Climate change in the Arctic Ocean has stirred a remarkable surge of interest and concern. Study after study has revealed the astonishing speed of physical, chemical, ecological, and economic change throughout the expanse of the Arctic. What is more, the consequences of the changing Arctic are not restricted to the Arctic itself, but affect everyone in the Northern Hemisphere, ranging as they do from extreme weather to resource availability and food security, with implications for politics, economics, and sociology. The challenge is to comprehend the full extent and variety of these consequences, and meeting this challenge will demand a multi- and transdisciplinary understanding. Only by this means can we hope to map out a knowledge-based ecosystem and move toward knowledge-based resource management—the essential precondition for any sustainable future.
In this book, leading international experts, from many felds of science and across the entire pan-Arctic region, give their specifc takes on where the Arctic Ocean is heading. All have taken care in their writing not to exclude non-experts, in the conviction that multi- and transdisciplinarity can only be achieved when communication and outreach are not tribal in nature. The recurrent guiding theme throughout these pages is “Whith -er the Arctic Ocean?” Taken in concert, the essays synthesize the current state of scientifc knowledge to project how climate change may impact on the Arctic Ocean and the continents around it. How can and how should we prepare for the imminent future that is already lapping at the threshold of the commons? What readers will hopefully take from this multi- and transdisciplinary endeavor is not the individual perspective of each contribution, but the picture that emerges across the entire suite of essays. As we move into a near future that will encompass both the probable and surprises, this book attempts to conjure the multi-dimensional space in which a sustainable future must be brought into being.