While climate is changing globally at a significant pace, the pace is considerably greater in the Arctic Ocean region, due to a number of positive feedback mechanisms associated with changes in snow and ice cover. However, the future rate of change is uncertain, e.g. due to potential negative feedback from changes in aerosol production, water vapor fluxes, and cloud formation. There are also myriad unknowns with regard to the impact of permafrost thawing, methane hydrate losses, and other potential positive feedback. The impact of changes to the Arctic Ocean biosphere (e.g. ice algae, macrophytes, etc) on emissions of organic compounds that impact aerosol and cloud cover, and impacts on the Arctic biosphere by changes in insolation and nutrient inputs raises an array of questions about the coupled ocean/ice/atmosphere system in polar regions, and our ability to predict the future state of polar regions and the impact on and coupling to lower latitudes. While there are vibrant scientific communities in the oceanography, sea ice, and atmospheric science communities, these communities do not interact and couple to a degree that is consistent with the existing analogous couplings between the natural system components. While the OASIS community (www.oasishome.net) set out to do this, it has largely only energized and organized the part of the atmospheric community that is inclined to connect to the surface and the Oceans. There remains a compelling need to successfully create a truly integrated scientific effort aimed at understanding the connections and feedback between these system components in polar regions, in the context of climate change. We propose an international workshop that would aim to achieve such a working community, and define the scientific priorities for the next ~10 years.
The Workshop would address both broad-based science and infrastructure questions, such as:
1. How will sea ice cover impact atmospheric composition and physical properties?
2. How will changes in sea ice cover and atmospheric conditions impact ocean productivity and biological composition, and what are the likely important feedbacks?
3. How does changing ocean biology impact atmospheric composition and properties, e.g. cloud cover?
4. How (e.g. from what platforms, or from what sites/locations) do we best pursue these questions? What laboratory infrastructure/services are needed?
5. What do we need to know about polar environmental processes to better inform Earth System Models?
We intend to invite ~12 people from each of the three communities, i.e. atmospheric science, polar oceanography, and sea ice communities, so it will be vibrant and highly interdisciplinary group, talking about the grand challenge problem of climate change in polar environments and feedbacks to the rest of the planet. We are aiming for ~40 people.