Integrating Arctic Research – a Roadmap for the Future

Special thanks to Volker Rachold of IASC for contributing this article to the CliC website and newsletter.

The third International Conference on Arctic Research Planning (ICARP III) is a process to

  • identify Arctic science priorities for the next decade;
  • to coordinate various Arctic research agendas;
  • to inform policy makers, people who live in or near the Arctic and the global community;
  • and to build constructive relationships between producers and users of knowledge.

The scientific, political and economic interest in the Arctic is rapidly growing and the increasing number of Arctic and Polar research programs requires a better coordination in order to ensure the best value for funds spent. Thus, agreeing on shared objectives, across all eight Arctic states and with other countries and international programs is becoming increasingly important. Consequently, the International Arctic Science Committee (IASC) initiated the planning of a third ICARP, to be held in conjunctions with its 25th anniversary in 2015, and invited all interested partner organizations to participate in shaping the future of Arctic research needs. ICARP III is governed by a Steering Committee established by the participating organizations.

Beginning with a formal launch at the Arctic Science Summit Week (ASSW) 2014 in Finland and culminating in a final conference at the ASSW 2015 in Japan, the ICARP III program includes a series of activities, meetings and events during 2014-2015 (see below list of cryosphere related activities).

CliC ICARP III Contributions

Arctic Freshwater Synthesis
Permafrost Research – A Roadmap for the Future
Linkages between Arctic Climate Change and Mid-latitude Weather Extremes
Arctic Snow Cover Changes and their Consequences
Permafrost Young Researchers Workshop
Where Are They Now?
ICARP III FrostBytes


Outcomes and Products

The primary outcome of ICARP III will be an inventory of reports and recommendations of the various ICARP III activities. Each ICARP III activity will report back to the ICARP III Steering Group and based on a reporting template, the Steering Group will extract the key messages and findings of the individual activities and compile a consensus statement identifying the most important Arctic research needs for the next decade.

This overarching ICARP III statement, having the endorsement of all ICARP III partner organizations, will be presented at the main ICARP III conference held during the ASSW 2015 in Japan.

The ICARP III outcome will also be linked to the conclusions of the forward-looking Horizon Scan conducted by the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR) and it will include contributions to the development of the International Polar Partnership Initiative (IPPI).


The audience of ICARP III includes the international Arctic scientific community (both individual scientists and scientific organizations), funding agencies supporting Arctic research, Arctic policy makers and residents all of which will benefit from a broadly agreed document identifying the priorities for forward-looking, collaborative, interdisciplinary Arctic research and observing and providing a roadmap for research priorities and partnerships. A communication strategy, considering SCAR´s experience with disseminating the outcome of the Horizon Scan, will be developed by the ICARP III Steering Group.

See the IASC Fall 2014 Newsletter for more information on ICARP III plans.


Cryosphere Related ICARP III Activities


  • Permafrost Dynamics and Indigenous Land Use (IASC SHWG, IPA) April 2014
  • Circumpolar Arctic Coastal Communities Observatory Network (CACCON) (IASC ACD, LOICZ, IASSA) April 2014
  • Permafrost Young Researchers Workshop (PYRN, APECS, IPA, IASC, CliC) June 2014
  • Quantifying Albedo Feedbacks and Their Role in the Mass Balance of the Arctic Terrestrial Cryosphere – September 2014 (IASC CWG)
  • Linkage between Arctic Climate Change and Mid-latitude Weather Extremes (IASC AWG, MWG, TWG and CWG, CliC, APECS) September 2014
  • Arctic Snow Cover Changes and their Consequences (INTERACT, IASC TWG, CliC, APECS) October 2014
  • Integrating Spatial and Temporal Scales in the Changing Arctic System: Towards Future Research Priorities (ISTAS) (IASC ART, APECS, PYRN) October 2014
  • Rapid Arctic Transitions due to Infrastructure and Climate Change (RATIC) (IASC TWG and SHWG) December 2014
  • Seasonal Ice Cover in the Arctic Ocean: Changes and Consequences (IASC MWG, CWG and AWG) Fall 2014
  • Greenland Ice Sheet / Ocean Interaction (IASC MWG, CWG and AWG, ISMASS) February 2015
  • Goals of ICARP III – the Future of Arctic Research from the ECS’ Point of View (APECS, PYRN, IASC) May 2015

Syntheses /Assessments

  • Arctic Freshwater Synthesis (CliC, IASC AFS, AMAP)
  • Geology of the Arctic – A new Synthesis (IASC AGG)

Consultation and Planning Processes

  • Planning for MOSAiC – the Multidisciplinary Drifting Observatory for the Study of Arctic Climate (IASC AWG and various partners)
  • Permafrost Research – A Roadmap for the Future (IPA, CliC, SCAR, UNEP, IASC)
  • APECS – CliC – Where are they now? (APECS, CliC, IASC)
  • ICARP III FrostBytes – Soundbytes of Cool Research (APECS, CliC, IASC)