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Arctic Featured Content

This page contains relevant content from U.S. government agencies and other sources that can help users understand how climate variability and/or global climate change is impacting and/or may impact different Arctic systems.

General Resources

  • Alaska Climate Science Center: The Alaska Climate Science Center provides scientific information, tools, and methods for managing land, water, wildlife, and cultural resources in Alaska in the face of a changing climate. The Alaska Climate Science Center maintains a repository of information and resources that it has developed.
  • Arctic Data Integration Portal: This portal integrates various types of Arctic data from sensor feeds, operational oceanographic and atmospheric models, satellite observations, and GIS datasets describing the biological and physical characteristics of the Arctic region.
  • Arctic Observing Network: Toward a U.S. Contribution to Pan-Arctic Observing: This 2007 document calls for the development of an “Arctic Observing Network” to understand the causes and consequences of Arctic change. It lays out a summary of ongoing and planned future U.S. Federal Arctic-observing activities, along with a strategy for enhanced coordination and integration of these activities.
  • NSF Arctic Data Center: The National Science Foundation (NSF) Arctic Data Center maintains an archive of Arctic data collected from NSF-funded projects. It was established in 2016 to continue the efforts of the Advanced Cooperative Arctic Data and Information Service (ACADIS).
  • Arctic Portal – Arctic Data Interface (ADI): ADI gathers the best existing research documents, data, and metadata from a number of data centers, institutions, and web servers. It standardizes the datasets and feeds them into a modern, permanent system for metadata and data access, visualization, and presentation, facilitating the conversion of data and information into knowledge. The ADI enables users to add, crosscut, and compare datasets from economic, business, social, and political sectors.
  • National Climate Assessment (NCA) – Alaska Chapter: The NCA summarizes the impacts of climate change on the United States, now and in the future. This chapter focuses on the Alaskan region.
  • National Snow & Ice Data Center (NSIDC): NSIDC supports scientific research and scientific data stewardship, education, and outreach programs that are critical to understanding Earth’s frozen regions and their role in global climate.
  • International Arctic Research Center (IARC) data portal: IARC, part of the University of Alaska Fairbanks, serves as a focal point of excellence for international collaboration and provides the Arctic research community with an unprecedented opportunity to share knowledge about science in the Arctic, with an emphasis on global climate-change research.
  • The Arctic Report Card: The Arctic Report Card is an online, peer-reviewed publication released annually (December) that provides information on the state of various components/variables of the Arctic environmental system (e.g., air temperature, sea ice, sea-surface temperature, ocean primary production, Greenland ice sheet, tundra greenness, etc).
  • The State of the Climate Report – Arctic Chapter: The State of the Climate Report is a peer-reviewed publication that appears annually (July/August) in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society (BAMS). The Arctic chapter in the State of the Climate Report derives from the Arctic Report Card. The primary difference is that the Arctic Chapter describes only physical variables, whereas the Arctic Report Card describes both physical and biological variables.

Arctic Ocean, Sea Ice, and Coasts

  • Alaska Ocean Observing System (AOOS): A compilation of Arctic resources relevant to a diverse group of users, including fishermen, search-and-rescue operations, resource managers, and educators.
  • Arctic Sea Ice News & Analysis, National Snow and Ice Data Center: Contains scientific analysis on Arctic sea ice conditions. This site is updated during the first week of each month, or more frequently as conditions warrant.
  • Bering Strait: Pacific Gateway to the Arctic: Moorings have been deployed in the Bering Strait for 20+ years to measure fluxes of heat, nutrients, total water mass, freshwater mass and sea ice into the Chukchi Sea and onward into the Canada Basin.
  • Historical Sea Ice Atlas: You can simultaneously view multiple sources of historical sea ice data from the oceans surrounding northern Alaska. Choose a region and time of interest and inspect a map of data collected between the mid-1800s and today, to discover how ice extent and concentration have changed over time.
  • NASA Operation IceBridge: The NASA IceBridge Mission was an effort to capture detailed airborne observations of Earth’s polar ice during the gap in coverage between the ICESat and ICESat-2 missions.
  • NSIDC Sea Ice Index Daily and Monthly Image Viewer: NASA’s National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) monthly Sea Ice Index provides a quick look at Arctic-wide changes in sea ice. It has been a source for consistently processed ice extent and concentration images and data values since 1979. Monthly images show sea ice extent with an outline of the 30-year (1981-2010) median extent for that month, as well as sea ice concentration and anomalies and trends in concentration.
  • Sea Ice Outlook (SIO): SIO is an international effort to provide a community-wide summary of the expected September Arctic sea ice minimum. SIO is organized by the Sea Ice Prediction Network, an interagency project supported by the Department of Energy (DOE), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), National Science Foundation (NSF), and Office of Naval Research (ONR). Monthly SIO reports released throughout the summer synthesize community estimates of the current state and expected minimum of sea ice at both the pan-Arctic and regional scale. The intent of the Sea Ice Outlook effort is not to issue predictions, but rather to summarize all available data and observations in order to provide the scientific community, stakeholders, and the public with the best available information on the evolution of Arctic sea ice.
  • Sea State and Boundary Layer Physics:] The Sea State and Boundary Layer Physics Department Research Institute (DRI) is a five-year (2013-2017) Office of Naval Research project with five objectives: (1) Develop a sea-state climatology for the Arctic Ocean; (2) improve wave forecasting in the presence of sea ice; (3) improve theory of wave attenuation/scattering in sea-ice cover; (4) improve physics of wave-ice interactions in integrated Arctic system models; and (5) understand heat and mass fluxes in the air-sea-ice system.

Melting Glaciers, Snow, and Ice

  • Snow Telemetry (SNOTEL) and Snow Course Data and Products: The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) installs, operates, and maintains an extensive, automated system, SNOTEL (short for Snow Telemetry), which is designed to collect snowpack and related climatic data in the Western United States and Alaska.
  • The World Glacier Inventory (WGI): WGI contains information—including parameters such as geographic location, area, length, orientation, elevation, and classification—for over 130,000 glaciers. The WGI is based primarily on aerial photographs and maps, with most glaciers having one data entry only; hence, the dataset can be viewed as a snapshot of the glacier distribution in the second half of the 20th century.

Arctic Weather and Extreme Events

  • US/International Arctic Buoy Program: This program deploys buoys from ships and aircraft to measure ice drift and some meteorological properties, such as air temperature and barometric pressure. Funded by the U.S. Navy, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), National Science Foundation (NSF), and Office of Naval Research (ONR), and coordinated by the University of Washington/Applied Physics Laboratory, the U.S. Buoy program is the United States’ contribution to an international effort.

Arctic Development and Transport

  • Arctic ERMA: As Arctic sea ice continues to contract and thin, energy exploration and transportation activities will increase in the region, escalating the risk of oil spills and accidents. ERMA is a web-based GIS tool that assists both emergency responders and environmental resource managers in dealing with incidents that may harm the environment by bringing together all of the available information needed for an effective emergency response in the Arctic’s distinctive conditions. This includes information on characteristics such as the extent and concentration of sea ice, locations of ports and pipelines, and locations of vulnerable environmental resources.

Arctic Peoples and Ecosystems

  • Arctic Germplasm (GRIN database): The USDA National Plant Germplasm System contains more than 600,000 active accessions for national food and agricultural resources . Accessions are described in the GRIN (Germplasm Resource Information Network) database. Germplasm accessions are available to support research and education objectives.
  • Exchange for Local Observations and Knowledge of the Arctic (ELOKA): Over the last decade, Arctic residents and indigenous peoples have been increasingly involved in, and taking control of, research. Through local and traditional knowledge (LTK) research and community-based monitoring, Arctic communities have made, and continue to make, significant contributions to understanding recent environmental change. ELOKA facilitates the collection, preservation, exchange, and use of local observations and knowledge of the Arctic.
  • Sea Ice for Walrus Outlook: The Sea Ice for Walrus Outlook is a resource for Alaska Native subsistence hunters, coastal communities, and others interested in sea ice and walrus. The SIWO provides weekly reports from April through June that contain information on sea-ice conditions relevant to walruses in the Northern Bering Sea and southern Chukchi Sea regions of Alaska.

Arctic Global Teleconnections

  • Coastal Change Hazards Portal: Melting glaciers in the Arctic will pose a greater threat of sea-level rise to other parts of the Nation. Through the Coastal Change Hazards Portal, the USGS provides web-based access to coastal-hazard information and products that can assist those working to protect resources, identify risks, and help prevent economic losses along the Nation’s shorelines.
  • Permafrost Carbon Network: It is estimated that there is twice as much soil carbon stored in the soils and permafrost of high latitude ecosystems as carbon currently contained in the atmosphere. In a warmer world, permafrost thawing and decomposition of previously frozen organic carbon is one of the more likely positive feedbacks from terrestrial ecosystems to the atmosphere. The primary objective of this network is to synthesize and link existing research about permafrost carbon and climate in a format that can be assimilated by biospheric and climate models.

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