Synoptic Arctic Survey Workshop

IASC-Funded activity - Cross-Cutting
17 February 2023
Vienna, Austria - ASSW 2023

The Arctic Ocean is changing fast and with far reaching consequences to the earth’s ecosystem. The scientific community is (has taken on the challenge) (focusing efforts) to adequately observe, interpret, understand, and project (or predict?) the system dynamics of the high Arctic. Pan-Arctic, quasi-synoptic surveys of key variables at periodic (here decadal) intervals are central to detecting ongoing, climate-driven changes. Collaboration across borders and ocean regions are key for progress, and national and international research must be conducted hand in hand. In 2015, the Synoptic Arctic Survey SAS) was established to develop coordinated activities for the collection of empirical data from the Arctic Ocean and to strengthen international collaboration to understand the impacts of climate change on the ecosystem and its connectivity to the world ocean. Cruises sponsored by 12 nations participated in pan-Arctic exploration of key Arctic regions in 2020-2022.

The SAS reached a new phase as 2022 comes to an end, with a number of cruises completed over the past two years. The result is a new and unparalleled dataset of the Arctic Ocean, covering critical areas and transects. We are working to evaluate and synthesize national and international findings and to make all data collected during the SAS-cruises available for community use. Some of the datasets are already available through national data portals or even global data portals, such as the Surface Ocean CO2 Atlas. Modeling of system components will be central to achieving an understanding of ongoing and future changes; such efforts must be developed to achieve the vision of the SAS.

Since the launch of the SAS’ Science and Implementation Plan in 2018, the overarching question has been “What are the present state and major ongoing transformations of the Arctic marine system? There are three scientific focal areas of SAS: (i) Physical oceanography, (ii) Marine Ecosystems, and (iii) Carbon cycle and acidification. In addition, training of the next generation of scientists as part of an international network has been a goal of the SAS effort. In this science session we will present preliminary results from all three themes and initial and ongoing collaborative syntheses and outline our efforts to establish “SAS→2030” as the decadal follow-up of the 2020-2022 cruises. Further information on the SAS program is available at the following website:

IASC Working Groups / Committees funding the Project:

Project Lead

Jacqueline Grebmeier


All Dates

  • 17 February 2023

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