IASC Council, at its meeting at the Arctic Science Summit 2011, decided to allocate funds for cross-cutting activities, that are supported by at least three of the five IASC Working Groups. The objective of this WG-spanning program is to promote system-scale activities within IASC and to encourage the WGs to explore activities, which should be of interest to three or more of the WGs. Because the IASC WGs are set up along disciplinary lines, it is possible that their activities will be focused only on one or two disciplines. While this is to be expected, IASC wishes to promote crosscutting themes and encourage interaction between the working groups.

Contact: Yoo Kyung Lee | WG Secretary

Cross-Cutting Activities
Cross-Cutting Activities




Community-based Research – Do`s and Don`ts in Arctic Research

Climate change represents a major challenge for northern regions, and its impacts are already being observed in many communities. The workshop session “Community-based Research – Do`s and Don`ts in Arctic Research” was organized by IASC Fellows Josefine Lenz (TWG), Elena Kuznetsova, Louis-Philippe Roy, Robert Way (all CWG), Kristina Brown and Emily Choy (all MWG) in the frame of the Permafrost Young Researchers Workshop on 18-19 June 2016 during the 11th International Conference on Permafrost 2016 (

This workshop session aimed at bringing together Early Career Scientists (including engineers) and local Arctic actors to discuss best practices and exchange of traditional and modern knowledge when conducting research in northern countries. Together with our invited guests Richard Gordon (Inuvik, Canada), Anna Annasyeva (Tromsø, Norway), Jan Otto Habeck (Hamburg, Germany) and Robert Way (Ottawa, Canada), young researchers created a list of “Do`s and Don`ts in Arctic Research” in small groups and openly discussed with all participants. Sharing of diverse experiences in northern communities, crosscutting of disciplines and greater scientific understanding of the Arctic Regions was actively enhanced during the workshop. The organizers, as well as invited guests and participants, concluded that the workshop session was incredibly interesting and a great success.

Workshop Report


Cutting barriers in snow knowledge

Snow influences all IASC working groups from arctic bio- and geosystem through to human values and practices. The concrete goal of this workshop is to come up with a product for better interaction of researchers concerning snow related questions in the Arctic and to build a network.

Contact: Martin Schneebeli | Cryosphere Working Group


Advancing Integrated, Cross-cutting Practices for Arctic Flux Observations in Terrestrial Environments

Detailed observations of energetic, hydrological and chemical fluxes at the surface-atmosphere interface are necessary to understand and model coupling within the Arctic climate system. Global and regional models may represent Arctic state variables with relative accuracy, but it has been observed that they consistently fail to represent the observed magnitude and direction of energetic fluxes within the Arctic system (Jones, 2014; Aas et al, in press). Some results of this failure are highly uncertain projections about the future state of the Arctic cryosphere and biosphere (McGuire et al., 2013) and high uncertainty about the fate of cryospheric carbon in the global atmosphere (McGuire et al., 2012; Belshe et al., 2013; Hayes et al. 2014; Christensen, 2014).

A host of initiatives, organizations and disciplines share an interest in these topics, yet no one organization has the expertise or mandate to tackle the integrated, pan-Arctic challenge. In recognition of this, it was proposed to develop an IASC cross-cutting initiative to bring together the expertise and resources of IASC member science communities. A starting point for developing collaborative research objectives and refining community interest was the open workshop 2016, initiated by a small scoping meeting in association with the Fairbanks ASSW.

Contact: Sandy Starkweather


Symposium: Do we speak the same language of science?

Among the numerous events supported by IASC during the ASSW 2016 was the Symposium "Do we speak the same language of science?" organized by one of IASC Fellows, Malgorzata (Gosia) Smieszek from IASC Social & Human Sciences Working Group (SHWG). In this well-attended event invited speakers both from IASC Working Groups and beyond spoke on research methods, challenges and limitations of human, social and natural sciences and discussed with the audience effective means of communication between disciplines as well as best practices for the pursuit of interdisciplinary research in the Arctic. In the first keynote speech of the session Louwrens Hacquebord, the founding chair of IASC SHWG, recalled beginnings and developments that led to recognition of social sciences as polar sciences within IASC. In the second keynote speech Thomas Armstrong, chair of the Arctic Council Adaptation Actions for a Changing Arctic (AACA) project, addressed means for effective connection of science and decision-making, essential in developing responses and adaptation actions in the Arctic. The Symposium served as a support for development of cross-cutting initiatives among IASC Working Groups.

Symposium Flyer PDF

Contact: Malgorzata (Gosia) Smieszek | IASC Fellow on Social and Human Working Group


Community-based Research - Do`s and Don`ts in Arctic Science“

This international workshop, to be arranged in conjunction with the International Conference on Permafrost (Potsdam, June 2016), will facilitate an exchange among Early Career Researchers of various fields of research and Indigenous Peoples’ spokespersons to discuss permafrost research with and in northern communities.

Contact: Josefine Lenz | IASC Fellow on Terrestrial Working Group


Arctic in Rapid Transition (ART)

ART is a pan-Arctic scientific network developed and steered by early-career scientists, which aims at studying the impact of environmental changes on the Arctic marine ecosystem. ART has a focus on bridging across time-scales, by incorporating paleo-studies with modern observations and modeling. ART is now in the process of broadening its scientific vision to address the changing marine realm as an integrated system fully ramified with other components of the Arctic. Within this framework, ART will continue to propose inter-disciplinary workshops targeted to students and post-docs, and will support the development of joint projects and collaborations that should deliver innovative knowledge on biogeochemical and ecological implications of Arctic changes.

Contact: Nathalie Morata | Chair

For more information see the following page


International Network for Terrestrial Research and Monitoring in the Arctic (INTERACT)

INTERACT (International Network for Terrestrial Research and Monitoring in the Arctic) gained an infrastructure award from the EU's 7th Framework (infrastructure programme) in 2010 and a new award from the EU Horizon2020 Framework programme in 2016. INTERACT is a network of 79 terrestrial research stations. The research stations are located in all of the Arctic countries and in many neighbouring northern countries. The INTERACT stations together hosts over 5,000 researchers and 76 individual environmental networks every year. INTERACT is building capacity for research, monitoring and education at national, regional and global scales. It works with many international organisations and is also highly visible in political circles. It brings station managers together to share information and data and to promote interoperability of measurements, and it increases researcher mobility and has funded over 500 researchers to visit all Arctic countries. It is also developing new methodology in rapid response to environmental emergency alerts, drone technology, biodiversity monitoring and local adaptation. This innovative and huge network ensures active participation in addressing environmental challenges of both local and global significance.

Contact: Margareta Johansson | Coordinator

Contact: Terry Callaghan | Scientific Coordinator

For more information see the following page


Arctic Coastal Dynamics (ACD)

Though generally only a few kilometers wide (except in the vicinity of large deltas), the coastal zone of the Arctic Ocean is the site of dramatic changes in not only the land and ocean but also in the cryosphere and biosphere. The Arctic coastlines are highly variable, can be stable or extremely dynamic and are the site of most of the human activity that occurs at high latitudes. Extraction of natural resources occurs in many locations around the Arctic Ocean creating the need for port facilities and the potential for pollution. These pressures are only likely to increase with time.

The Arctic Coastal Dynamics (ACD) project was established in 2000 to focus and coordinate circumpolar research on these physical processes that are unique to cold coasts in the northern regions. ACD is a multi-disciplinary, multi-national forum to exchange ideas and information. The overall objective is to improve our understanding of circum-Arctic coastal dynamics as a function of environmental forcing, coastal geology and cryology and morphodynamic behavior.

Contact: Pier Paul Overduin | Project Leader

Contact: Nicole Couture | Project Leader

For more information see the following page


Arctic Freshwater Synthesis (AFS)

There is increasing scientific recognition that changes to the Arctic freshwater systems have produced, and could produce even greater, changes to bio-geophysical and socio-economic systems of special importance to northern residents and also produce some extra-arctic effects that will have global consequences. To address such concerns, a scientific synthesis will be conducted that focuses on the various Arctic freshwater sources, fluxes, storage and effects. The range of sources and fluxes to be assessed include: atmospheric vapour transport, precipitation-evaporation, river flow, ablation of glaciers and ice caps, sea ice formation/ablation and marine (low-salinity water) exchanges. Extra-Arctic sources and fluxes from lower latitudes will be included, given their relatively large influence on the overall Arctic freshwater budget, as well as potential flux regulators (e.g., flow from the Greenland Ice Sheet).

Jointly organized with the Climate and Cryosphere project and the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme, the synthesis will be coordinated through a set of international workshops and meetings, with past open community meetings at the AGU Fall Meeting in San Francisco in 2012 and at the ASSW 2013.

Contact: Johanna Mård Karlsson | Network Coordinator

Contact: Arvid Bring | Network Coordinator

For more information see f.ex. the following page


Palaeo-Arctic Spatial and Temporal Gateways (PAST Gateways)

'PAST Gateways' (Palaeo-Arctic Spatial and Temporal Gateways) is an IASC endorsed research programme, the scientific goal of which is to understand Arctic environmental change during the period preceding instrumental records and across decadal to millennial timescales. The focus of the six year programme is on the nature and significance of Arctic gateways, both spatial and temporal, with an emphasis on the transitions between major Late Cenozoic climate events such as interglacials to full glacials and full glacial to deglacial states, as well as more recent Holocene fluctuations. There are three major themes to the programme: (1) Growth and decay of Arctic Ice Sheets; (2) Arctic sea-ice and ocean changes, and (3) Non-glaciated Arctic environments.

PAST Gateways follows on from the previous network programmes of 'PONAM' (Polar North Atlantic Margins), 'QUEEN' (Quaternary Environment of the Eurasian North) and, most recently, 'APEX' (Arctic Palaeoclimate and its Extremes). It is interdisciplinary in nature and seeks to bring together field scientists and numerical modellers to advance understanding about Arctic climate change. The programme involves scientists from across Europe, Russia, Canada and the USA, and is lead by a Steering Committee comprising members from participating countries. Each year it will bring together scientists in a multidisciplinary International Meeting to discuss recent research and improvements in the understanding of Arctic environmental change.

Contact: Colm O'Cofaigh | Chairman

For more information see f.ex. the following page


Geosciences Assessment

For more information please see the following page


Historical Data Retrieval

Where: Icelandic Meteorological Office, Reykjavík I When: 11-12 November 2013

An IASC-sponsored workshop on data rescue and citizen-science was held at the Icelandic Meteorological Office in Reykjavik, Iceland, on November 11 and 12, 2013. The aim of the workshop was to develop new collaborations and research strategies for the conversion and use of technically intractable Arctic data sets. For example, large quantities of historical environmental data are available that have not been utilized because they are not easily converted into a readily analyzable form, such as manuscripts and unstructured descriptive data.

Workshop sessions focused on presentations by subject-area experts followed up on the afternoon of the second day by an open-format discussion aimed at identifying data requirements and potential cross-discipline collaborations on science and/or technical means of data recovery and analysis. The potential of citizen-science to reduce the barrier between intractable data and new methods of using them was a major theme.

The workshop recognized cultural differences between disciplines—such as varying approaches to free and open data access—that need to be taken into account, but also fostered new potential collaborations among social and physical scientists, archivists, and curators, and strengthened existing relationships.

Workshop Presentation