Preparing for a Northwest Passage, a Workshop on the Role of New England in Navigating the New Arctic
The rapid warming of the Arctic and melting of Arctic sea and land ice has ramifications around the globe. Shipping routes through an ice-free Arctic in combination with modifications to ocean circulation and regional climate patterns linked to Arctic ice melt affect trade, transportation, coastal ecology and hydrology, human-built infrastructure, demographics and cultural identities, fish and wildlife, energy resources, and air and water quality—not only in the Arctic but also in mid-latitude coastal regions such as New England. With profound changes on the horizon, now is a critical time to prepare for uncertain yet inevitable economic and environmental impacts of Arctic change on the eastern coast of North America.
The main goal of this project has been to assess the socio-economic and environmental links between Arctic change and New England, identifying transformational convergence research initiatives to anticipate, prepare for, and adapt to future impacts and opportunities. This initiative began with a workshop in 2018 to assess the socio-economic and environmental links between Arctic change and New England, identifying transformational convergence research initiatives to anticipate, prepare for, and adapt to future impacts and opportunities. Participants subsequently founded the New England Arctic Network (NEAN), a group dedicated to open collaboration and information-sharing through seminars, newsletters, workshops, working groups, and social media. By expanding research, scholarship, and training opportunities beyond individual institutions, NEAN strives to attract diverse and innovative leadership to promote the resilience of communities both within the Arctic and globally. The network is open to all who are interested in Arctic change, and participation is encouraged through the website (nearctic.net).
Preparing for a Northwest Passage: A Workshop on the Role of New England in Navigating the New Arctic. This workshop, hosted by the University of New Hampshire in March 2018, gathered expertise and talent from academic and external partners throughout New England involved in Arctic research. Discussions focused on the role of New England researchers in combining tools, techniques, and ways of thinking from diverse fields into convergent problem-solving, including mechanisms for integrating scientific discourse with policy agendas and ongoing public dialogue.
Charting the Course for a New England Arctic Network. Based on recommendations from the March 2018 workshop, a follow-up event in October 2018 developed the foundation and vision for a New England Arctic Network (NEAN).
Preparing for a Northwest Passage, a Workshop on the Role of New England in Navigating the New Arctic, hosted by the University of New Hampshire on March 25-27, 2018, gathered expertise and talent from across the region to assess the socio-economic and environmental links between Arctic change and New England. Shipping routes through an ice-free Northwest Passage in combination with modifications to ocean circulation and regional climate patterns linked to Arctic ice melt are affecting trade, transportation, fisheries, coastal ecology, human-built infrastructure, demographics, and cultural identities both in the Arctic and at lower latitudes. The goal of the workshop was to identify research initiatives where disciplines can converge to anticipate, prepare for, and adapt to future impacts and opportunities. Workshop participants concluded that a regional, multi-institutional network based in New England could uniquely address links between Arctic change and the North Atlantic Arctic region. A follow-up event on October 3, 2018 developed the framework for a New England Arctic Network to guide collaborative efforts in research, education, and stakeholder engagement.
These workshops initiated a broad discussion on how to coordinate and expand resources to study the impacts of Arctic change on the eastern coast of North America, especially regions of the North Atlantic, New England, and Gulf of Maine. Workshop participants recognized that the significance of New England as the eastern gateway to the Arctic will continue to grow as the Davis Strait and Northwest Passage become ice free, shipping activity and offshore drilling increases along the coasts of Newfoundland and Labrador, and the impacts of Arctic change are felt along US coastlines. In order to predict future scenarios and respond to the changing North Atlantic Arctic, participants place a high-priority on filling in gaps of biogeophysical and socioeconomic data from New England to Baffin Bay. In addition, it is clear that scientific investigations of the Arctic must be driven by societal concerns and include the participation of local communities. Finally, training the next generation of Arctic researchers requires a convergence of disciplines, providing both field experiences in the Arctic as well as the broad literacy necessary to address societal and ethical issues associated with Arctic change.
The website nearctic.net presents detailed reports from both workshops as well as information on how to become involved with the New England Arctic Network. These resources present a framework for collaboration and identify numerous specific and compelling topics for interdisciplinary research and scholarship linking Arctic change to the eastern coast of North America.