Scope of Activities
Research on risk exposure, sensitivity to hazards, and adaptive capacity are critical for ensuring safety and security in the Arctic. There is an immediate need for an Arctic research portfolio that builds community resilience and security with the fundamental purpose to provide for the well-being of all Arctic communities. It is imperative that the research portfolio is actionable and helps inform management and operational decisions. Risk management and hazard mitigation in the Arctic require a balanced research portfolio that provides actionable insights, services, and technology tools that protect communities at the local, state, and national level. Individual research disciplines will need to work in a multi-disciplinary fashion. Progress will be the result of fundamental and applied research, enhanced monitoring, sustained observations, and predictive modeling. Along with research, there must also be technology development and application. Development requires needs-driven efforts that look for scientific solutions to address foreseeable risk management and hazard mitigation in the near- and mid-term. Arctic communities and leaders responsible for infrastructure (e.g., villages, towns, cities, cultural resources, military installations, ports, air transportation, and pipelines) communicate the need for technologies and services based on their safety and security requirements. The below themes repeat across Federal government reports, state of Alaska-led climate change reports and implementation plans, community strategic management planning processes, the Alaska Legislature-led Alaska Arctic Policy Commission report, and the development of programs such as the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium Center for Environmentally Threatened Communities, and others.
Arctic risk management and hazard mitigation challenges are diverse. These include, but are not limited to, advancing knowledge related to chronic hazards (e.g., climate change and its impacts, ocean acidification, sea level rise, environmental degradation, and coastal erosion), acute and episodic events (e.g., earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions, landslides, wildfires, unusual mortality events, harmful algal blooms, shipwrecks, oil spills, and epidemics), and threats to holistic national security and all-domain awareness (e.g., communications fragility, cybersecurity, and response capability). The cross-cutting themes of resilience, hazard mitigation, threat reduction, and disaster response management are fundamental in reducing risk. To be successful, the combined research efforts across Federal agencies must address the entire spectrum of concerns from local environmental security to national security.
Hazards and risks cannot be effectively addressed by one entity alone. Resilience, hazard mitigation, and disaster management expertise are found across many Federal agencies and at many levels. This priority area seeks to manage and reduce risk by bringing researchers together with Arctic community members, planners, and leaders, Indigenous organizations, the state of Alaska, and emergency managers and service providers (operators and planners). By addressing this priority area over the next five years, the U.S. Arctic research community will have a better understanding of disaster risk exposure, hazard sensitivity, and adaptive capacity in the Arctic region to enhance existing and develop needed decision support products and services.