9.1 Enhance multi-agency participation in new and existing activities to improve best practices, coordination, and synthesis of Arctic observations toward a fully integrated interagency "U.S. Arctic Observing Network" (U.S. AON).

U.S. Arctic observational systems have advanced considerably in their coordination since the International Polar Year and many efforts can be considered regional or thematic building blocks toward a U.S. AON. Sustaining support for and enhancing multi-agency participation in these activities is vital, as is fostering the formation of new efforts. Further, there remains considerable work to forge connections across these typically disciplinary efforts toward a system of observations. In addition to coordinating Federal agency efforts, the U.S. AON will foster coordination with collaborators in the State of Alaska, community-based observing networks, and collaborate with international agencies and organizations to develop a pan-Arctic picture of change. To advance a U.S. AON, evolving these existing capabilities and advancing the utilization of next generation technologies is a multi-agency effort. Interagency collaboration can leverage sparse observing assets and propel the development of the next generation observing system. For example, in the past five years, technology development has surged. Gliders and floats that can measure horizontal and vertical properties of the ocean as well as conduct sea floor mapping have advanced to a level where they can be effectively deployed in the ice-covered Arctic basin. Autonomous surface vehicles and unmanned aircraft are now capable of long duration, autonomous missions, which can make millions of measurements of atmospheric and water properties, including pollutants, in previously inaccessible areas. When combined with fixed observational platforms, such as moorings, atmospheric monitoring facilities, and community-based observers, these systems can form the foundation of an integrated pan-Arctic observing network.

Performance elements from the Arctic research plan

  • 9.1.1 Coordinate U.S. agency and outside collaborators support for and participation in the international Sustaining Arctic Observing Networks (SAON) process.
  • 9.1.2 Work with the research community and other stakeholders to develop the concept of multi-agency research coordination networks to advance observational science and promote broad synthesis within thematic research communities.

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