2002-2003 UAF Catalog

Research Institutes and Centers


Global Change and Arctic System Research, Center for

The Center for Global Change and Arctic System Research was created in 1990 as the focal point at the University of Alaska Fairbanks for developing, coordinating and implementing interdisciplinary research and education related to the role of the Arctic in global environmental change.

Considerable attention is being focused by the center on global climate concerns and large-scale pollution in the Arctic, and on the impacts of these on people and the environment. The polar regions play a key role in processes responsible for global climatic fluctuations and are widely recognized as important repositories of information on past climates and causes of past climatic fluctuations.

Research addressing earth system processes encompasses a wide variety of studies, including the physical, biological and social sciences and their interactions. Topics include ocean and atmospheric circulation patterns; terrestrial ecosystems, including tundra and boreal forest; natural resources such as forests and fisheries; sea ice; glaciers; permafrost; freshwater resources; paleoenvironments; and socioeconomic aspects of global change. Regional impact assessments through field studies, mesoscale climate modeling, satellite remote sensing and analysis and synthesis of all available data are some of the techniques employed in integrating these interdisciplinary system studies.

The Center for Global Change and Arctic System Research facilitates collaborative research by faculty and students in environmental science and earth system studies. Major activities include funding research projects, with most of the funds being distributed through annual competitions; outreach activities on global climate change; and bringing visiting speakers to the UAF campus.

The center also supports collaborative research through a number of external funding mechanisms, which include NOAA funds to the Cooperative Institute for Arctic Research (CIFAR); NSF, NOAA and international funds for the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment (ACIA); and NSF funds for the Land-Atmosphere-Ice Interaction (LAII) and Russian-American Initiative on Shelf-Land Environments (RAISE) studies in the Arctic. Project offices or secretariats for all these large-scale research and assessment programs are co-located with the center and are staffed by the center.

Contact the Center for Global Change and Arctic System Research at (907) 474-5818. For information on education opportunities in earth system and environmental sciences, see Interdisciplinary Studies in the Degrees and Programs section.