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International Arctic Science Committee

International Arctic Science Committee
Abbreviation IASC
Formation 1990; 28 years ago (1990)
Region served
Official language
Susan Barr[2]
Parent organization
International Council for Science (ICSU)
Website IASC Official website

The International Arctic Science Committee (IASC) is a non-governmental organization which is composed of international science groups participating in arctic science research. IASC is an International Scientific Associate of ICSU, and was established in 1990. IASC's main aim is to initiate, develop, and coordinate leading edge scientific activity in the Arctic region, and on the role of the Arctic in the Earth system. It also provides objective and independent scientific advice to the Arctic Council and other organizations on issues of science affecting the management of the Arctic region. The decision-making organs of IASC are the Council and the Executive Committee. The day-to-day operations are supported by its secretariat headed by the executive secretary. IASC's geographical remit covers the Arctic Ocean and the surrounding landmasses.[2]


Since the founding of IASC, the scientific, environmental, economic and political realities of the North have changed dramatically. New problems and challenges ask for new or improved scientific knowledge.[3] This increased need for knowledge of the arctic region has made international cooperation even more essential.[4] In this light IASC has established five Working Groups (WG) that will identify scientific priorities and initiate and stimulate cross-disciplinary initiatives. The Working Groups are ‘living’ groups that rise and fall according to the scientific need of the community. The five Working Groups are:[5]

  • Terrestrial WG
  • Cryosphere WG
  • Marine/AOSB WG
  • Atmosphere WG
  • Social and Human WG

Arctic Science Summit Week (ASSW) The ASSW is an initiative of IASC and organized in cooperation with the Pacific Arctic Group (PAG), the International Arctic Social Sciences Association (IASSA), the European Polar Board (EPB), Association of Polar Early Career Scientists (APECS), the Arctic Council Indigenous Peoples' Secretariat (IPS), and the Forum of Arctic Research Operators (FARO). The purpose of the summit is to provide opportunities for coordination, collaboration and cooperation in all areas of arctic science, and to combine science and management meetings to save on travel and time. The ASSW also offers insight into arctic research undertaken by the host country. Together, IASC and SCAR (the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research) will jointly host Polar2018, "Where the poles come together." Located in Davos (Switzerland), this meeting will combine SCAR and IASC Business Meetings, an Open Science Conference, the SCAR Delegates Meeting, and the Arctic Observing Summit.

Working Groups

The Atmosphere Working Group

The Atmosphere working group is a working group within the International Arctic Science Committee. This working group is primarily concerned with how the Arctic is responding to the current global climate and what can be understood and even the predictability of what may transpire if the Arctic were to disappear.[6] The atmosphere working group regards the work that it is conducting for the International Arctic Science Committee as a way to further promote science research within the Arctic region.

The Cryosphere Working Group

The cryosphere working group is the second working group at the International Arctic Science Committee. This working group differs from the atmosphere working group as it is concerned with the relationship of the different elements that make up the Arctic which includes the oceans, snow, ice sheets, and other elements that make up the Arctic region and how the current global climate may be affecting the cryosphere.[7]

The Marine Working Group

The Marine working group of the International Arctic Science Committee is the third of the current five working groups. The primary concern of the marine working group is the Arctic ocean as well as the subarctic seas and how the effect of the current global climate will affect both the Arctic ocean and seas but also how these changes may, in turn, affect the oceans and seas around the globe. The marine working group assesses the state of the Arctic ecosystem as well as the biology of the Arctic to gather a better understanding of how life functions in such a climate.[8]

The Social and Human Working Group

The fourth of the five working groups that are currently conducting research for the International Arctic Science Committee is the Social and Human working group. This working group differs from the other four working groups as they are primarily concerned with the social sciences aspect of arctic research. What this working group is concerned with involves the different groups within the Arctic and how they both interact with the Arctic as well as how changes to the Arctic climate will affect these individuals. [9]

The Terrestrial Working Group

The fifth and final current working group with the International Arctic Science Committee is the Terrestrial working group. This working group as indicated by the name is primarily concerned with the terrestrial as well as freshwater areas of the Arctic. The terrestrial working group tries to understand what was the previous Arctic system like, what is the status of the current Arctic climate, and how will it look in the future. Another aspect of the terrestrial working group involves how the changes of the Arctic climate will, in turn, affect the rest of the globe in the future.[10]


IASC was founded in 1990 by representatives of national scientific organizations of the eight Arctic countries - Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia (at that time Union of Soviet Socialist Republics), Sweden and the United States of America. The Founding Articles of IASC were signed in Resolute Bay, Canada Over the years, IASC has evolved into the leading international science organization of the North and its membership today includes 23 countries involved in all aspects of Arctic research, including 15 non-Arctic countries (Austria, China, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland and the UK). In the context of its 25th anniversary in 2015, IASC published a comprehensive history spanning the first planning meetings in the late 1980s until today: Rogne, O., Rachold, V., Hacquebord, L., Corell, R. (2015) IASC after 25 year - A Quarter of a Century of International Arctic Research Cooperation. International Arctic Science Committee. 125 pp.


Country Organization Representative
 Austria Austrian Polar Research Institute Wolfgang Schöner
 Canada Canadian Polar Commission Wayne Pollard
 China Chinese Arctic and Antarctic Administration Huigeng Yang, Vice-President
 Czech Republic Centre for Polar Ecology Josef Elster
 Denmark/Greenland The Commission for Scientific Research in Greenland Naja Mikkelsen, Vice-President
 Finland Delegation of the Finnish Academies of Science and Letters Paula Kankaanpä
 France Institut Polaire Français Yves Frenot
 Germany Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft Karin Lochte
 Iceland RANNÍS, The Icelandic Centre for Research Thorsteinn Gunnarsson
 India National Centre for Antarctic and Ocean Research (NCAOR) M. Ravichandran
 Italy National Research Council of Italy Carlo Brabante
 Japan Science Council of Japan, National Institute of Polar Research Tetsuo Ohata
 Netherlands Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research Peter Jordan
 Norway The Research Council of Norway Susan Barr, President
 Poland Polish Academy of Sciences, Committee on Polar Research Michal Luszczuk
 Portugal Ministério da Educação e Ciência João Canario
 Russia The Russian Academy of Sciences Vladimir I Pavlenko, Vice-President
 South Korea Korea Polar Research Institute Yeadong Kim
 Spain Comite Polar Espanol Antonio Quesada
 Sweden The Swedish Research Council Magnus Friberg
  Switzerland Swiss Committee on Polar Research Martin Schneebeli
 United Kingdom Natural Environment Research Council Henry Burgess
 United States Polar Research Board Larry Hinzman, Vice-President

See also


  1. ^ IASC Integrating Arctic Research. Retrieved 06/06/2015.
  2. ^ a b ICSU - Scientific Associate: IASC. Retrieved 06/06/2015.
  3. ^ Kintisch, Eli (12/16/15). "Cold War in a Warming Place". Science & Diplomacy. 4 (4).  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  4. ^ Berkman, Paul (2014-06-23). "Stability and Peace in the Arctic Ocean through Science Diplomacy". Science & Diplomacy. 3 (2). 
  5. ^ IASC Working Groups. Retrieved 06/06/2015.
  6. ^ []
  7. ^ []
  8. ^ []
  9. ^ []
  10. ^ []

External links