Policy ForumArctic Science Policy

Toward strategic, coherent, policy-relevant arctic science

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Science  23 Sep 2016:
Vol. 353, Issue 6306, pp. 1368-1370
DOI: 10.1126/science.aai8198

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Later this month, government science officials from the Arctic and other nations will be in Washington, D.C., invited by the White House to the first ever Arctic Science Ministerial meeting (1). The event is framed as a response to rapid climate-driven change in the Arctic and impacts of that change on the rest of the world. Although the White House has grasped the urgency of scientific responses to the unprecedented change gripping the Arctic, we think the ministerial delegates could aspire to address “What science needs to be done?” and “How is it done?” There are opportunities to better shape aspects of the science that should be focused on the needs of Arctic policy and management, in addition to fundamental curiosity-driven science. Also critical is the question of how decisions the ministers make should be actualized, whether through the Arctic Council (AC), the most formalized body for Arctic cooperation, or through other existing or new mechanisms.