NOAA Seeks Public Comments on its Draft Arctic Vision and Strategy

May 19, 2010

The Arctic has profound significance for climate and functioning of ecosystems around the globe. Because the region is particularly vulnerable and prone to rapid change, NOAA must position itself to respond with quality products, services, and scientific research. To guide that effort, NOAA has developed an Arctic strategic plan and vision that will be available for public comment through June 10.

The plan will ensure that NOAA takes a strategic approach to emerging environmental, economic, and national security issues in the Arctic. It provides a high-level framework and strategic goals to address NOAA’s highest priorities in the region, including the objective to provide observations, products, and services that will support decision-making in the Arctic. NOAA will also focus on providing information that will help people in the region—defined as the Aleutian Islands north through the Bering Strait and Chukchi and Beaufort seas—to live and work safely, securely, and sustainably.

“The Arctic is experiencing some of the world’s most dramatic and rapidly evolving effects from climate change,” said Monica Medina, principal deputy under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere. “Increasing air and ocean temperatures, thawing permafrost, loss of sea ice, and shifts in ecosystems are evidence of widespread and dramatic ongoing change. Critical environmental, economic, and national security issues are emerging that affect lives and livelihoods in coastal communities and inland areas across the region. NOAA’s diverse capabilities to address these emerging issues are the backbone of the strategy.”

In the plan, NOAA envisions an Arctic where decisions and actions related to conservation, management, and use are based on sound science and support healthy, productive, and resilient communities and ecosystems. Strengthening science is key to improving our understanding and ability to predict the global implications of Arctic change.

NOAA will focus its efforts on six priority goals to realize this vision:

NOAA invites comments on its vision statement, the six goals identified in the draft plan, and the five-year strategies for the Arctic. Views on how NOAA’s work can best support its mission in the Arctic, the key scientific questions to be answered, and partnership opportunities will be valuable in improving the plan and guiding its implementation.

NOAA’s Draft Arctic Strategic plan is available for review online. Comments will be accepted through June 10 via e-mail at, or by mail to:

NOAA Office of Program Planning and Integration
1315 East-West Highway, Room 15749
Silver Spring MD 20910

After the public comment period closes, NOAA will complete the document and begin developing a five-year Arctic Action Plan and a budget.

NOAA’s mission is to understand and predict changes in the Earth's environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and to conserve and manage our coastal and marine resources. Visit us on Facebook.