International Arctic Science Committee (IASC)


International scientific organizations engaged in arctic science research make up the International Arctic Science Committee (IASC), a non-governmental organization. IASC was founded in 1990 and is an International Scientific Associate of ICSU. IASC’s major goal is to start, foster, and organize cutting-edge scientific research on the Arctic and its function in the Earth system. Additionally, it offers impartial, unbiased scientific guidance on matters of research influencing the management of the Arctic region to the Arctic Council and other organizations. The Council and the Executive Committee are the IASC’s decision-making bodies. The secretariat, which is led by the executive secretary, supports the daily activities. The Arctic Ocean and the neighboring landmasses are included in the geographical scope of IASC.


The scientific, environmental, economic, and political conditions of the North have altered significantly since IASC’s establishment. The need for new or better scientific knowledge arises from fresh difficulties and challenges. International cooperation is much more important today because there is a greater need for knowledge of the arctic region. In light of this, IASC has created five Working Groups (WG) that will decide on scientific goals and launch and encourage interdisciplinary projects. The Working organizations are dynamic, ‘living’ organizations that change in response to the community’s changing needs for science. These are the five Working Groups:

  • Terrestrial WG
  • Cryosphere WG
  • Marine/AOSB WG
  • Atmosphere WG
  • Social and Human WG

Week of the Arctic Science Summit The International Arctic Social Sciences Association (IASSA), the European Polar Board (EPB), the Association of Polar Early Career Scientists (APECS), the Arctic Council Indigenous Peoples’ Secretariat (IPS), and the Forum of Arctic Research Operators (FARO) are all partners in the ASSW, an initiative of the IASC. The summit aims to integrate science and management sessions to save on travel and time, and to offer possibilities for coordination, collaboration, and cooperation in all fields of arctic science. The ASSW also provides information on the host nation’s arctic research efforts. IASC and SCAR (the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research) will jointly present Polar2018, “Where the poles come together.” The SCAR and IASC Business Meetings, an Open Science Conference, the SCAR Delegates Meeting, and the Arctic Observing Summit will all take place at this gathering in Davos, Switzerland.

Working Groups

Environment Working Group
Within the International Arctic Science Committee, there is a working group called the Atmosphere working group. The main concerns of this working group are how the Arctic is adjusting to the current climate and what can be known and even predicted about what may happen if the Arctic disappeared. The work the atmospheric working group does for the International Arctic Science Committee is seen as a tool to further advance scientific investigation in the Arctic.

The Working Group for the Cryosphere
The International Arctic Science Committee has two working groups, the second of which is the cryosphere working group. The relationship between the various elements that make up the Arctic, such as the oceans, snow, ice sheets, and other elements that make up the Arctic region, as well as how the current global climate may be affecting the cryosphere, is what sets this working group apart from the atmosphere working group.

Maritime Working Group
The International Arctic Science Committee now has five working groups, with the marine working group being the third. The Arctic Ocean and the subarctic seas are of particular concern to the marine working group, along with how the effects of the current global climate will influence them. These changes may also have an impact on other oceans and seas throughout the world. To gain a better knowledge of how life functions in such a climate, the marine working group evaluates the state of the Arctic ecosystem and its biology.

Working Group for Social and Human Issues
The Social and Human working group is the fourth of the five working groups now conducting research for the International Arctic Science Committee. The other four working groups are more focused on the social sciences side of arctic research, which makes this working group different from them. This working group is interested in the various Arctic groups and how they interact with the Arctic as well as how changes to the Arctic climate will impact these people.

The Terrestrial working group is the fifth and last active working group with the International Arctic Science Committee. The name of this working group makes it clear that it is primarily interested in the terrestrial and freshwater regions of the Arctic. The terrestrial working group seeks to comprehend what the current Arctic climate is like, how it developed, and what the future of the Arctic will hold for it. The future effects of Arctic climate changes on the rest of the world are another topic covered by the terrestrial working group.

Action Teams under The IASC

Additionally, two current Action Groups make up the IASC. These organizations seek to provide guidance on the Arctic’s immediate and long-term requirements. Usually, these organizations disband after a year or two.

Arctic Science Communication to Policymakers
In order to better communicate the scientific findings of the IASC working groups to global policymakers, this action group of the organization was founded in 2017. To help policymakers better comprehend the science being undertaken in the Arctic, this action group offers suggestions and guidance.

Arctic Science and Industry/Business Collaboration
The International Arctic Science Committee now has two action groups operating under its umbrella. The main focus of this action group is on the economic and business ramifications of the Arctic and how businesses can support Arctic Science and vice versa. At the 2017 Arctic Circle Assembly, these problems were recently discussed.

Current Arctic Expeditions

The International polar Science Committee has created an all-year polar expedition as of 2016. The first year-round expedition of its kind is The Multidisciplinary Drifting Observatory for the Study of Arctic Climate, or MOSAiC. heavily influenced by Fridtjof Nansen’s voyage, which took place between 1893 and 1896. The MOSAiC expedition will run from 2019 to 2020 and collect vital data to aid in the gathering of scientific knowledge about the Arctic and the effects of climate change.


Representatives from the eight Arctic nations of Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia (at the time, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics), Sweden, and the United States of America created the IASC in 1990. In Resolute Bay, Canada, the IASC’s founding documents were signed. With 23 nations currently participating in all facets of Arctic research, including 15 non-Arctic nations (Austria, China, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, and the UK), IASC has developed over time into the foremost international science organization of the North.

The International Arctic Science Committee has contributed, although not acting as a peacemaker like other international bodies. The necessity of collaboration among sovereign governments is related to the role that the IASC has played in world politics. During the Cold War, when the organization was created, tensions between the Soviet Union and the United States were reportedly reduced in the name of science. This made it possible for the IASC to function without fear of tensions rising and jeopardizing the chance to study the Arctic and where scientists from all around the world could collaborate without regard to state allegiance.


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