Thursday, January 21, 2016

NASA ABoVE Hosts Second Science Team Meeting in Anchorage

Members of the NASA-sponsored Arctic-Boreal Vulnerability Experiment (ABoVE) travelled this week to Anchorage, Alaska to host the second of its Science Team meetings. ABoVE ( is a large-scale study of environmental change and its implications for social-ecological systems. It selected 21 projects last fall with a diversity of field, remote sensing, and modeling studies slated to begin this year in Alaska and western Canada.

NGEE Arctic is a core project in the ABoVE field campaign. Last November, at their first Science Team meeting in Minnesota, there was great interaction among the project participants. Working groups were formed to ensure integration across the various projects. NGEE Arctic is contributing to several working groups including the Hydrology and Permafrost Working Group led by John Kimball. We are currently in the process of developing an implementation plan that describes how the various field activities will be coordinated to achieve goals of the ABoVE project. This involves discussions of field sites, measurements to be taken, modeling activities, and data sets and derived-products to be developed. The NGEE Arctic project is quite interested in helping to define the airborne remote sensing needs of ABoVE as our project needs these products in order to effectively implement our scaling strategy for global climate models.

While the meeting in Minnesota was to coordinate PIs funded through ABoVE, the Science Team meeting in Anchorage is designed to bring together the many stakeholders in Alaska and Canada who share a common interest in climate change, ecosystem services, resource management, and interactions between social and ecological systems. We have heard a number of excellent presentations in the last two days, mostly from representatives of state and federal agencies, and native organizations. It has been helpful to learn about all the relevant research being conducted throughout the Arctic-boreal region, and to consider how those data-rich resources, including traditional knowledge, can be brought to bear on topics of interest to ABoVE. Presentations from native communities have been especially interesting as they bring a unique perspective to the topic of climate change given their close association with the environment.

Our plan in the NGEE Arctic project is to continue our interaction with NASA and share information derived from our studies on the North Slope and Seward Peninsula with others on the ABoVE Science Team. Our sponsors at the Department of Energy, Biological and Environmental Research (BER) program are highly supportive of this inter-agency collaboration. We share many goals and objectives with ABoVE, and it is clear that we have the opportunity to develop strong and complementary interactions in the coming years.