Dr. Jacqueline Richter-Menge
University of Alaska Fairbanks; Arctic Report Card editor and sometimes author.
How many years have you been involved in the Arctic Report Card?
Since the very beginning, when I led a NOAA-sponsored workshop that resulted in the State of the Arctic Report. This report was published in 2006 and served as a launch pad for the Arctic Report Card series.
Tell us about your research.
My 39-year research career largely focused on developing a more comprehensive understanding of the Arctic sea ice cover, providing observations that can be used to advance forecasts in support of near real time operational needs and future projections associated with global climate variability.
What has drawn you to research in the Arctic?
I made my first trip to the Arctic in the spring of 1982, just months after taking a position with the USACE Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory, in Hanover, New Hampshire, where I spent most of my career. That trip sealed my fate as a polar research engineer, a career path I never anticipated. I was immediately taken in by the environment, with its unique mix of desolation and beauty. Flying over the sea ice cover, I noticed the landscape of ridges and leads that hinted at the dynamic nature of the ice cover, and I wanted to know more.
What do you want the public to know about the Arctic Report Card?
The Arctic Report Card was born out of a desire to more broadly communicate the conditions of the changing Arctic environment, in the face of warming global temperatures. We aim to provide a timely and unbiased summary of conditions for a wide audience, to increase awareness and facilitate decision making. We have deliberately avoided projections of future conditions and opinion pieces. The Arctic Report Card reflects the work of a large and diverse team. Many have contributed their time and expertise to the writing and editing of the essays, which form the core of every Report Card. Behind the scenes are also folks producing the webpage, developing highlight videos, guiding the content format, organizing and promoting the public release, implementing the peer review, participating in the peer review…the list goes on.
What do you see as the greatest legacy of the Arctic Report Card?
The greatest legacy of the Arctic Report Card is the archive of information it provides and the attention it has drawn to changing environmental conditions in the Arctic region. The latter is thanks in large part to the NOAA Communications Office, which coordinates the annual public release of the Report Card (now done in conjunction with AGU's Fall Meeting) and promotes it to a wide range of media outlets.
What do you hope to see in the Arctic or with Arctic science and research in the future?
I hope to see a stronger and more robust commitment to long-term observational networks, which are necessary for documenting environmental trends and interannual variability. I hope to see a better appreciation of the Arctic as part of the global system and that the changes reported in the Arctic Report Card are affecting the ecosystem and the people and industries that depend on it; documenting the changing Arctic is much more than an academic exercise. I hope to see a more diverse and inclusive community of investigators engaged in documenting Arctic change. In particular, I hope to see more collaboration between western scientists and Indigenous community members, realizing the value of the inclusion of diverse knowledge systems.
Meet James Overland | Meet Martin Jeffries