NOAA to focus on Weather and Ice in the Arctic

As the next to follow suit and release a plan for Arctic activities, earlier this week the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) published their plan for the Arctic.

The plan focuses mainly on the missions of NOAA – weather, climate, and resource management. The full report is here:

The major sections and their areas of focus are also paraphrased below. The major areas outlined include:

Weather and sea ice forecasts – This section includes not only producing forecasts for researchers and mariners but also improving and updating methodology to use the best available science and modeling.

Sea ice research – Just what it sounds like – ice cores and samples as well as  real time data collection and model development to better understand Arctic sea ice patterns.

Foundational Science – both Ice-ocean ecosystem and Atmosphere-climate observations. These data contribute to general understanding and ecosystem management as well as forecasting.

Stewardship and Management – This section has a few parts, living marine resources, ecosystem and habitat research, as well as management and regulatory activities. Essentially these focus on better understanding and surveying fish populations and stocks as well as marine mammals and birds so that we can all better understand the impacts a changing Arctic is having on the various marine life. This research also informs policy decisions like fisheries quotas and operational permits for offshore activities.

Communities and economies –  Has two sections, Charting the Arctic and Hazard Assessment . Only about 11% of the Arctic is charted to current technology standards. As activity increases, accurate charts are needed for safe navigation and development. Likewise, as the Arctic becomes increasingly ice diminished, more opportunities for shipping and off shore exploration and resource extraction present themselves. This section is tasked with determining a plan for better charting and communication as well as compiling the best practices for hazard and spill clean up and improving those methods.

National Partnerships- The Arctic may be cold, but it is not empty. This focus is on the communities and people of the Arctic and how to align ecosystem conservation, climate change, and economic needs for sustainable communities.

International partnerships – section combines inter-governmental cooperation with the US chairmanship of the Arctic Council. The Arctic is an international ocean and requires partnerships in order to protect and study its changes.