85th AMS Annual Meeting

Tuesday, 11 January 2005: 8:45 AM
NOAA’s potential contributions to the International Polar Year (Invited Presentation)
Richard D. Rosen, NOAA, Silver Springs, Maryland; and J. Calder
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) supports the concept of the IPY and expects to play a leading role in its implementation, both nationally and internationally. We believe the IPY is an ideal opportunity to advance observations of the polar region, in support of the National Committee’s first recommendation to “initiate sustained effort to assess environmental change and variability”. NOAA has polar observational needs to support each of its four strategic goals, as well as responsibility for archiving and long-term stewardship of the data, and its application to societal needs. To improve the prospects for application of observational data in the Arctic, NOAA supports the concept of an Arctic System Reanalysis that would include development of high-resolution models of the Arctic atmosphere, ocean and sea ice with a data assimilation scheme. Anticipation of future environmental change and potential impacts will require such a capability.

With regard to observations, we want to stress that the IPY is an ideal time for advancing observations of sea ice, polar oceans and seas, biological variables, and for vigorous efforts to provide atmospheric and surface data as ground-truth for satellites. Establishing a baseline to assess future change, both physical and biological, could be a lasting legacy of the IPY

As a contribution to the U.S. National Committee recommendation calling for “study of coupled human-natural systems”, NOAA suggests that an effort to improve decision-support systems in the Arctic be a focus for the IPY. Recent changes and model projections, if realized, will require significant adaptive response by Arctic residents, and new management approaches for species that are or may become exploited on endangered.

An emphasis on biological observations to detect climate impacts and identify new management approaches requires an initial exploratory survey in under-studied regions such as the polar regions. NOAA advocates that ocean exploration be a significant IPY activity, in support of the Committee recommendation to “explore new frontiers”. Likewise, increased effort on polar influences on impacts of “space weather” during the IPY could extend our knowledge of the space frontier and pay benefits in protecting people and infrastructure.

NOAA has evaluated its participation in IPY along three lines: 1) what is NOAA already doing that would contribute to the IPY; 2) what current activities could be modified to better meet IPY objectives; and 3) what new activities might NOAA consider for the IPY period and beyond. The final presentation will elaborate on these activities.

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