Synergizing Interagency and International Arctic Research: The IASC-IARPC Meeting Report

February 19, 2016
By Jessica Rohde

The U.S. representatives to IASC and IARPC Team Leaders met last December to develop synergies between the IASC working groups and IARPC collaboration teams. Larry Hinzman, U.S. representative to IASC, opened the meeting with a broad overview of the International Arctic Science Committee. For 25 years, IASC has maintained a forum for international dialogue about research in the Arctic, and now includes 23 member nations. Larry urged the IASC and IARPC meeting attendees to form a synergistic relationship: IASC serving as the international arm for IARPC, and IARPC representing U.S. federal research interests in the Arctic to the international science community.

Simon Stephenson, former Executive Director of IARPC, then reviewed the IARPC 5-year Plan Update process that several meeting attendees had been focused on for the previous day and a half during the IARPC workshop. IARPC seeks to broaden participation and include many views as while developing the next 5-year plan. Simon also stressed that IASC has brought an international perspective to IARPC, but there exists opportunity to strengthen collaboration. There will be several opportunities for international input on the next 5-year plan (e.g. the federal register process). Simon invited the IASC representatives to suggest new methods and models for developing and integrated plan as IARPC re-envisions collaboration.

Systematic Improvements to Reanalyses in The Arctic (SIRTA) -- Charles Webb

Both the IARPC Collaboration Teams and the Arctic Executive Steering Committee (AESC) gap analysis have highlighted the urgency of improved forecasts: Reanalyses merge observations and physics through models to describe past weather and climate. Charles Webb covered the need for IARPC’s new working group, Systematic Improvements to Reanalyses in The Arctic (SIRTA), the actions it recommends and tasks it will take on.

IASC Cryosphere Working Group Presentation -- Walt Meier

Walt Meier reported on the Forum on Arctic Modeling and Observational Synthesis (FAMOS) 4th Meeting in Hyannis, MA, 3-6 November 2015, whose main purpose was to coordinate Arctic Ocean modeling experiments nationally and internationally. Walt also introduced the IASC Cross-Cutting Snow Project, which aims to facilitate a network to enhance interactions between researchers on snow related questions in the Arctic.

IASC Terrestrial Working Group Presentation -- Skip Walker

Skip Walker updated the group on Rapid Arctic Transitions due to Infrastructure and Climate (RATIC), a cross-cutting initiative between IASC Terrestrial, Cryosphere, and Social & Human Working Groups. This forum develops best practices for assessing and managing the cumulative effects of climate change on infrastructure, including flooding, erosion, and thermokarst.

IASC Social and Human Sciences Working Group Presentation -- Andrey Petrov 

Andrey Petrov summarized Social and Human Sciences Working Group sponsored and supported activities in 2015, including ICARP III contributions, the workshop on the future of Arctic sustainability science, Arctic Human Development Report II, Arctic Social Indicators Report II, as well as various meetings and conferences. Andrey also highlighted the activities of the Circumpolar Arctic Coastal Communities Observatory Network (CACCON) research network. 

Mike Kuperberg, interim Executive Director of IARPC, concluded the meeting with a call to continue the current forum and exchange of information between IARPC and IASC members. He pointed out that all the IASC members present are also IARPC members, and invited IASC to solicit input from IARPC to take to working group and international meetings, and for IARPC to incorporate the input of IASC into the work of the Collaboration Teams.

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