To address the emerging challenges identified within the IPY, a new and novel framework for long-term cooperation between the stakeholders with mandate and interest in the Polar Regions, entitled “International Polar Initiative” (IPI), has been proposed. An International Steering Group is currently developing the concept for this long-term initiative. Based on the input from various international organizations and communities, the Steering Group is aiming at designing a common implementation plan for the development of observing systems, research, services, related education and outreach, and practical applications of scientific knowledge in the Polar Regions.
Climate Change and the Cryosphere: Snow, Water, Ice and Permafrost in the Arctic (SWIPA) brings together Arctic scientists to compile and evaluate information from Arctic monitoring networks and recent international research activities. The project aims to better understand the recent changes to the cryosphere and their human impacts and implications for the ecosystem.
SWIPA was approved by the Arctic Council in April 2008 as a follow-up to the 2005 Arctic Climate Impact Assessment (ACIA). The project is coordinated by the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme (AMAP) in cooperation with IASC, the World Climate Research Programme/Climate and Cryosphere Project (WCRP/CliC), the International Polar Year International Programme Office (IPY IPO) and the International Arctic Social Sciences Association (IASSA).
Sustaining Arctic Observing Networks (SAON) is a process to support and strengthen the development of multinational engagement for sustained and coordinated pan-Arctic observing and data sharing systems. The systems serve societal needs and are related to environmental, social, economic and cultural issued.
The SAON vision is that users should have access to free, open and high quality data. The eventual goal is to enhance Arctic-wide observing activities by facilitating partnerships and synergies among existing 'building blocks', and promoting the exchange and synthesis of data and information. SAON engages a broad community including governments and operational agencies, scientists, indigenous peoples and northern residents, other stakeholders and the general public.
SAON was initiated by the Arctic Council in 2007. IASC in one of the main partners in the project.
The International Study of Arctic Change (ISAC) is a long-term, multidisciplinary program to study the effects of environmental changes on the circumpolar Arctic system and the globe. The study was initiated by IASC and the Arctic Ocean Science Board in 2003. The main objective is to observe and understand the characteristics of the entire Arctic System including the social domain and its responses to change in order to develop the best adaptation and mitigation strategies to counteract negative effects due to greenhouse warming and other anthropogenic activities, as well as to changes caused by natural variability affecting the region.
ISAC's International Program Office provides existing national arctic change programs with a venue for the development of seamless international collaboration and sharing of resources and common ground for consolidating arctic environmental change research efforts including partnering in efforts to sustain these at higher levels. The office also establishes connections among ISAC partners to programs with a global perspective and which function to integrate regional data and models into global earth systems models.
The coast is a key interface in the Arctic environment. It is a locus of human activity, a rich band of biodiversity, critical habitat, and high productivity, and among the most dynamic components of the circumpolar landscape. The Arctic coastal interface is a sensitive and important zone of interaction between land and sea, a region that provides essential ecosystem services and supports indigenous human lifestyles; a zone of expanding infrastructure investment and growing security concerns; and an area in which climate warming is expected to trigger landscape instability, rapid responses to change, and increased hazard exposure.
Starting with a collaborative workshop in October 2007, the International Arctic Science Committee (IASC), the Land-Ocean Interactions in the Coastal Zone (LOICZ) Project and the International Permafrost Association (IPA) decided to jointly initiate an assessment of the state of the Arctic coast. The goal of this report is to draw on initial findings regarding climate change and human dimensions for the Arctic as a whole provided by the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment (ACIA) and Arctic Human Development Report (AHDR) to develop a comprehensive picture of status and current and anticipated change in the most sensitive Arctic coastal areas. The report “State of the Arctic Coast 2010: Scientific Review and Outlook” is aimed to be a first step towards a continuously updated coastal assessment and to identify key issues seeking future scientific concern in an international Earth system research agenda.
The International Polar Year was a large scientific program focused on the Arctic and the Antarctic from March 2007 to March 2009. The IPY, organized through the International Council for Science (ICSU) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), was the fourth polar year, following those in 1882-3, 1932-3, and 1957-8. IASC was an ex officio representative on the IPY Joint Committee. The initiative involved over 200 projects, with thousands of scientists from over 60 nations examining a wide range of physical, biological and social research topics. It was an unprecedented opportunity to demonstrate, follow, and get involved with, cutting edge science in real-time.