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>  News Releases >   2007 >   March

Dartmouth to host Arctic Science Summit Week

Dartmouth College Office of Public Affairs • Press Release
Posted 03/08/07
Genevieve Haas • (603) 646-3661

Scientists, policymakers and tribal leaders to focus on climate change, inaugurate U.S. involvement in International Polar Year

Between March 14 and 20, more than 200 scientists, engineers, policy makers and representatives of native peoples will convene on the Dartmouth campus for the Arctic Science Summit Week (ASSW), a rare chance for international coordination between science, governance and social policy with the shared goal of better understanding and protecting the Arctic. Features of the summit will include opening remarks by Dr. Arden L. Bement, Director of the National Science Foundation, and the release of a summary of policy goals for Arctic research by the U.S. Arctic Research Commission. The Commission is the principal government body responsible for establishing national policy, priorities, and goals necessary to construct a federal program plan for basic and applied scientific research with respect to the Arctic.

Ice in the Bering Sea
Satellite image of ice flow in the Bering Strait (Photo courtesy of NASA)

The summit of influential Arctic organizations is scheduled to fall at the start of International Polar Year (IPY) 2007-2008 which opened March 1. IPY is an intense, global campaign of coordinated polar observations and analysis with special relevance to understanding climate change and its consequences. The Dartmouth meeting is an inaugural event for the U.S. and its international involvement in IPY. The seven-day summit will provide opportunities for international coordination, collaboration and cooperation in all areas of Arctic science and to combine science and management meetings. The ASSW will offer insight into Arctic research undertaken by the U.S. and its connections to the international polar community. Side meetings organized by other groups with interests in Arctic science and policy will take place at the same time.

"ASSW has a special relevance now, in light of the recently-issued Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report," said summit organizer Ross Virginia, Director of the Institute of Arctic Studies within Dartmouth's John Sloan Dickey Center for International Understanding. "Based on the findings of the [UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change], there can be no doubt that climate change is here, it's real, and the scientists and policymakers who are convening for ASSW are very relevant to both the science that has gone into the IPCC and the solutions that will take us forward."

Dickey Center director and former U.S. Ambassador Kenneth Yalowitz added, "The Dickey Center emphasizes finding interdisciplinary solutions to pressing issues of global scale. The March 14 panel addressing the policy challenges of a changing Arctic builds upon the work of the Dickey Center and Dartmouth to promote collaborative solutions by governments, the academy, and native peoples to human dimension policy issues associated with global climate change." The panel, " The Human Dimension: Policy Challenges of a Changing Arctic" will focus on exploring the international community's preparedness to deal with the environmental, political, economic, security, health and social aspects of climate change in the north.

Other features of the program include the March 14 symposium, "Technology for Innovative Observation" to address innovations in techniques and technologies that will further polar research and the observation of global change. March 15 has been designated as Science Day emphasizing the New International Science Partnerships forged by IPY and featuring talks by leading scientists on the state of the Arctic and its future. The following day will be Project Day, during which the participants will address the legacy of IPY and the development of sustainable funding and partnerships for polar research. On the concluding day of the summit, titled Common Day, working groups will be given the chance to present the outcomes of the planning meetings, and coordinate upcoming actions between the various groups. Throughout the summit, the Hood Museum of Art will display "On Thin Ice," an exhibition exploring the impact of climate change on Inuit traditions and livelihoods.

On the final day of the summit, the ASSW organizing committee plans to release a summary on the findings and conclusions reached by the participants.

For a more details about the summit program, visit the Web site and for details on IPY, visit the IPY Web site.

The summit is co-hosted by the Dickey Center for International Understanding and its Institute of Arctic Studies along with the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center's Cold Regions Research and Engineering Lab (CRREL). The ASSW organizations include: the International Arctic Sciences Committee, the Arctic Ocean Sciences Board, the European Polar Board, the Pacific Arctic Group and the Forum of Arctic Research Operators. Other participants include the US Polar Research Board, University of the Arctic, Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Program, and national representatives of the IPY.

Dartmouth has television (satellite uplink) and radio (ISDN) studios available for domestic and international live and taped interviews. For more information, call 603-646-3661 or see our Radio, Television capability webpage.

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