Glaciers & Sea Level Collaboration Team

Improving the understanding of glaciers, ice caps and the Greenland Ice Sheet to resolve the forcings for and impacts of mass balance changes.

Scope of activities

The Glaciers and Sea Level Community of Practice was created under the Arctic Research Plan 2017-2021 to improve the understanding of glaciers, ice caps, and the Greenland Ice Sheet to resolve the forcings for and impacts of mass balance changes. It continues to meet and contribute to the goals and objectives of the Arctic Research Plan 2022-2026.


Team leaders

Joe MacGregor
(Website)

Kaitlin Harbeck
NASA Cryospheric Sciences Program (Website)

Zoe Courville
Cold Regions Research and Engineering Lab


Performance elements from the Arctic research plan

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

  • 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.

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

  • 2.3.2 Through conference sessions, scientific publications, and IARPC Collaborations meetings, highlight results from missions that contribute to long-term observations of land ice.
  • 2.3.3 Develop and assess ice sheet models for better prediction of sea level rise.
  • 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.

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 Glaciers and Sea Level Community of Practice:

  • Hosted meetings to provide updates on the Landsat-8, ICESat-2, Operation IceBridge, and NASA ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar mission.
  • Provided a platform for researchers from the Greenland Ice Sheet Monitoring Network, Oceans Melting Greenland mission, and U.S. Geological Survey Benchmark Glaciers Program and Ice2O Project to share information about observations and measurements documenting the variability of land ice.
  • Shared updates on investigator-driven studies of land ice process studies across the Arctic.
  • Made connections with international domain experts on ongoing Arctic cryospheric change.
  • Supported the development and assessment of ice sheet models.
  • Supported collaboration and information sharing on the fundamental development of boundary conditions datasets for understanding and projecting cryospheric change.

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