Committee for the Workshop on Frontiers in Understanding Climate Change and Polar Ecosystems

Polar Research Board

Division of Earth and Life Studies



Washington, D.C.

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine
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FRONTIERS IN UNDERSTANDING CLIMATE CHANGE AND POLAR ECOSYSTEMS R E P O RT O F A W O R K S H O P Committee for the Workshop on Frontiers in Understanding Climate Change and Polar Ecosystems Polar Research Board Division of Earth and Life Studies

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THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS 500 Fifth Street, N.W. Washington, DC 20001 NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Gov- erning Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engi- neering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance. This study was supported by the National Science Foundation under contract number ARC-0813667, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration under contract number NA10OAR4310198, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration under contract number NNX08AB15G. Any opinions, find- ings, and conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the sponsoring agency or any of its subagencies. International Standard Book Number-13: 978-0-309-21087-4 International Standard Book Number-10: 0-309-21087-9 Additional copies of this report are available from the National Academies Press, 500 Fifth Street, N.W., Lockbox 285, Washington, DC 20055; (800) 624-6242 or (202) 334-3313 (in the Washington metropolitan area); Internet, Copyright 2011 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America.

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The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal govern- ment on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone is president of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its mem- bers, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advis- ing the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. Charles M. Vest is president of the National Academy of Engineering. The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Harvey V. Fineberg is president of the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy’s purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in pro- viding services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone and Dr. Charles M. Vest are chair and vice chair, respectively, of the National Research Council.

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COMMITTEE FOR THE WORKSHOP ON FRONTIERS IN uNDERSTANDINg CLIMATE CHANgE AND POLAR ECOSySTEMS jACquELINE M. gREbMEIER (Co-chair), University of Maryland, Solomons jOHN C. PRISCu (Co-chair), Montana State University, Bozeman ROSANNE D’ARRIgO, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Palisades, New York HugH W. DuCKLOW, Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole, Massachusetts CRAIg FLEENER, Alaska Department of Fish and Game, Anchorage KAREN E. FREy, Clark University, Worcester, Massachusetts CHERyL ROSA, U.S. Arctic Research Commission, Anchorage, Alaska NRC Staff MARTHA McCONNELL, Study Director LAuRIE gELLER, Senior Program Officer LAuREN bROWN, Research Associate AMANDA PuRCELL, Senior Program Assistant SHELLy FREELAND, Senior Program Assistant v

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POLAR RESEARCH bOARD jAMES W. C. WHITE (Chair), University of Colorado, Boulder juLIE bRIgHAM-gRETTE, University of Massachusetts, Amherst DAVID bROMWICH, Ohio State University, Columbus CHRISTOPHER j. R. gARRETT, University of Victoria, Canada SVEN D. HAAKANSON, Alutiiq Museum, Kodiak, Alaska AMy LAuREN LOVECRAFT, University of Alaska, Fairbanks MOLLy MCCAMMON, Alaska Ocean Observing System, Anchorage ELLEN MOSLEy-THOMPSON, Ohio State University, Columbus jOHN PRISCu, Montana State University, Bozeman CARyN REA, ConocoPhillips, Anchorage, Alaska VLADIMIR ROMANOVSKy, University of Alaska, Fairbanks jAMES SWIFT, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, La Jolla, California ALLAN T. WEATHERWAX, Siena College, Loudonville, New York Ex-Officio Members: jACquELINE M. gREbMEIER, University of Maryland, Solomons MAHLON C. KENNICuTT II, Texas A&M University, College Station TERRy WILSON, Ohio State University, Columbus NRC Staff CHRIS ELFRINg, Board Director LAuRIE gELLER, Senior Program Officer EDWARD DuNLEA, Senior Program Officer LAuREN bROWN, Research Associate AMANDA PuRCELL, Senior Program Assistant vi

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Acknowledgments T his report has been reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by the National Research Council’s (NRC’s) Report Review Committee. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the institution in making its published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evi- dence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process. We wish to thank the following individuals for their review of this report: Eddy C. Carmack, University of British Columbia Jody W. Deming, University of Washington Glenn Juday, University of Alaska, Fairbanks Gary Kofinas, University of Alaska, Fairbanks Caryn Rea, ConocoPhillips Sharon E. Stammerjohn, University of California, Santa Cruz Although the reviewers listed above have provided constructive com- ments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the views of the workshop participants, nor did they see the final draft of the report before its release. The review of this report was overseen by A. David McGuire, vii

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viii ACKNOWLEDGMENTS University of Alaska, Fairbanks. Appointed by the NRC, he was responsi- ble for making certain that an independent examination of this report was carried out in accordance with institutional procedures and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content of this report rests entirely with the authoring panel and the institution.

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Contents SUMMARY 1 1 INTRODUCTION 5 Workshop Themes, 9 Plenary Presentations: Recent Insights in Polar Ecosystem Science, 13 2 FRONTIER QUESTIONS IN CLIMATE CHANGE AND POLAR ECOSYSTEMS 25 Will a Rapidly Shrinking Cryosphere Tip Polar Ecosystems into New States?, 26 What Are the Key Polar Ecosystem Processes That Will Be the “First Responders” to Climate Forcing?, 29 What Are the Bi-Directional Gateways and Feedbacks Between the Poles and the Global Climate System?, 32 How Is Climate Change Altering Biodiversity in Polar Regions and What Will Be the Regional and Global Impacts? 34 How Will Increases in Human Activities Intensify Ecosystem Impacts in the Polar Regions?, 36 3 METHODS AND TECHNOLOGIES TO ADDRESS THE FRONTIER QUESTIONS 39 Emerging Technologies, 39 Sustained Long-Term Observations, 42 ix

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x CONTENTS Data Synthesis and Management, 45 Science-to-Society Interface: Data Dissemination and Outreach, 46 4 FINAL THOUGHTS 47 REFERENCES 49 APPENDIXES A Workshop Agenda & Statement of Task 57 B Plenary Abstracts 61 C Participants 71 D Biographical Sketches of Committee Members 73