Understanding the Arctic as a System

2016 Summer School

fire-site_alexeevModeling of the Arctic Climate System

Location: International Arctic Research Center (IARC), University of Alaska Fairbanks, USA
For: Students and early-career scientists specializing in arctic system modeling
Dates: July 11–23, 2016
Coordinators: Vladimir Alexeev and John Walsh
Funding: National Science Foundation

Arctic climate is the result of a complex interplay between the atmosphere, the ocean, sea ice and a terrestrial component in which freezing and thawing are critical to variations over a range of timescales. Since changes in the Arctic may well have global implications, it is essential that Arctic climate simulations be enhanced in order to reduce the uncertainties in projections of climate change.

The two-week summer school will bring graduate students and young scientists together with specialists in Arctic climate and climate modeling to convey to a new generation of scientists the opportunities and challenges of Arctic climate modeling.

The summer school will consist of background lectures in the mornings and mini-projects and informal discussions in the afternoons. Mini-projects will be performed in collaboration with faculty members or lecturers. All participants will give short presentations on their mini-projects at the end of the two-week period.


  • John Walsh and Vladimir Alexeev (International Arctic Research Center, UAF)
  • Regine Hock and Vladimir Romanovsky (Geophysical Institute, UAF)
  • Chris Arp (Institute for Northern Engineering, UAF)
  • Eugenie Euskirchen (Institute for Arctic Biology, UAF)
  • Gijs de Boer (Earth System Research Laboratory, NOAA/CIRES)
  • Andrew Slater (National Snow and Ice Data Center)
  • Andrew Roberts (Naval Postgraduate School)

Key topics to be covered in lectures:

  • Arctic climate: key characteristics and processes
  • Feedbacks in the Arctic system
  • Arctic climate variations: past, ongoing, and projected
  • Global climate models: an overview
  • Modeling of the sea ice and the Arctic Ocean
  • Modeling of frozen soil regimes, especially permafrost
  • Arctic ecosystems and climate change
  • Trace gases, aerosols and chemistry: importance for climate changes

Classroom lectures will be complemented by field trips to research sites around Fairbanks, Alaska, including the Bonanza Creek LTER site, the permafrost tunnel, and Poker Flat Research Range.