Interagency Annapolis Symposium will take a Multi-Faceted Look at Potential Effects of Diminishing Arctic Sea Ice

The U.S. Naval Academy

The United States Naval Academy

Science, Transportation, Security and Environmental Concerns Among Topics to be Discussed


A June symposium at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md. will address the changing state of Arctic sea ice conditions and the present and potential future affects of diminishing ice cover on naval, maritime, and associated activities and operations in the Arctic.

Speakers also will address IPY-related efforts to establish an Artic Observing Network to monitor circum-Arctic change and how U.S. efforts fit into a larger international framework for Arctic observations. Speakers from a range of federal science agencies will, in a series of talks, describe the current state of Arctic sea ice and future trends.

These speakers include:

The "Third Symposium on the Impacts of an Ice-Diminishing Arctic on Naval and Maritime Operations",  a joint U.S. National/Naval Ice Center meeting, is co-hosted by the U.S. Arctic Research Commission (USARC).

The symposium will take place at the Academy on June 9-11.

The symposium is open to the public, but advance registration is required.  Click here for more information.


A century long historical record from ships and settlements shows a decline in Arctic ice extent starting about 1950 and falling below pre-1950 minima after about 1975. According to satellite records available since late 1978, there has been an overall downward trend in the extent of Arctic sea ice.

This trend seems to have been accelerating during the past decade.

In addition to the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment document (ACIA) published by the Arctic Council in 2004, numerous other reports and articles have documented significant recent sea ice extent reductions, both during summer and winter seasons.

The percentage of multi-year ice in the winter has been shown to also continue to decrease significantly.

This symposium will addresses present and future impacts of these rapid changes. In particular, it provides a forum for key agencies to discuss their planned response to the updated Arctic Policy of the U.S. government.

This symposium follows up symposia on "Naval Operations in an Ice-free Arctic"  sponsored by the Office of Naval Research (ONR), NIC, the Oceanographer of the Navy, and the USARC on April 2001 and on the "Impact of an Ice-Diminishing Arctic on Naval and Maritime Operations" co-sponsored by NIC and USARC in July 2007.

While the 2001 symposium focused mainly on naval operations and national strategic issues, the 2007 symposium expanded the discussion to impacts on other maritime operations such as commercial transportation, oil and gas exploration and exploitation, fisheries, and oceanographic research.

The 2009 symposium continues this discussion under the light of several events that include:

The symposium provides a unique high-level forum to explore the plans of key agencies to respond to the new mandates of the Arctic Policy.

It will also serve to further publicize the results of the Arctic Marine Shipping Assessment (AMSA) to be provided to the Arctic Council by April 2009.

As in previous symposia, the 2009 symposium will provide a forum for the review of the rapid changes in Arctic sea ice conditions observed over the last years, an update on sea ice forecast model predictions, and a review the impact of present and expected environmental conditions on present and future naval and maritime operations in the region.

Web Links

NOAA's Arctic theme page 

USGS Web Site Containing Information from Nine Studies of Polar Bear Habitat, September 2007

Oregon State University's Suitcase Lesson on Sea Ice

On this site: