SEARCH at AGU 2019

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SEARCH Town Hall

Advancing and Sharing Arctic Research: Study of Environmental Arctic Change (SEARCH) Town Hall

Date/Time: Friday, 13 December | 12:30-13:30pm
Locations: Moscone West - 2003, L2
Contact: Brendan P. Kelly, University of Alaska Fairbanks
Description: Understanding the causes and consequences of environmental change in the most rapidly warming region of the globe—the Arctic—is vital for effective scientific and societal responses. In this town hall, the Study of Environmental Arctic Change (SEARCH) seeks best practices and ideas to further improve how we share knowledge of the Arctic with policy makers.

40 participants attended the Town Hall.

SEARCH has had a long history of supporting and enhancing Arctic science, and in the past 5 years we have focused on facilitating cross-disciplinary syntheses and conveying what we know to policy makers and other decision makers. SEARCH facilitated syntheses that improved understanding of:

  • greenhouse gas fluxes from thawing permafrost
  • ice sheet contributions to sea level rise
  • the consequences of diminishing sea ice
  • the relationship of Arctic change to weather at lower latitudes

SEARCH has shared our understanding of Arctic change with the media and policy makers at all levels of government. Novel collaborations with Indigenous Peoples and policy makers have made scientific understanding more accessible to policy makers through press events, knowledge exchange workshops, succinct written answers to policy questions, Congressional briefings, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change meetings, and convenings of Arctic Science Ministers.

In September 2019, SEARCH hosted a major conference that brought together Arctic scientists, Indigenous Peoples, and policy makers to collaboratively determine how to better inform policy with knowledge. This town hall will also explore how we can best advance those novel collaborations.

Sessions Convened by SEARCH Affiliates

Vulnerability of Permafrost Carbon to Climate Change

Session: B23M Poster Session III
Date/Time: Tuesday, 10 December 2019 | 13:40 – 18:00
Location: Moscone Center Poster Hall
Session: B43E Oral Session I
Date/Time: Thursday, 12 December 2019 | 13:40 – 15:40
Location: Moscone West; 3001, L3
Session: B44E Oral Session II
Date/Time: Thursday, 12 December 2019 | 16:00 – 18:00
Location: Moscone West; 3001, L3
Description: Permafrost carbon (C) remains one of the most important C cycle feedbacks to climate, with implications for global society. Permafrost region soils contain 1440-1600 billion tons of C; release of just a fraction of this pool as carbon dioxide and methane can accelerate climate change. Permafrost degradation can change ecosystem C storage by enhancing microbial activity and ecosystem respiration, but can also stimulate plant growth and increase C stored in vegetation and surface soil. This session invites papers that examine factors causing losses and gains in permafrost C that contribute to current observations and future projections of changing permafrost C through time. Papers may address any aspect of this topic from microbial communities to the global scale, using a range of field or laboratory measurements or modeling to detect and forecast permafrost thaw and the influence on the C cycle and future climate.
Conveners: Christina Schaedel, Elaine Pegoraro, & Hanbo Yun

Voices from the Front Lines of a Changing Bering Sea

Session: TH45K - Town Hall
Date/Time: Thursday, 12 December 2019 | 18:15 – 19:15
Location: Moscone West - 2004, L2
Description: The Bering Sea is undergoing rapid change. Sea ice cover in the winters of 2018 and 2019 were the lowest recorded since satellite monitoring began in 1978. In January and February of 2019, the region experienced at least 15 storm systems that brought unprecedented shoreline flooding to coastal communities and southerly winds, which further reduced winter sea ice extent. Environmental change is having profound impacts on the species and people around the Bering Sea who have been a part of the ecosystem since time immemorial. These changes compound many other impacts that communities are already experiencing due to climate change, including early migrations of species like walrus, which lead to lost opportunity for hunters, welts and sores found on harvested ice seals, and coastal erosion near critical community infrastructure. This session will bring some of these first-hand observations from Indigenous peoples that live in communities around the Bering Sea. The intent is to connect Inupiat, Yup'ik, and Aleut knowledge holders and first observers with researchers and policy makers to ensure an important step toward adequate planning for adaptation that considers a holistic view that protects food security.
Primary Contact Raychelle Daniel
Presenters: Lauren Divine, Matthew Druckenmiller, Julie Raymond-Yakoubian

SEARCH Affiliated Presentations & Posters

A14C-04 - The Emergence of a New Arctic (Invited)

Session: A14C - Atmospheric Sciences: From the Past into the Future IV | Oral Presentation
Date/Time: Monday, 9 December 2019 | 17:30 – 18:00
Location: Moscone West - 3012, L3
Abstract: The Arctic is a frozen, remote, and inaccessible place. The region has sparked the imagination and lured scientists and explorers, sometimes with disastrous consequences. Scientists have long understood that the Arctic plays an important role in the Earth’s climate and is home to positive climate feedbacks that amplify the response to changing forcing. These positive feedbacks also contribute to large internal variability which can complicate the detection of an anthropogenic fingerprint of change. Nevertheless, in response to rising greenhouse gases during the last century, the Arctic is melting. This change is present across the system, including rapid warming, sea ice loss in all months, and transformation of the landscape. A new Arctic is emerging. Here we provide a perspective on the changes underway across the system and what we expect for the future. We discuss how climate model ensembles combined with observational insights have enabled discoveries on the interplay between internal variability and anthropogenic forcing, allowing us to better understand factors influencing observed change, to better quantify the uncertainty in future projections, and to better characterize the emergence of the new Arctic. We also discuss how the rapid transformation of the Arctic reverberates throughout the global system, including impacts on ecosystems and societies, and that to fully understand these will require enhanced multidisciplinary collaboration and new research tools.
Author: Marika Holland

C44A-03 - Bridging the Crevasse Between Science and Policy: Thoughts on Shaping our Shared Future

Session: C44A - The Next 100 Years of Cryosphere 1 | Oral Presentation
Date/Time: Thursday, 12 December 2019 | 16:30 – 16:45
Location: Moscone South - 201-202, L2
Abstract: The last century began with the Arctic and Antarctic as settings for heroism, romance, and tragedy as humanity sought to challenge Earth’s extreme frontiers. In 2019, however, with society grappling with regional security and environmental stewardship challenges in the polar regions, the intergovernmental Arctic Council failed to agree on scientific priorities for the first time. The path for cryospheric science over the next 100 years will likely require its science community to continue making discoveries and engaging in evidence-based research while constructively communicating with policymakers to facilitate a secure and humane existence for all people. Moving forward, the cryosphere community will need to constructively address how to incorporate co-produced knowledge with evolved institutional reward structures (e.g., one that recognizes community and policy engagement) and a potentially shifting worldview.
Author: Gifford J. Wong

PA54C-17 - Connecting scientists and stakeholders around land ice loss and sea level rise: Lessons from a multi-year effort

Session: PA54C - Science to Action: Transformative Partnerships to Advance Decision-Relevant Science | eLightning Presentation
Date/Time: Friday, 13 December 2019 | 16:00 – 18:00
Location: Moscone South - eLightning Theater II
View The Poster Here
Abstract: Land ice loss is the top contributor to current sea level rise, and unknowns in the processes that will drive future ice loss are the primary source for the wide spread in sea level rise projections and their regional variability. Local sea level rise in the U.S. and other mid- and low-latitude countries also depends on the source location of ice loss around the globe (e.g., from Greenland versus Antarctica). Because changes in sea level are critical for decision-making at the local to state to national level, improving connections between scientists studying ice loss and sea level rise and the stakeholders tasked with planning for sea level rise is critical to ensuring that clear and timely information is shared in usable formats, and that iterative communications between groups is informing science research design and decision-making. Over the last ~5 years, the Study of Environmental Arctic Change (SEARCH) Land Ice Action Team (LIAT) has endeavored to create and strengthen scientist-stakeholder connections around land ice loss and sea level rise. Efforts have included writing short briefs on the state of scientific knowledge (called Arctic Answers), engaging with members of the United States Congress and their staff, attending and presenting at the National Adaptation Forum, writing science synthesis papers, and creating a LIAT group that includes scientists and boundary organization representatives. Through these efforts, we have increased our knowledge on best practices and clarified challenges to building and solidifying scientist-stakeholder relationships. In sharing this knowledge, we hope to support activities that link scientists and decision makers to increase success and efficiency to bring science to action.
Author: Twila Moon

Other SEARCH Affiliated Events

9th Annual Meeting of the Permafrost Carbon Network

Permafrost Carbon Network Logo
Date/Time: Sunday, 8 December 2018 | 8:00 -17:00
Location: Parc 55 Hotel, 55 Cyril Magnin Street - San Francisco, CA 94102
Description: The annual meeting of the Permafrost Carbon Network will take place on Sunday, 8 December 2019 in San Francisco, CA prior to the Fall 2019 American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting. Bringing together the international community of permafrost researchers, the program for the day will feature a series of presentations and speed talks to introduce break-out topics. Meeting participants will then have the opportunity to split into smaller break-out groups to discuss the Permafrost Carbon Network’s ongoing and new synthesis products. The meeting is open to all members of the scientific community with an interest in permafrost research synthesis. A draft agenda for the event can be found here.

For more information about this event please contact Christina Schädel at 928-523-9588 or christina.schaedel [at]