Cooperative Institute for Arctic Research

THE COOpERATIVE INSTITuTE for Arctic Research (CIFAR) was created in 1994, at the University of Alaska following several years of teamwork between the university and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) Environmental Research Laboratories (ERL). Among the 13 NOAA-university joint institutes established to promote greater collaboration between researchers from NOAA laboratories and U.S. universities, CIFAR is the only one solely concerned with the study of the Arctic. Global warming is expected to change the Arctic more than any other area of the world. CIFAR is located at the University of Alaska at Fairbanks (UAF), in the International Arctic Research Center. CIFAR maintains affiliations with the Center for Global Change (CGC), the Institute of Marine Sciences, the Institute of Arctic Biology, the UAF's Geophysical Institute, and School of Agriculture and Land Resource Management.

CIFAR also maintains strong partnerships with NOAA's Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory, Arctic Research Office, National Marine Fisheries Service, Ocean Exploration Program, and the National Weather Service. CIFAR's research supports NOAA's aim to recognize and anticipate shifts in the Earth's environment, and utilize natural resources in an integrated manner that fulfills the economic and environmental needs of the United States. CIFAR's nine research areas include Arctic atmospheric and climate research, fish eries oceanography, tsunami research, climate dynamics and variability, and environmental assessment and statistical modeling. Additionally, CIFAR oversees the administration of the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment, an international project that evaluates and integrates research on climate change and variability.

CIFAR plays a major role in communication and scientific exchange regarding the Western Arctic/Bering Sea region, which, because of its rich natural resources and troubling changes caused by climate warming, is of greater interest and study by the global community than ever before. During its 1997 fiscal year, NOAA's Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research, in partnership with the Cooperative Institute for Arctic Research, used a 1996 appropriation of $1 million by the U.S. Congress to initiate support of 15 research projects focused on the Western Arctic/Bering Sea ecosystem. CIFAR's integral role in the execution of programs that fall within NOAA's Arctic Research Office ensures that NOAA's priorities receive further support from experienced Arctic scientists.

CIFAR researchers disseminate their findings through the release of 18 scientific publications annually, the majority of which are peer-reviewed. Included among the 2006 published writings based on research that received partial or full funding through CIFAR, were articles appearing in Geophysical Research Letters, Journal of Geophysical Research, Marine Resource Economics, Journal of Climate, Science, and Science of Tsunami Hazards. Areas of research ranged from marine ecosystem restoration, an ecosystem shift in the northern Bering Sea, trends of snowfall and snow cover, to tide-tsunami interactions.

Publications in 2006 included several Ph.D. dissertations, representing the School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences, and the Institute of Marine Science. CIFAR is a key partner and collaborator in the Center for Global Change's annual Student Research Grant Competition, established in 1992 to promote interdisciplinary research with a focus on the Arctic and sub-Arctic, and further supports student research efforts in areas that promote NOAA's mission and capacity-building in Alaska. Seventeen awards were granted to support 23 students working on a range of polar issues in the biological, physical, and social sciences during the International Polar Year 2007-08. Participation in the Student Research Grant Competition provides students with the experience of crafting proposals in an environment sim ilar to that utilized by science funders. Three of the projects approved in 2007 were funded by CIFAR. Research and academic work at CIFAR is supported by the Keith Mather Library, which serves the International Arctic Research Center and the Geophysical Institute.

SEE ALSO: Arctic Ocean; Ocean Component of Models; Oceanic Changes; Oceanography.

BIBLIOGRAPHY. Arctic Climate Impact Assessment, www .acia.uaf.edu (cited September 2007); Cooperative Institute for Arctic Research, www.cifar.uaf.edu (cited September 2007); Geophysical Institute, www.gi.alaska.edu (cited September 2007); National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, www.noaa.gov (cited September 2007).

Robin K. Dillow Rotary International Archives

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