Geoscientist celebrates "win-win agreement" in the Arctic
Pact is an important step to understand effects of climate change on sea ice
The new international Agreement on Enhancing International Arctic Scientific Cooperation, which went into effect May 22, focuses on facilitating access to research areas, research infrastructure and facilities and data.
"This agreement is extremely important to foster scientific collaboration among all Arctic nations, as we are witnessing the rapid transition of the entire Arctic system due to climate change", says Julie Brigham-Grette, professor and department head of geosciences. "The massive loss of summer sea ice and the reality of ice-free Arctic summers perhaps only 10 years from now [are] an international game changer."
As chair of the Polar Research Board (PRB) of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, Brigham-Grette said that administrative challenges have stymied scientists in conducting shared research on land and sea, but she called the agreement "really wonderful" and "a win-win agreement for everyone who signs on." The United States, Russia, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden are current signatories.
In 2010, Brigham-Grette chaired a PRB workshop on U.S. scientific access to the Russian Artic, helping a number of federal agencies and U.S. researchers identify barriers that were considered in negotiating this new agreement.