Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Human and Physical Systems Interactions in the Arctic: Early Results from the Interdisciplinary Research for Arctic Coastal Environments

Presentation Date
Monday, December 13, 2021 at 8:10am
Convention Center - Room 206-207

The Interdisciplinary Research for Arctic Coastal Environments (InteRFACE) aims to improve the understanding and modeling of coupled human and environmental drivers and impacts for change along Arctic coastal systems. It is a DOE-BER research effort funded by four program offices: Information and Data Management, Earth System Model Development, Regional and Global Model Analysis, and MultiSector Dynamics (MSD). The MSD component of InteRFACE examines and models the multisector dynamics of economic, societal, and natural systems transformation in the coastal Arctic with foci on resource development, transportation, and communities. InteRFACE is both applying and advancing established, fully integrated human-Earth system models, such as the Global Change Analysis Model (GCAM), as well as developing new research and modeling tools for unique application to the Arctic. The focus of the MSD work in Phase 1 has been on the ways in which local communities may be impacted by global economic drivers, particularly changes in shipping and oil and gas demand and production, and by climate-related changes. The key climate-related drivers include permafrost thaw and changes in sea ice extent and thickness, which define the ensuing feedbacks between physical and human systems. One of the unique aspects of this project is the close coordination across physical and human systems modelers from the onset, which has enabled outputs from individual models to be tailored to the needs of other models, including developing an unstructured mesh in E3SM v2 that fully resolves sea ice in all Arctic shipping lanes, enabling the direct modeling of trafficability and projections of Arctic shipping and the resulting implications for human populations in the Arctic. These sea ice projections are also used to better represent the changing in costs of off-shore oil and gas extraction and Arctic shipping, as sea ice thickness varies over time and region. Within the MSD research, global human-Earth system modelers are working closely with political scientists to understand how local and global drivers can result in transformative change in local communities in the North Slope Borough of Alaska.

Global Environmental Change
Funding Program Area(s)