Thursday, March 30, 2006
Communicating climate and ecosystem change for the Arctic
There is a recent explosion of interest in changes in the Arctic, their impacts, and potential connection to mid-latitude climate. Sea ice and tundra-dominated arctic ecosystems are being reorganized into warmer sub-arctic ecosystems. Over the previous two years we have developed an arctic change detection website which provides a continuous update to the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment (ACIA) Report, released in November 2004. Principles include (1) an accessible narrative style, (2) scientifically credible and objective information, and (3) balancing having too many indicators, which leads to information overload, with having too few, which does not capture the complexity of the system. The site provides sufficient information for an individual to make their own assessment regarding the balance of the evidence for tracking change. The site currently averages about 14,000 hits an day and is a major information source as determined by Google search. In spring 2005 we presented a near real-time ecological and climatic surveillance website for the Bering Sea. This site is more technical than the arctic change detection site and provides support to the North Pacific Fisheries Management Council and other interested parties. The site anticipates multiple uses by providing access and analysis tools for a set of Bering Sea indicator time series.
Jim Overland is Division Leader for the Coastal and Arctic Research Division of the Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory at NOAA, an Affiliate Professor in the Department of Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Washington, and a Senior Fellow at the Joint Institute for the Study of the Atmosphere and Ocean,