Expert Reports

These reports are unique, authoritative expert evaluations. Each report is produced by a committee of experts selected by the Academy to address a particular statement of task and is subject to a rigorous, independent peer review.

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Opportunities to Use Remote Sensing in Understanding Permafrost and Related Ecological Characteristics: Report of a Workshop (2014)

Climate change is causing the widespread thawing and degradation of permafrost, subsurface soil or rock that remains frozen for two or more consecutive years. Changes in permafrost could cause significant impacts—for example, by causing erosion that damages buildings, roads, or other infrastructure, by causing shifts in ecosystems, and by contributing large amounts of carbon to the atmosphere. Data are needed to observe and monitor permafrost... More >>

Seasonal-to-Decadal Predictions of Arctic Sea Ice: Challenges and Strategies (2012)

Watch presentations by the report's authoring committee from a webinar held on this report. View the recording > Note: requires downloading the WebEx plugin. Recent well documented reductions in the thickness and extent of Arctic sea ice cover, which can be linked to the warming climate, are affecting the global climate system and are also affecting the global economic system as marine access to the Arctic region and natural resource developmen... More >>

Report in Brief

Lessons and Legacies of the International Polar Year 2007-2008 (2012)

View the webinar recording with authoring committee co-chairs, Julie Brigham-Grette and Robert Bindschadler (1 hour 9 minutes). International Polar Year 2007-2008 (IPY) was an intense, coordinated field campaign of observations, research, and analysis. IPY engaged the public to communicate the relevance of polar research to the entire planet, strengthened connections with the Indigenous people of the Arctic, and established new observationa... More >>

Report in Brief

Future Science Opportunities in Antarctica and the Southern Ocean (2011)

Although the icy landscape of Antarctica and the Southern Ocean may seem distant, scientific research in this region can yield insights on changes that are important to the entire planet. The Antarctic region also holds the promise of novel discovery: ice and sediment records hold clues to Earth’s history, the region’s living organisms may hold genetic secrets to surviving in extreme environments, and the Antarctic plateau offers an unparallele... More >>

Report in Brief

Realizing the Energy Potential of Methane Hydrate for the United States (2010)

Natural gas, composed mostly of methane, is the cleanest of all the fossil fuels, emitting 25-50% less carbon dioxide than either oil or coal for each unit of energy produced. Methane hydrate, a naturally occurring solid form of methane and water found in Arctic permafrost areas and along most of the world's offshore continental margins, is a potentially enormous and as yet untapped source of methane. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) i... More >>

Report in Brief