Arctic Climate Impact Assessment and Its Implications for Environmental Policy

Sunday, February 19, 2017: 1:00 PM-2:30 PM
Room 202 (Hynes Convention Center)
Robert Corell, Global Environment and Technology Foundation, Key Biscayne, FL
Overview:The Arctic Climate Impact Assessment (ACIA) played a significant role in facilitating a dialogue between scientists, policy-makers, residents, and the many stakeholders of the Arctic region in addressing the impacts of climate change on the Arctic. As one of the regions of Earth that is changing most rapidly due to climate change and a region that has great sensitivity to the environment, informed scientific assessment is critical to anticipating and responding to future changes. The ACIA assessment represents the first effort to comprehensively examine climate change and its impacts in the Arctic region. As such, it represents the beginning of a process. The assessment brought together the findings of hundreds of scientists from around the world whose research focuses on the Arctic. It also included the insights of Indigenous Peoples who have developed deep understandings through their long history of living and gathering knowledge in this region. Linking these scientific and indigenous perspectives is still in its early stages, and clearly has potential to improve understanding of climate change and its impacts. A great deal has been learned from the ACIA process and interactions, though much remains to be studied and better understood.

A Set of follow-on assessments to the ACIA continues: These assessments focus on reducing uncertainties, filling gaps in knowledge identified during the assessment, and more explicitly including issues that interact with climate change and its impacts. The Arctic Council has established three major research and assessments to follow on the ACIA. The first is an assessment of Snow, Water, Ice and Permafrost in the Arctic: Climate Change and the Cryosphere ( The second is an Arctic Resilience Assessment (, which seeks to better understand the integrated impacts of change in the Arctic, including analyses of the potential for shocks and large shifts in ecosystems services that affect human well-being in the Arctic. Third is an assessment and extended study of Adaptation Actions for a Changing Arctic, which is designed to produce information to assist local decision-makers and stakeholders in three pilot regions in developing adaptation tools and strategies to better deal with climate change and other pertinent environmental stressors.