Atmosphere Collaboration Team

Advancing process and understanding of the changing composition and dynamics and the resulting changes to surface energy budgets.

Scope of activities

The Atmosphere Community of Practice was created under the Arctic Research Plan 2017-2021 to advance process and system understanding of the changing Arctic atmospheric composition and dynamics, as well as the resulting changes to surface energy budgets. It continues to meet and contribute to the goals and objectives of the Arctic Research Plan 2022-2026.


Team leaders

Barry Lefer
Tropospheric Composition Program, Earth Science Division, NASA

Gijs de Boer
CIRES (Website)

Colene Haffke
Arctic Natural Sciences, Office of Polar Programs


Performance elements from the Arctic research plan

1.1 Support the health of Arctic residents through research on public health needs, disparities, and delivery.

  • 1.1.3 Continue research on air quality and human health. This will include an evaluation of outdoor air quality and health outcomes in Alaskan communities and a Federally-funded, local-partner-conducted evaluation of interventions to improve indoor air quality and decrease respiratory symptoms in children. Research will be shared and summarized in webinars, publications, and reports.

2.1 Advance understanding of Arctic amplification and the associated connections with lower latitudes.

  • 2.1.1 Provide funding opportunities for investigator-driven modeling and observational studies that focus on the following aspects of Arctic Amplification: (1) ice-albedo feedback; (2) impacts of atmospheric and oceanic circulation on Arctic Amplification; and (3) transport of heat, moisture, and pollutants between Arctic and lower latitudes. Share knowledge and synthesize results arising from these studies.
  • 2.1.2 Hold workshops and webinars and produce publications to encourage interagency research coordination on Arctic Amplification.
  • 2.1.4 Advance understanding of the role of atmospheric rivers in Arctic Amplification with a specific task of hosting a conference session in 2023 or 2024.
  • 2.1.6 Quantify the contributions of surface properties, clouds, aerosol particles, and precipitation to the Arctic summer surface radiation budget and sea ice melt during the early melt seasons.

2.2 Observe, understand, predict, and project Arctic ecosystem change and its impacts on humans and the entire Earth system.

  • 2.2.1 Advance capacity to better understand, quantify, and predict methane emissions from permafrost changes in the Arctic through international collaborations.
  • 2.2.2 Carry out and synthesize research and monitoring needed to improve understanding of important Arctic ecosystem processes and feedbacks. This will include responses to environmental changes, such as the associated impacts on wildlife and human communities and infrastructure. This work will include conference sessions and scientific publications.

2.3 Understand interactions between social, ecological, and physical Arctic systems, particularly in the context of coastal, climate, and cryospheric change.

  • 2.3.7 Improve high-resolution models’ ability to capture coastal processes at the interface of ocean, land, and atmosphere by supporting targeted collaborations among model developers, users, and decision-makers. Products will include an interagency scientific peer-reviewed publication and conference sessions that address these models.

4.1 Summarize currently available data and information requirements associated with hazard and risk mitigation, adaptation, and response efforts. Synthesize community-led activities and information to identify potential needs for future efforts.

  • 4.1.1 Conduct a study to create an asset map of existing infrastructure as a baseline for understanding how to equip a community to be resilient to climate impacts. Facilitate sharing resources about and mitigation techniques for known threats to infrastructure impacted by climate change.
  • 4.1.2 Share findings of deliverable 4.1.1 as a means (1) to spur additional research and science communication aimed at addressing unmet needs for planning, prevention, response, and recovery and (2) to inform time-sensitive decision-making and planning processes.

4.2 Update and improve the “Statewide Threat Assessment: Identification of Threats from Erosion, Flooding, and Thawing Permafrost in Remote Alaska Communities.”

  • 4.2.1 Undertake a study to identify the top 10 threats/hazards to communities and critical remote state and Federal government infrastructure in the state of Alaska that should be included in the Statewide Threat Assessment. This might include coastal and river erosion, flooding, thawing permafrost, and changes in the seasonal snowpack.
  • 4.2.2 Upon completion of 4.2.1, establish a data collection and collation plan to include mechanisms to collect threat/hazard data that may not be readily available.
  • 4.2.3 Collect and integrate disparate threat/hazard information and perform modeling and analysis to understand where natural and human-made threats and hazards pose a risk to Arctic communities.

DATA 1 Encourage and implement FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Reusable) and CARE (Collective benefit, Authority to control, Responsibility, and Ethics) data management principles in the Arctic.

  • DATA 1.1 Identify verified points of contact (e.g., agency champions, data practitioners, Arctic residents, Indigenous organizations) and their areas of expertise and interests for working with the data team on exploring and implementing FAIR and CARE in Arctic data management. As part of developing the points of contact, identify and track representation across many axes of diversity (demographics, disciplines/sectors, IARPC experience, career stage, and others) to ensure a diverse and representative group of contributors. The data team will check in with these groups regularly to ensure the points of contact are up to date.
  • DATA 1.3 Based on input from engagement activities, develop and update centralized documentation of thematic areas of interest, ongoing activities, and key documents and resources that can inform deliverables and future Biennial Implementation Plans.
  • DATA 1.4 Convene quarterly seminars, discussions, and training on FAIR and CARE data management in the Arctic. Ensure a diverse group of presenters and contributors are represented in these activities.

MOMP 1 Coordinate activities and communities of practice that bring together Arctic modeling, observing, monitoring, and prediction to advance Arctic research.

  • MOMP 1.1 Develop synthesis products, best-estimate datasets, model simulations, and model intercomparison studies from major Arctic field campaigns and long-term observational sites to advance the integration of observational and modeling studies and process-based assessment of model simulations.

PRILR 1 Fulfill Federal requirement to consult with Federally recognized Tribes and Alaska Native Corporations.

  • PRILR 1.1 Create a best practices document on meaningful consultation and engagement on Arctic research with Alaska Indigenous communities that is applicable to all Federal agencies.
  • PRILR 1.2 Evaluate the Principles for Conducting Research in the Arctic 2018, and update as needed based on the evaluation.
  • PRILR 1.3 Develop and deliver training for agencies to implement the Principles for Conducting Research in the Arctic.

PRILR 2 Engage Arctic communities and individuals in research in a way that is meaningful to them.

  • PRILR 2.1 Create a training toolkit for scientists that can be self-guided and used as needed. Topics may include cross-cultural communication, consultation, participatory research, Indigenous Knowledge, overview of Indigenous culture groups, formal agreements, and how to contract and consult with Indigenous companies and individuals.
  • PRILR 2.2 Create a report of examples where IARPC member agencies have engaged Indigenous Knowledge holders in research.
  • PRILR 2.3 Request that each Priority Area Collaboration Team host regular meetings that meaningfully engage with Indigenous leaders, groups, and/or communities. This includes developing a list of contacts to support requests for engagement or tracking engagement with Indigenous participation.
  • PRILR 2.4 Analyze and develop a report on broader impacts of science/research teams on Indigenous health and resilience.
  • PRILR 2.5 Hold interagency meetings/workshops to identify mechanisms for Federal agencies to effectively communicate science plans and findings among themselves and with communities.

PRILR 3 Develop guidance for agencies to consistently apply participatory research and Indigenous leadership in research.

  • PRILR 3.1 Co-define “Indigenous leadership in research” with Tribes, Indigenous organizations, and Federal agencies; and integrate into the Principles for Conducting Research in the Arctic and its training toolkit and best practices documents.
  • PRILR 3.2 Hold interagency meetings/workshops to identify methods to streamline contracting/agreements and compensation processes to make co-stewardship and co-production in research more equitable and achievable.
  • PRILR 3.3 Convene discussions to identify mechanisms to foster equitable pathways for Indigenous leadership in research.
  • PRILR 3.4 Identify best practices for Federal agencies to support capacity for Tribes and Indigenous Knowledge holders in research. Distribute guidance on best practices to IARPC agencies.
  • PRILR 3.5 Ensure consistent terminology for Indigenous Traditional Ecological Knowledge, Indigenous Knowledge, Traditional Ecological Knowledge, and Local Knowledge for IARPC. Suggest primary language for IARPC be Indigenous Knowledge.

Accomplishments

Under the 2017-2021 Arctic Research Plan, the Atmosphere Community of Practice:

  • Supported planning, preparation, and implementation for the Multi-disciplinary drifting Observatory for the Study of Arctic Climate (MOSAiC).
  • Brought together the atmospheric and cryospheric communities around surface radiative and heat flux information, and held meetings on unified data products, data sharing, and interagency cooperation.
  • Supported discussions about surface-based Arctic observatories and the data products stemming from these observatories.
  • Supported discussions on aircraft missions and results.
  • Brought the atmospheric composition and radiation community to share information about the distribution of atmospheric gases, aerosol, and clouds using Arctic in situ and remote sensing observations.
  • Collaborated with the Permafrost team and several other teams to examine the relationships between warming and soil carbon release in the Arctic.
  • Supported discussions related to multi-platform observations of Arctic cloud and aerosol properties.
  • Shared information on integrated observational and modeling studies of atmospheric processes and their relationship to land cover.
  • Advanced understanding on the impact of wildfires on the Arctic system.
  • Evaluated the performances of reanalyses in the Arctic with respect to their handling of clouds.

For a full summary of the Atmosphere Community of Practice’s accomplishments under the 2017-2021 Arctic Research Plan, see the 2021 Performance Element Summary Statements.