Filling the outline

The next meeting of the Assessment Steering Committee, directly after the Barrow Ministerial, was the first time the organizers met with the lead authors who, together with the contributing authors, would carry out the brunt of scientific work in ACIA. The chapter outline evolved, including a new introductory chapter, a separation of terrestrial and freshwater ecosystems into two chapters, and much more detail under each heading. However, interviews with lead authors indicate that the outline was decided already before they became involved. It was, thus, a discussion on how to adjust the overall structure that was already in place.

A key event in the scientific process was a workshop on modeling and scenarios where authors discussed what respective inputs would best demonstrate future climate change impacts. In the report, this workshop is described as the foundation for the ACIA.58 Several key decisions, in which the influence of the IPCC is clear, were made at this workshop. Specifically, the workshop participants saw no need for new scenarios of greenhouse gas emissions, but in order "to stay coordinated with the current IPCC approach" they decided to select a scenario that has been developed by the IPCC Special Report on Emissions Scenarios (SRES), namely B2. This scenario is a so-called

55 Summary Report of the 5th Assessment Steering Committee (ASC) Meeting, June 15-16, 2000, Danish Polar Center, Copenhagen, Denmark.

56 Summary Report of the 5th Assessment Steering Committee (ASC) Meeting, June 15-16, 2000, Danish Polar Center, Copenhagen, Denmark.

57 Arctic Council. Notes from the Second Ministerial Meeting, Barrow, Alaska, U.S.A. October 12-13, 2000, which is not a full transcript of the meeting.

58 Report from the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment Modeling and Scenarios Workshop. January 2931, 2001. Stockholm, Sweden, 1.

"best guess" or "most likely" scenario. The reason for not using the A2, which is another of the major scenarios and often called "business-as-usual" or "worst case," was to avoid criticism of being too alarmist. The scenarios are based on different assumptions about population growth, environmental protection and social equity.59 Over a time scale of 50 years, the emissions between A2 and B2 are not very different, which the workshop participants point to as justification for choosing only one of them. The executive summary also points out that "[a]lthough many emission assumptions exist for the future, the range of projected Arctic temperature responses is similar to the range of responses observed due to model-to-model differences."60 The executive summary does not indicate that any of the other SRES scenarios were discussed at the workshop and no clear reasons are given other than that A2 and B2 "have emerged as having particular significance" as had been identified by "the general scientific community" as business-as-usual and most likely.

Most climate models work at the global level, while a regional assessment ideally would need higher resolution of the information about potential future climates. Therefore, it is not a surprise that regional models were on the agenda for the workshop. Some countries had already begun the work on regional models, including coverage of Sweden, Norway, parts of Alaska, and Canada, but the workshop concluded that "the list of sub-regional Arctic models is not yet complete," and that results from an inter-comparison were not expected until late in 2001. None of the groups that wanted to develop a regional coupled oceanic-ice-atmosphere model was securely funded to do so. Apart from the regions with a long-term meteorological record where a different technique for climate scenarios could be used, the ACIA was therefore partly limited by the lack of available Arctic-wide climate models and the research-funding structures that had not identified such models as a priority. Although there was a suggestion to begin to develop an Arctic regional model, the ACIA was urged by one of the workshop organizers to go forward with the assessment "using currently available global models." This was also the decision.61 Five modeling centers were chosen as were three time slices representing what the Arctic climate might look like in 2020, 2050, and 2080.

Another issue raised during the workshop was the need to find better links between the climate modelers and the people who would be using the model outputs for their impact studies. Without a facility for supplying impact studies with the appropriate climate scenario data, "the ACIA process is likely to fail," the report states. Later, such as

59 The SRES scenarios are elaborated in detail in IPCC's Third Assessment Report: "The A2 storyline and scenarios family describes a very heterogeneous world. Underlying these is self-reliance and preservation of local identities. Fertility patterns across regions converge very slowly resulting in continuously increasing population. Economic development is primarily regionally oriented and per capita growth and technological change more fragmented and slower than in other storylines." "The B2 storyline and scenario family describes a world in which the emphasis is on local solutions to economic, social and environmental stability. It is a world with continuous increasing global population, at a rate slower than A2, intermediate levels of economic growth, and less rapid and more diverse technological change than in the B1 and A1 story line. While the scenario is also oriented towards environmental protection and social equity, it focuses on local and regional levels."

60 Report from the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment Modeling and Scenarios Workshop. January 2931, 2001. Stockholm, Sweden, 1.

61 Summary Report of the Seventh Assessment Steering Committee (ASC) Meeting, 19-20 April 2001, Reykjavik, Iceland.

facility was created at the Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute and funded via the ACIA secretariat.62

By the end of 2001, most lead authors had begun to recruit writing teams, and at the December Assessment Steering Committee meeting in Ottawa, they provided progress reports on their respective chapters. As outlined by the protocol, this included opportunities for other committee members to comment on the approaches and suggested content for each chapter.63 Socioeconomic issues were on the table once again, according to the protocol with "lively discussion on the extent to which various chapters in the assessment will be expected to deal with impacts on humans." There was a suggestion to add leaders of the Bering Sea and Barents Sea impact studies to the Assessment Steering Committee. A social science author labelled this as "a good idea from the point of view of social sciences." However, others argued it would make the Assessment Steering Committee too large, and that it should be left to lead authors to recruit social science expertise as they needed it, or that it could primarily be a resource for the final synthesis chapters. At the end, the discussion was postponed until the next meeting. 64

Related to the question of social science but introduced as a separate question in the discussion was a suggestion from the ACIA chair to include a new chapter in the ACIA report: "A vulnerability approach to study the extent to which Arctic individuals and communities can be affected by things that influence human health and well-being, indigenous cultures and food security, and human settlement and development." The issue had already been taken up at the 5th Assessment Steering Committee Meeting with a suggestion by the ACIA chair to "apply a vulnerability assessment strategy" to one of the chapters, perhaps human health, but now the idea was that this issue would receive its own chapter and provide a way of looking forward.65 Referring to an ongoing research effort at Harvard University, he proposed to examine the impacts of environmental pollution, UV-B and climate change, and trends in human and social development that served as stressors on Arctic peoples and communities. After "an extensive discussion," the Assessment Steering Committee decided to add a chapter on this Arctic Vulnerability Study before the final summary chapter. The protocol does not reveal the content of this discussion. The chapter would, however, continue to be a point of con-

tention.66

The December 2001 meeting was also the beginning of discussions concerning graphics and technical production, and by the next Assessment Steering Committee meeting, in June 2002, Paul Grabhorn of Grabhorn Studios presented his ideas of how to work with the lead authors on graphics.67

62 Summary Report of the Seventh Assessment Steering Committee (ASC) Meeting, 19-20 April 2001, Reykjavik, Iceland.

63 Summary Report of the Eighth Assessment Steering Committee (ASC) Meeting, 3-5 December 2001, Ottawa, Canada.

64 Summary Report of the Eighth Assessment Steering Committee (ASC) Meeting, 3-5 December 2001, Ottawa, Canada.

65 Summary report of the 5th Assessment Steering Committee (ASC) Meeting, June 15-16, 2000, Danish Polar Center, Copenhagen, Denmark.

66 Summary Report of the Eighth Assessment Steering Committee (ASC) Meeting, 3-5 December 2001, Ottawa, Canada.

67 Summary Report of the Ninth Assessment Steering Committee Meeting (ASC) 2-5 June, Asker Norway.

The protocol from this ninth meeting of the Assessment Steering Committee does not indicate any extensive discussion about content of the scientific report. The chapter structure appears to be set and the discussion focused on progress reports from the different lead authors with some specific questions raised in the discussion, for example on the need for additional information, lack of geographical coverage, and overlap between chapters. There was also a one-day workshop concerning integration across the chapters. On the more general level, an issue of language was raised concerning how the phrases "very likely, likely, possible, unlikely, and very unlikely," were to be used in the assessment, with an agreement that there was a need for a common lexicon.68

For about a year, the scientific report process disappeared from the formal ACIA documentation. This does not mean there was a lack of activity. Rather, the authors and contributors were busy writing. Moreover, a new group had been established based on a recommendation from the Executive Committee: The Assessment Integration Team. This group consisted of the Executive Committee with three added members from the Assessment Steering Committee and was charged with guiding the preparation of the introductory and the summary chapters of the scientific report. As discussed in section 5.3 of this chapter, the Assessment Steering Committee was also to guide the preparation of the overview document. The Assessment Integration Team also organized a cross-fertilization meeting, which was held in New Hampshire in March 2003.69 Several participants in the process have described this meeting as an important event because chapter authors had the chance to discuss together across the division into chapters.70 Moreover, this was a meeting where the science writer who was writing the overview and the people who would be working with the policy document had a chance to interact together with the experts responsible for the scientific report. However, it was not a formal Assessment Steering Committee meeting and there is no official written record of it.

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