The Arctic, one of Earth’s most important regions, is changing. Current
climate models and trends in observations indicate that the polar ecosystems
will change significantly in the coming decades. Complex ecological changes, such as increases in productivity, losses and gains of individual species, changes in food web structure, are expected to take place in the coming decades. Warming temperatures, declining sea ice, and increasing human activities will impact the region's fisheries, marine mammals, and habitats.
Arctic research has been a priority for our
organization over the last decade from the perspective of better understanding how
the Arctic ecosystem is changing and its impacts on both natural and
human dimensions in this ecosystem.
Today, ICES cooperates with several
international organizations active in Arctic science, including the Nordic Council of
Ministers, the International Arctic
Science Committee (IASC), the North
Pacific Marine Science Organization (PICES) and the Arctic Council, to which we are an official observer.
A number of ICES groups focus on subarctic fish stocks in the Barents Sea, around Iceland and East Greenland, and some widely distributed and straddling stocks. We also conduct and develop integrated ecosystem assessments and ecosystem overviews for the Central Arctic Ocean, Barents Sea, Norwegian Sea, Greenland Sea, and the Northern Bering Sea-Chukchi Sea LME, as part of our ecosystem approach to fisheries management.
Several other subjects are addressed by our community - ranging from hydrography and warming of the Arctic Ocean to evaluating the environmental risks of shipping, oil and gas exploitation, and the spread of non-native species.
Here, we take a closer look at some examples of how this changing region is studied by our expert groups.