The goal of the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment (ACIA) is to evaluate and synthesize knowledge on climate variability, climate change, and increased ultraviolet radiation and their consequences. The aim is to provide useful and reliable information to the governments, organizations and peoples of the Arctic on policy options to meet such changes. Climate variability and change, and more recently, notable increases in UV radiation, have become important issues in the Arctic over the past few decades. The ACIA will examine possible future impacts on the environment and its living resources, on human health, and on buildings, roads and other infrastructure. Such an assessment is expected to lead to the development of fundamental and useful information for the nations of the Arctic region, their economy, resources, and peoples.

The assessment will be open and transparent, and the review of its conclusions is intended to be credible and rigorous; also, the degree of uncertainty of the conclusions will be made clear. Three major volumes will be completed in 2004; they are a peer-reviewed scientific volume, a synthesis document summarizing results, and a policy document providing recommendations for coping and adaptation measures. Broad participation of experts from many different disciplines and countries is anticipated. The writing of these documents will be done by lead and contributing authors guided by an Assessment Steering Committee (ASC) with representatives from AMAP (Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Program), CAFF (Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna) and IASC (International Arctic Science Committee), as well as persons representing the Arctic indigenous peoples.

The US is the lead country for this effort and representatives from NSF and NOAA will also be members of the ASC. Its chairman is Dr. Robert Corell from the US and the Vice-Chair is Dr. Pal Prestrud from Norway. An ACIA Secretariat will be established at the International Arctic Research Center of the University of Alaska Fairbanks and funds for it will be provided by both NSF and NOAA. Additional contributions to the ACIA are expected from other Arctic countries. Close ties will be maintained with the group conducting a similar regional assessment as part of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) but it is expected that the ACIA will provide considerably more detail on the expected impacts.