Goal 1. Observe, Understand, and Predict Arctic Environmental Change


Climate change and increasing global demand for natural resources are transforming the Arctic, raising geopolitical awareness. Greater knowledge and comprehension of anthropogenic impacts on the environment, including rates of change, will inform decision making. Ideally, this will maximize the region’s strategic value and economic potential while minimizing risks to ecosystems and society. Further, given the far reach of environmental connectivity, understanding the rapid changes observed in the Arctic will provide insight into the rest of the world.


  • Understand how increasing ocean acidification will affect marine life, food webs, and fisheries.
  • Study the impacts of climate change on the periodic life-cycle events of plants and animals (phenology).
  • Advance an Arctic Observing Network from a concept to an integrated, fully operational activity that provides critical information and derivative products for scientific research, as well as operational intelligence and decision support.
  • Improve observations and modeling of changes in Arctic Ocean circulation, sea ice extent and thickness, and increased freshwater from melting land ice.
  • Project the effects of a changing Arctic climate on ecosystems in sea ice, the upper ocean, and the seafloor.
  • Anticipate abrupt impacts from climate change as well as long-term trends.
  • Integrate scientific knowledge into discussions and
    formulation of public policy.