This study evaluates the Baseline Studies Program, an organization that was created based on a collaborative research agreement between the North Slope Borough of Alaska and Shell to improve information collection and management of issues associated with the potential impacts of oil and gas development on marine ecosystems and coastal communities dependent subsistence resources for their livelihoods.
Sparsely populated, the Arctic has few weather stations and lacks a long record of climate observations, but even these limited data show that the region is highly sensitive to the effects of greenhouse gases. Temperatures in the Arctic are warming faster than any other region on Earth, especially in winter. The resulting dramatic losses of sea ice and thawing permafrost, glaciers, and ice sheets feed back to the global climate and amplify the effects of warming. At the same time, the region’s climate varies widely from year to year and from place to place, making it challenging to predict the future and critical to make the most of the information we have.