Arctic Futures Initiative

The Arctic Futures Initiative (AFI) brings a systems analysis perspective to the future of the Arctic.

A researcher tests the Arctic sea ice. Image courtesy NASA ICESCAPE

A researcher tests the Arctic sea ice. Image courtesy NASA ICESCAPE

A vast and rapid transformation of the Arctic and surrounding areas is taking place. Climate, environmental, and socioeconomic drivers may interact and amplify, making decision making in a rapidly changing Arctic difficult and uncertain. Changes may increase existing pressures in the Arctic, while others may bring new opportunities. The objective of the IIASA Arctic Futures Initiative (AFI) is a holistic assessment of the Arctic. The project will involve stakeholders, such as policy and businesses, in dialogue already from the planning stage, through implementation to final aims. The IIASA AFI perspective is a holistic perspective integrating research, policy, business, and society. IIASA is a neutral venue for facilitating discussions, collaboration, new methods and approaches.

IIASA programs will provide expertise on complex systems analysis, scenarios, modeling and integrative techniques. The initiative cuts across the expertise of all IIASA programs: Advanced Systems Analysis (ASA), Air Quality and Greenhouse Gases (AIR), Energy (ENE), Ecosystems Services and Management (ESM), World Population (POP), Risk and Resilience (RISK), Transition to New Technologies (TNT), Evolution and Ecology (EEP), Water (WAT).

In cooperation with stakeholders, IIASA discusses the mid-term and long-term possibilities of the AFI, also in collaboration with the Arctic Council. With stakeholders, IIASA will lay out the goals and agenda for the initiative’s work on the Arctic and also bring together national approaches to the holistic Arctic view.

An important conclusion from several recent events in Finland and the USA was the need for a holistic, integrative assessment of plausible futures of the Arctic, cutting across different disciplines and individual countries’ strategic interests. As an international, independent, non-governmental institute, IIASA is in the process of initiating an Arctic Futures Initiative as a IIASA Futures Initiative, integrating academia, policy, business and society for a holistic understanding of the Arctic. 


Changes in the Arctic environment are influencing and influenced by human activities. One example of major change in the Arctic is that as sea ice declines, shipping routes through the Arctic Ocean may open up, making the region more accessible to commercial shipping, tourism, and fishing. Image courtesy NOAA/NASA


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Last edited: 25 October 2016

CONTACT DETAILS

Anni Reissell

Guest Research Scholar

Exploratory and Special Projects

T +43(0) 2236 807 678

PUBLICATIONS

Eckhardt S, Quennehen B, Olivie DJL, Bernsten TK, Heyes C, and Klimont Z (2015) Current model capabilities for simulating black carbon and sulfate concentrations in the Arctic atmosphere: a multi-model evaluation using a comprehensive measurement data set. Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, 15 (16). pp. 9413-9433.

Lappalainen HK, Petaja T, Kujansuu J, Kerminen V-M, Shvidenko A, and Back J (2014) Pan Eurasian Experiment (PEEX) - A research initiative meeting the grand challenges of the changing environment of the Northern Pan-Eurasian Arctic-Boreal areas. Geography, Environment, Sustainability, 7 (2). pp. 13-48.

Yttri KE, Lund Myhre C, Eckhardt S, Fiebig M, Dye C, Hirdman D, Strom J, Klimont Z, et al. (2014) Quantifying black carbon from biomass burning by means of levoglucosan - A one-year time series at the Arctic observatory Zeppelin. Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, 14 (12). pp. 6427-6442.

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