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Advancing US Participation in the International Synoptic Arctic Survey


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

Project details

Science / project summary

This project supports an international workshop to be held at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, USA in May 2019 to continue planning the international Synoptic Arctic Survey (SAS) program. Through a series of coordinated international research cruises anticipated for the summers of 2020 and 2021, in different regions of the Arctic Ocean, SAS will provide important baseline information about the Arctic ocean ecosystem, carbon system, and physical environment necessary to understand and predict the impacts of ongoing environmental change on the Arctic. This workshop will plan coordinated field sampling, international data sharing, education including graduate student participation, post field-season data synthesis, public outreach, and involvement of indigenous communities. The workshop will sponsor the participation of a group of early career scientists. US scientists are key participants in the planning of the SAS and will lead this workshop, promoting US leadership in Arctic science. The SAS will engage the general public in Arctic research, increase science literacy and will include multiple audiences (early career, educators, under-represented groups) in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) research and careers. The outcomes of the SAS field effort will provide baseline understanding of the Arctic system that can be used by national and international policy makers to effectively plan and manage human activities in the Arctic, such as transportation, resource development, and, potentially, commercial fishing. Understanding of the Arctic Ocean ecosystem and carbon system, their dependencies on physical drivers, and their interactions with neighboring shelves and ocean regions remains inadequate to project how environmental change may modify these systems on a Pan-Arctic scale. The Synoptic Arctic Survey (SAS) is an international program envisioned to mount a coordinated, multi-nation, field-based effort on a Pan Arctic scale quasi-synoptically over one-two summers to achieve the baseline understanding of the fundamental structure and function of the linked carbon-ecosystem-physical systems that will permit detection of ongoing and future changes. The SAS is focused on a single overarching question, "What are the present state and major ongoing transformations of the Arctic marine system?". The field effort would provide the parameters needed to project future trajectories of change both conceptually and through coupled physical-chemical-biological modeling. It is envisioned that the effort, or parts of the effort, would be continued on decadal scales to detect change. This grant provides resources to host an international, open-to-all 2-day planning workshop and a follow on 1-day planning and writing workshop for the US SAS Scientific Steering Committee to be held in Woods Hole, MA in May 2019. The overall goals of the workshop include promoting interest and participation in the SAS from US and international scientists (especially early career scientists), designing a concrete international implementation that expands on the present international Science and Implementation Plan, discuss the planned years of deployment, and engage interested US and international program managers. For the US only, further goals include codifying and writing a US Implementation Plan and identifying a strategy for activities and proposals that would lead to US participation in the SAS. The planned outcomes and products of the workshop include a workshop report, a draft management plan, a blueprint/plan for nurturing the next generation of scientists, and a US implementation plan. Funding to support the participation of early career scientists would be provided both by this grant and by grants from International Arctic Science Committee Working Groups.