghan(at)


Snow is a critically important and rapidly changing fundamental characteristic of the Arctic but it has too often been over-looked in major environmental assessments. Changing snow dynamics challenge the methodology of measuring snow on the ground and remotely and they make prediction very difficult. However, predictions are important because of the numerous impacts of changing snow. Consequently, an IASC-led workshop was held in Copenhagen to develop a road-map for future snow studies.

Over 30 international participants attended a two-day workshop and many relevant organisations were represented. Indigenous perspectives were included and four APECS members attended. Three main focal points for presentations were snow observing, modelling and impacts studies while breakout groups assessed priority research and monitoring areas and identified key areas for developing cross cutting activities.  
The output is to be published in a peer-reviewed, wide circulation journal. This paper focuses on determining the role of snow for Earth-system processes, the Arctic system, ecosystems, species, potential feedbacks and societies and establishes how snow can better be described to support interdisciplinary studies. A session on snow at ISAR-4, ICARP III was motivated by the participants and the various parts of the paper will be presented at the meeting in Toyama.
The hitherto rather neglected issue of changes in snow cover and its multiple consequences is being successfully elevated. In addition, INTERACT and other organisations will seek to implement key priorities for monitoring and research formulated at ICARP III.

Reporting Template

Integrating spatial and temporal scales in the changing Arctic System: towards future research priorities (ISTAS)
Plouzané, France - 21-24 October 2014
Workshop organized by IASC Network Arctic in Rapid Transition (ART), Partners: All IASC WGs, Association of Polar Early Career Scientists (APECS), Permafrost Young Researchers Network (PYRN)

Contact: nathalie.morata(at)


In October 2014, the Artic in Rapid Transition (ART) network organized the international science workshop “Integrating spatial and temporal scales in the changing Arctic System: towards future research priorities” (ISTAS) in Brest, France. This multidisciplinary workshop was held in cooperation with the Association of Polar Early Career Scientists (APECS and APECS France) and the European Institute for Marine Studies (IUEM, Brest, France) and aimed at discussing future research priorities of the Arctic from an early career scientists’ perspective. In total, 76 scientists from thirteen different countries participated in the workshop, 60% of them being early to mid-career researchers. In parallel and plenary sessions, the natural variability in the Arctic marine and coastal system was reviewed over various spatial and temporal scales in order to better understand the presently changing Arctic system as a whole. Invited plenary speakers provided overviews of their respective research topics, hereby presenting their newest findings and perspectives on future Arctic research priorities for biological and physical oceanography, sea ice, marine biodiversity, land-ocean interactions, paleo-reconstruction and biological archives, as well as law and economics. In addition, plenary presentations about Arctic sustainability and resources and a discussion about multidisciplinarity itself provided transdisciplinary linkages on the Arctic region, integrating natural with human sciences. During parallel sessions, participants presented the latest results of their ongoing research, which eventually fed into comprehensive discussions on future Arctic research priorities during the second half of the workshop. Results of the workshop have will now been summarized in the form of priority sheets and will be distributed at the 3rd International Conference on Arctic Research Planning (ICARP III) in Toyama, Japan in April 2015.
Reporting Template

Seasonal Ice Cover in the Arctic Ocean: changes and consequences
Woods Hole, USA - 20-21 October 2014
Workshop organized by IASC Marine WG, Partners: IASC Cryosphere and Atmosphere WGs

Contact: Bert.Rudels(at)


The workshop: ”Towards a seasonal ice covered Arctic ocean” was held in the Carriage House at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI as a spinoff of a previous IASC Marine Working Group (MWG) workshop: “Internal Mixing Processes in the Arctic Ocean” held before the FAMOS annual meeting in Woods Hole in October 2013.
The background for the workshop was the observed changes in the Arctic Ocean ice cover, which has drastically diminished during recent decades. The minimum ice extent in fall has decreased and the mean thickness has been reduced. Climate models also show that the arrival of a seasonal ice cover could occur by mid-century, perhaps earlier. Whether the present trend is irreversible or not, the fact remains that an almost ice free Arctic Ocean in summer is a real possibility in a not too distant future.
Four overarching themes were identified, and different aspects of these themes were introduced by selected speakers and followed by questions and discussions. The four themes were: (1) Processes in the Arctic Ocean, (2) Effects on biological processes and co system, (3) Connections with lower latitudes, (4) How to proceed
The primary goal was to stimulate discussions and in this respect the workshop was a success with discussions extended into coffee and lunch breaks. Some of the established contacts and discussions might well lead to future joint research efforts. However, only one immediate goal was specifically promoted – to submit abstracts and to participate in the ICARPIII conference in Toyama next year. The hope is also that the topics examined in the workshop could, by example, improve and guide future research and lead to better understanding of Arctic Ocean processes in the following ten years.
Reporting Template
Workshop Report

Greenland Ice Sheet / Ocean Interaction
Bremerhaven, Germany - 8-9 December 2014
Workshop organized by IASC Marine WG, Partners: IASC Cryosphere and Atmosphere WGs, Ice Sheet Mass Balance and Sea Level (ISMASS)

Contact: Ursula.Schauer(at)

Workshop Report

Planning for MOSAiC – the Multidisciplinary drifting Observatory for the Study of Arctic Climate
various locations - 2014/2015
Planning meetings organized by IASC Atmosphere WG, Partners: IASC Cryosphere and Marine WGs and various partner organizations

Contact: matthew.shupe(at)

Reporting Template

MOSAiC Science Plan

For more information please see:

Permafrost Research - A Roadmap for the Future
Consultation Process organized by the International Permafrost Association (IPA)
Partners: Climate and Cryosphere Project (CliC), Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR), United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), IASC Cryosphere WG

Contact: Hugues.lantuit(at)


As part of the ICARP III process, the International Permafrost Association (IPA) and the Climate and Cryosphere project (CliC) have launched the Permafrost Research Priorities (PRP) activity. The IPA and CliC, acknowledging that no consensus document exists at the international level to identify forward-looking priorities in permafrost research, decided to initiate a process by which such a document, focusing on permafrost research at large (i.e. including Arctic, Mountain, Antarctic and Sub-sea permafrost) would be published based on the engagement of the permafrost research community.

The aim of the PRP process, which follows the Sutherland method as did the SCAR Horizon Scan and other efforts, is to establish a concise set of ~15 - 20 key research priorities for the next ten years, as agreed upon by permafrost researchers, and with input from researchers in cog-nate scientific disciplines. The target audience of the exercise is three-fold:

• The research community
• Funding agencies
• Policy-makers

The PRP products will include a high level, but short benchmark publication that lists and puts into context research priorities for 2015 to 2025.

Reporting Template