Dear Colleagues,

This has been an amazing year for Arctic science.  It has been almost too much to take in, and yet IASC has played some level of engagement in almost all of the high level international Arctic programs. 

We are pleased to continue to serve as an engaged observer of the Arctic Council.  IASC is pleased to continue to play a role in promoting the Arctic Science Agreement.  While this has been signed by all parties, efforts must still be invested to see this agreement reach its full potential.  The Finnish Chair was quite successful and good progress was made on important issues.  We congratulate and thank Finland for their service.  We welcome Iceland’s chairship of the Arctic Council and we hope to be of service in helping the Icelandic chair achieve their stated goals. 

IASC also played an organizing role in the scientific pre-meeting of the Second Arctic Science Ministerial in Berlin and in reporting on those results to the ASM-2.  We have remained engaged in the follow-up and we have contributed to preparations of the ASM-3 in Tokyo. 

It seems appropriate that 10 years after the International Polar Year, we are again seeing intensive campaigns of international scientific collaborations.  MOSAiC and YOPP being just two examples of such collaborations, of which we will learn more during the Working Group reports.  However, it is clearly evident that international collaborations are still critically important.

We are continually given warning after warning that our climate system is evolving to a new state.  Last week, the temperature in Arkhangelsk reached almost 30°C, while the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere passed 415 parts per million for the first time in human history.  In Alaska we had many rivers break-up almost a month earlier than normal.  The Japan Meteorological Agency reported the global temperature in April was the second warmest on record. NASA GISS reported Global temperatures in 2018 were 0.83°C warmer than the 1951 to 1980 mean. The past five years are, collectively, the warmest years in the modern record. Our weather services report the air temperature departures from normal, but the normals no longer make sense.  These are just data points, but together they heighten concern that we are witnessing serious widespread environmental response to continued increase in atmospheric CO2.  The Arctic continues to lead in global warming and in environmental and ecosystem response to the changing climate.  IASC must continue to facilitate and promote international research programs that help our nations understand the changes occurring around us and respect the consequences of those changes, in the Arctic and propagated to the more temperate regions.

Our societies are also changing through globalization, nationalization, expanding economic opportunities and deepening political disputes.  Science must stand above this fray.  IASC must cling to the truth of the process of scientific inquiry and remain committed to our mission of encouraging and facilitating cooperation in all aspects of Arctic research, in all countries engaged in Arctic research and in all areas of the Arctic region. IASC continues to promote and support leading-edge interdisciplinary research in order to foster a greater scientific understanding of the Arctic region and its role in the Earth system.  We will continue to work with our Indigenous partners to promote co-production of knowledge.

There is long overdue concern for equity and inclusion in science.  IASC has the opportunity to take a leadership role in promoting gender balance, equity and inclusion across Arctic science.  We have a responsibility to protect our colleagues, to protect our students, and to help advance the next generation of Arctic researchers to reach their full potential.  We are IASC.  We are representatives of our nations and we bear substantial influence. 

Throughout the ASSW, during coffee breaks and in sessions, we will discuss these issues and many more.  Your Executive Committee, your Secretariat, your working groups, action groups, and cross-cutting teams have been very busy over the past year implementing the directions you provided in Davos.  We have fallen short of our plans in some areas and greatly exceeded expectations in others.  Today, we will provide those updates and we will again ask for your guidance and direction.  We have accomplished much.  Still, there is much to do and there is much we can do.  So, please earnestly accept your role and responsibility as the representative of your nation.  Please review the documents provided.  Listen carefully to the reports presented and offer your insight on how we may collectively best serve the Arctic and our global society.  Remember, you are not here as individuals, but as representatives of your home nation.  Please share with us the efforts of your nation in advancing Arctic science and when you return home, carry these messages, these accomplishments, these concerns to your government and to your colleagues.  This is a critical time in science and diplomacy.  We are IASC and we can make a difference.

-Larry Hinzman, IASC President - 23 May 2019

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