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banner - 3rd Symposium: Impact of an Ice-Diminishing Arctic on Naval and Maritime Operations

3rd Symposium on the Impacts of an Ice-Diminishing Arctic
on Naval and Maritime Operations

June 9-11, 2009
U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis, MD

Additional information:
Dr. Pablo Clemente-Colón
Chief Scientist, National Ice Center

  • Attendance to this symposium is open to the public, but advance registration is required.
  • For media access to the symposium, please contact the US Naval Academy Public Affairs Office AFTER the 25th of May, 2009 at or 410-293-2292.
  • Please return to this page for links and updates.

This page provides background information and planning details for the third U.S. National/Naval Ice Center (NIC) symposium that will continue to address the changing state of Arctic sea ice conditions and the present and future impacts on naval, maritime, and associated activities and operations in the region. The "3rd Symposium on the Impacts of an Ice-Diminishing Arctic on Naval and Maritime Operations", co-hosted by the U.S. Arctic Research Commission (USARC), will take place at the U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis, Maryland on 9-11 June 2009.


The 100-year historical record from ships and settlements going back to 1900 shows a decline in Arctic ice extent starting about 1950 and falling below pre-1950 minima after about 1975 [Naval Operations in an Ice Free Arctic, 2001]. According to satellite records available since late 1978, an overall downward trend in the extent of Arctic sea ice is present. This trend seems to have been accelerating during the last decade. In addition to the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment document (ACIA) published by the Arctic Council in 2004, numerous other reports and articles published since 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 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 event is a follow-up to the symposia on "Naval Operations in an Ice-free Arctic" (PDF, 818KB) 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:

  • Record Arctic sea ice extent observed in 2007 with record loss of multiyear ice in 2008;
  • The signing of a new National Security Presidential Decision (NSPD) on Arctic policy in December 2008;
  • The end of the International Polar Year (IPY) on March 2009;
  • The 2009 meeting of the Arctic Council and the Antarctic Treaty 50th anniversary meeting in Washington, D.C.;
  • The upcoming debate on the ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea in the 111th Congress

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

image: NOAA Environmental Visualization Laboratory Animation: Arctic Sea Ice Retreat

2009 Symposium Information

Symposium Hosts

Symposium Sponsors

Symposium Participants

image of text: Hosted By:
National Ice Center logo
U.S. Arctic Research Commission logo
image of text: Sponsors:
The Office of Naval Research logo
U.S. State Department logo
NOAA Center for Satellite Applications & Research (STAR) logo
image of text: Participants:
U.S. Navy logo
Oceanographer of the Navy logo
The Naval Oceanographic Office logo
The Naval Research Laboratory logo
The U.S. Naval Academy logo
The U.S. Coast Guard logo
International Ice Patrol logo
NOAA logo
CRRC - Coastal Response Reseach Center UNH logo
Canadian Ice Service logo
Transport Canada logo
National Aeronatic and Space Administration (NASA) logo
The National Science Foundation logo
U.S. Department of the Interior - Minerals Management Service logo
U.S. Geological Survey logo
National Defense University logo
The White House Office of Science & Technology Policy logo
U.S. Army Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory logo
University of Washington Polar Science Center logo
University of Alaska Fairbanks logo
The Smithsonian Institution logo
Center for Naval Analyses logo
The Institute of the North logo
Kongsberg Satellite Services AS logo
Royal United Services Institute for Defence and Security Studies (UK) logo

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