Austfonna ice cap in Svalbard Photo: ©Andrea Taurisano, Austfonna 200The Science Themes and specific research questions outlined below generally contribute to the following overarching research needs that have been identified in various planning meetings over the past few years.

They are:
1. Improved understanding and quantification of the role of the cryosphere in the global climate system, its variability and change.
2. Improved utilization of cryospheric observations as indicators of global and regional climate change.
3. Improved understanding of the physical, chemical and other processes that govern behaviour of the cryosphere, and the representation of these processes in Earth System Models.
4. Improved ability to make quantitative predictions and projections of the cryosphere in a changing climate.