Impacts of a Warming Arctic: Arctic Climate Impact Assessment (ACIA) Overview Report

Impacts of a Warming Arctic (2004)

Geographical coverage

Geographical scale of the assessment Regional
Country or countries covered Canada, Denmark, Greenland, Russia, Iceland, Norway, United States, Finland, Faroe Islands, Sweden
Any other necessary information or explanation for identifying the location of the assessment, including site or region name


Conceptual framework, methodology and scope

Assessment objectives

The 2004 Arctic Climate Impact Assessment (ACIA) was prepared in response to a request from the Ministers of the Arctic Council, and is a follow-up to a preliminary evaluation of Arctic climate change issues included in the 1997/98 AMAP assessment.

The objective of the ACIA - as defined in the Arctic Council Ministers 'Barrow Declaration' - was “to evaluate and synthesize knowledge on climate variability and change and increased ultraviolet radiation, and support policy-making processes and the work of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).” ACIA should address “environmental, human health, social, cultural, and economic impacts and consequences, including policy recommendations.”

Mandate for the assessment

The assessment was produced by the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme (AMAP), the Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna (CAFF) both Arctic Council working groups, and the International Arctic Science Committee (IASC). More than 250 scientists and six circumpolar indigenous peoples’ organisations participated in the ACIA.

ACIA was the first comprehensive multi-disciplinary assessment of the impacts of climate change in the Arctic. ACIA was also a milestone in that it was the first Arctic Council assessment to comprehensively include social science as well as natural science components - to assess the imacts of climate change on socio-economic conditions in the Arctic. Results of the ACIA were fed into the IPCC fourth assessment process and were instrumental in raising the profile of Arctic Climate Change issues in the UNFCCC and subsequent IPCC work.

Conceptual framework and/or methodology used for the assessment

URL or copy of conceptual framework developed or adapted

System(s) assessed

Species groups assessed

Ecosystem services/functions assessed



Supporting Services/Functions

Cultural Services

Scope of assessment includes

Drivers of change in systems and services


Impacts of change in services on human well-being


Options for responding/interventions to the trends observed


Explicit consideration of the role of biodiversity in the systems and services covered by the assessment


Timing of the assessment

Year assessment started

Year assessment finished

If ongoing, year assessment is anticipated to finish

Periodicity of assessment

Assessment outputs


Communication materials (e.g. brochure, presentations, posters, audio-visual media)

Journal publications

Training materials

Other documents/outputs

Tools and processes

Tools and approaches used in the assessment

Process used for stakeholder engagement in the assessment process and which component

Key stakeholder groups engaged

The number of people directly involved in the assessment process

Incorporation of scientific and other types of knowledge

Supporting documentation for specific approaches, methodology or criteria developed and/or used to integrate knowledge systems into the assessment

Assessment reports peer reviewed



Accessibility of data used in assessment

Policy impact

Impacts the assessment has had on policy and/or decision making, as evidenced through policy references and actions

Independent or other review on policy impact of the assessment


Lessons learnt for future assessments from these reviews

Capacity building

Capacity building needs identified during the assessment

Actions taken by the assessment to build capacity

How have gaps in capacity been communicated to the different stakeholders

Knowledge generation

Gaps in knowledge identified from the assessment

How gaps in knowledge have been communicated to the different stakeholders

Additional relevant information