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Community Workshops for Synthesis Studies of the Pan-Arctic/Earth System


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Type of project
Project theme
Education & Outreach
Project topic
Education & Outreach

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Science / project summary

The Arctic is an integral part of the Earth system where multiple interactions unite its natural and social domains. The Arctic's significance derives from growing evidence that it is experiencing rapid and amplified signatures of global climate change and that the region could itself be a critical throttle on planetary dynamics. Ongoing assessments of how the Arctic system is wired-together and how sensitive its environment is to change remain highly uncertain. We have entered an era when environmental management must confront regional, whole biome, and pan-Arctic challenges. Consequently, the science and policy issues surrounding Arctic system change are highly intertwined, interdisciplinary and constitute a quintessential synthesis challenge. Understanding this challenge requires the development of a collaborative research framework that can not only improve our understanding of the Arctic system, but also promote interdisciplinary science on Arctic coupled systems, connect science with policy, educate the next generation of students and make Arctic research relevant to the public. This award will support an effort to begin that process. The goals of this award are to design an Arctic Synthesis Collaboratory concept through a formal, community-based planning exercise, which will use a series of four workshops to identify tractable core science questions that contribute to systems-level Arctic research. The workshops will also assess linkages to ongoing activities within the Arctic research community, explore the readiness of modeling, data and observatory assets, and identify opportunities to apply systems-level thinking in the policy-formulation realm and in other educational activities. Discussion would also focus on the appropriate structure and function for such a collaboratory partnership. These four workshops will bring together members of different Arctic disciplinary research constituencies and provide input to a strategic report that will serve as a potential roadmap for a community-designed Arctic systems synthesis research agenda and supporting collaboratory. Ultimately this should advance the approach taken by the research community and help align research efforts with societal needs.