Arctic Climate Impact Assessment (full report)

December 20, 2010, 9:31 am




The Arctic Climate Impact Assessment (ACIA) is an international project of the Arctic Council and the International Arctic Science Committee (IASC), to evaluate and synthesize knowledge on climate variability, climate change, and increased ultraviolet radiation and their consequences. The results of the assessment were released at the ACIA International Scientific Symposium held in Reykjavik, Iceland in November 2004. The following is the full assessment:

Chapter 1: Introduction to the ACIA
1.1 An Introduction to the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment
1.2. Why assess the impacts of changes in climate and UV radiation in the Arctic?
1.3. The Arctic Climate Impact Assessment
1.4. The assessment process
1.5. The Arctic: geography, climate, ecology, and people
1.6. An outline of the assessment

Chapter 2: Arctic Climate - Past and Present
2.1 Introduction
2.2 Arctic atmosphere
2.3 Marine Arctic
2.4 Terrestrial Water Balance in the Arctic
2.5 Influence of the Arctic on global climate
2.6 Arctic climate variability in the twentieth century
2.7 Arctic climate variability prior to 100 years BP
2.8 Summary and key findings of ACIA on Arctic Climate - Past and Present

Chapter 3: The Changing Arctic: Indigenous Perspectives
3.1. Introduction
3.2. Indigenous knowledge
3.3. Indigenous observations of climate change
3.4. Case studies
    3.4.1. Northwest Alaska: the Qikiktagrugmiut
    3.4.2. The Aleutian and Pribilof Islands region, Alaska
    3.4.3. Arctic Athabaskan Council: Yukon First Nations
    3.4.4. Denendeh: the Dene Nation’s Denendeh Environmental Working Group
    3.4.5. Nunavut
    3.4.6. Qaanaaq, Greenland
    3.4.7. Sapmi: the communities of Purnumukka, Ochejohka, and Nuorgam
    3.4.8. Climate change and the Saami
    3.4.9. Kola: the Saami community of Lovozero
3.5. Indigenous perspectives and resilience
3.6. Further research needs
3.7. Conclusions

Chapter 4: Future Climate Change: Modeling and Scenarios for the Arctic
4.1. Introduction
4.2. Global coupled atmosphere-ocean general circulation models
4.3. Simulation of observed arctic climate with the ACIA designated models
4.4. Arctic climate change scenarios for the 21st century projected by the ACIA-designated models
4.5. Regional modeling of the Arctic
4.6. Statistical downscaling approach and downscaling of AOGCM climate change projections
4.7. Outlook for improving climate change projections for the Arctic

Chapter 5: Ozone and Ultraviolet Radiation
5.1. Introduction
5.2. Factors affecting arctic ozone variability
5.3. Long-term change and variability in ozone levels
5.4. Factors affecting surface ultraviolet radiation levels in the Arctic
5.5. Long-term change and variability in surface UV irradiance
5.6. Future changes in ozone
5.7. Future changes in ultraviolet radiation
5.8. Ozone and Ultraviolet Radiation in the Arctic: Gaps in knowledge, future research, and observational needs

Chapter 6: Cryosphere and Hydrology
6.1. Introduction
6.2. Precipitation and evapotranspiration
6.3. Sea ice
6.4. Snow cover
6.5. Glaciers and ice sheets
6.6. Permafrost
6.7. River and lake ice
6.8. Freshwater discharge
6.9. Sea-level rise and coastal stability

Chapter 7: Arctic Tundra and Polar Desert Ecosystems
7.1 Introduction
7.2 Late-Quaternary changes in arctic terrestrial ecosystems, climate, and ultraviolet radiation levels
7.3 Species responses to changes in climate and ultraviolet-B radiation in the Arctic
    7.3.1 Implications of current species distributions for future biotic change
    7.3.2 General characteristics of arctic species and their adaptations in the context of changes in climate and ultraviolet-B radiation levels
    7.3.3 Phenotypic responses of arctic species to changes in climate and ultraviolet-B radiation
    7.3.4 Genetic responses of arctic species to changes in climate and ultraviolet-B radiation levels
    7.3.5 Recent and projected changes in arctic species distributions and potential ranges
7.4 Effects of changes in climate and UV radiation levels on structure and function of arctic ecosystems in the short and long term
    7.4.1 Ecosystem structure
    7.4.2 Ecosystem function
7.5 Effects of climate change on landscape and regional processes and feedbacks to the climate system
7.6 Synthesis: Scenarios of projected changes in the four ACIA regions for 2020, 2050, and 2080
7.7 Uncertainties and recommendations

Chapter 8: Freshwater Ecosystems and Fisheries
8.1. Introduction
8.2. Freshwater ecosystems in the Arctic
8.3. Historical changes in freshwater ecosystems
8.4. Climate change effects
    8.4.1. Broad-scale effects on freshwater systems
    8.4.2. Effects on hydro-ecology of contributing basins
    8.4.3. Effects on general hydro-ecology
    8.4.4. Changes in aquatic biota and ecosystem structure and function
8.5. Climate change effects on arctic fish, fisheries, and aquatic wildlife
    8.5.1. Information required to project responses of arctic fish
    8.5.2. Approaches to projecting climate change effects on arctic fish populations
    8.5.3. Climate change effects on arctic freshwater fish populations
    8.5.4. Effects of climate change on arctic anadromous fish
    8.5.5. Impacts on arctic freshwater and anadromous fisheries
    8.5.6. Impacts on aquatic birds and mammals
8.6. Ultraviolet radiation effects on freshwater ecosystems
8.7. Global change and contaminants
8.8. Key findings, science gaps, and recommendations

Chapter 9: Marine Systems
9.1. Introduction
9.2. Physical oceanography
    9.2.1. General features
    9.2.2. Sea ice
    9.2.3. Ocean processes of climatic importance
    9.2.4. Variability in hydrographic properties and currents
    9.2.5. Anticipated changes in physical conditions
9.3. Biota
    9.3.1. General description of the Arctic biota community
    9.3.2. Physical factors mediating ecological change
    9.3.3. Past variability – interannual to decadal
    9.3.4. Future change – processes and impacts on biota
9.4. Effects of changes in ultraviolet radiation
9.5. The carbon cycle and climate change
9.6. Key findings
9.7. Gaps in knowledge and research needs

Chapter 10: Principles of Conserving the Arctic’s Biodiversity
10.1 Introduction
10.2 Conservation of arctic ecosystems and species
    10.2.1 Marine environments
    10.2.2 Freshwater environments
    10.2.3 Environments north of the treeline
    10.2.4 Arctic boreal forest environments    
    10.2.5 Human-modified habitats
    10.2.6 Conservation of arctic species
    10.2.7 Incorporating traditional knowledge
    10.2.8 Implications for biodiversity conservation
10.3 Human impacts on the biodiversity of the Arctic
10.4 Effects of climate change on the biodiversity of the Arctic
10.5 Managing biodiversity conservation in a changing environment

Chapter 11. Management and Conservation of Wildlife in a Changing Arctic Environment
11.1 Introduction
11.2 Management and conservation of wildlife in the Arctic
11.3 Climate change and terrestrial wildlife management
    11.3.1 Russian Arctic and sub-Arctic
    11.3.2 The Canadian North
    11.3.3 The Fennoscandian North
    11.3.4 The Alaskan Arctic
11.4 Management and conservation of marine mammals and seabirds in the Arctic
11.5 Critical elements of wildlife management in an Arctic undergoing change

Chapter 12. Hunting, herding, fishing, and gathering: indigenous peoples and renewable resource use in the Arctic
12.1 Introduction
12.2 Present uses of living marine and terrestrial resources
    12.2.1 Indigenous peoples, animals, and climate in the Arctic
    12.2.2 Mixed economies
    12.2.3 Renewable resource use, resource development, and global processes
    12.2.4 Renewable resource use and climate change
    12.2.5 Responding to climate change
12.3 Understanding climate change impacts through case studies
    12.3.1 Canadian Western Arctic: the Inuvialuit of Sachs Harbour
    12.3.2 Canadian Inuit in Nunavut
    12.3.3 The Yamal Nenets of northwest Siberia
    12.3.4 Indigenous peoples of the Russian North
    12.3.5 Indigenous caribou systems of North America

Chapter 13: Fisheries and Aquaculture
13.1 Introduction
13.2 Northeast Atlantic – Barents and Norwegian Seas
13.3 Central North Atlantic – Iceland and Greenland
13.4 Newfoundland and Labrador Seas, Northeastern Canada
13.5 North Pacific – Bering Sea
13.6. Synthesis and key findings
13.7. Research recommendations

Chapter 14: Forests, Land Management, and Agriculture
14.1. Introduction
14.2. The boreal forest: importance and relationship to climate
14.3. Land tenure and management in the boreal region
14.4. Use and evaluation of the ACIA scenarios
14.5. Agriculture
14.6. Tree rings and past climate
14.7. Direct climate effects on tree growth
14.8. Climate change and insects as a forest disturbance
14.9. Climate change and fire
14.10. Climate change in relation to carbon uptake and carbon storage
14.11. Climate change and forest distribution
14.12. Effects of ultraviolet-B on forest vegetation
14.13. Critical research needs

Chapter 15: Human Health
15.1. Introduction
15.2. Socio-cultural conditions, health status, and demography
15.3. Potential impacts of direct mechanisms of climate change on human health
15.4. Potential impacts of indirect mechanisms of climate change on human health
15.5. Environmental change and social, cultural, and mental health
15.6. Developing a community response to climate change and health
15.7. Conclusions and recommendations

Chapter 16: Infrastructure: Buildings, Support Systems, and Industrial Facilities
16.1 Introduction
16.2. Physical environment and processes related to infrastructure
    16.2.1. Observed changes in air temperature
    16.2.2. Permafrost
    16.2.3. Natural hazards
    16.2.4. Coastal environment
    16.2.5. Arctic Ocean
16.3. Infrastructure in the Arctic
16.4. Engineering design for a changing climate
16.5. Gaps in knowledge and research needs

Chapter 17: Climate Change in the Context of Multiple Stressors and Resilience
17.1. Introduction
17.2. Conceptual approaches to vulnerability assessments
    17.2.1. A framework for analyzing vulnerability
    17.2.2. Focusing on interactive changes and stresses in the Arctic
    17.2.3. Identifying coping and adaptation strategies
17.3. Methods and models for vulnerability analysis
17.4. Understanding and assessing vulnerabilities through case studies
    17.4.1. Candidate vulnerability case studies
    17.4.2. A more advanced vulnerability case study
17.5. Insights gained and implications for future vulnerability assessments

Chapter 18: Summary and Synthesis of the ACIA
18.1. Introduction
18.2. A summary of ACIA conclusions
18.3. A synthesis of projected impacts in the four regions
 18.4. Cross-cutting issues in the Arctic 
18.5. Improving future assessments
18.6. Conclusions





Committee, I. (2010). Arctic Climate Impact Assessment (full report). Retrieved from


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