Workshop Overview

The Study of Environmental Arctic Change (SEARCH) facilitated the Arctic Futures 2050 Scenarios Workshop in Seattle, Washington from 20 – 22 April 2018. The workshop represented one part of SEARCH's ongoing effort to forge effective long-term collaborations between Arctic scientists and policy makers (

Working with scientists, Indigenous knowledge holders, and policy experts, the objectives of the workshop were to:

  • Survey expertise on the changing social and environmental conditions of the Arctic likely to impact policy decisions
  • Learn what scenario outcomes are most plausible and consistent from the data you have provided the research team
  • Outline research questions that would need to be answered to address policy responses to the plausible scenarios
  • Consider next steps to inform Arctic policy with science.

Scenarios Overview

Scenarios are stories of possible futures. Producing scenarios begins with experts providing multiple, contrasting, and alternative pictures of the future. Scenarios are used in business as a formal planning tool, and we all use them informally in preparing for a meeting or planning a trip where the exact outcome may vary. However, scenarios are not forecasts or predictions of what is to come, or of what we would like to happen. Instead, they help a person or community to simultaneously consider many different factors likely important in shaping the future.