PAG has 10 Principle Science Themes:
Undertake seasonal and interannual ocean observations in the Pacific Arctic Sector where recent maximum sea ice retreat is occurring.
Understanding oceanic and atmospheric processes in the Pacific Arctic, including the feedback loops, are critical to mid-latitude climate variability.
Monitoring fresh water input via precipitation, riverine input, oceanic input, glacial and sea ice melt in the Pacific Arctic sector will improve our understanding of mid-latitude climate variability and provide additional information to support theme 1.
Identify and monitor ecosystem and biological indicators (ice, water column, benthic, higher trophic organisms) of climate change in the Pacific Arctic.
Investigate sea ice thermodynamics including sea ice thickness, extent, and its interactions with ocean and atmospheric forcing in the Pacific Arctic region. Investigate sea ice dynamics such as sea ice drift, interactions between different ice packs.
Understanding the connectivity of warm Atlantic inflow to the Pacific sector, heat flux throughout Arctic, and associated biodiversity/invasion of Atlantic-species into the region. Physical gateways should be mapped and monitored, including outflow through the Canadian Arctic Archipelago.
The Arctic Ocean is very poorly mapped from the seafloor to the ice above. Significant information gaps include the bathymetry, biodiversity, and knowledge of ocean currents and their variabililty over space and time. Exploration of the unknown Pacific Arctic region is essential for the construction of base maps necessary for the planning of future monitoring efforts.
The Pacific water inflow through the Bering Strait region is a key conduit for heat, salt, nutrients, and biological material (including genetic material) to the Arctic basin that influences sea ice cover, halocline formation, and the carbon cycle.
Nearshore coastal processes and subsea permafrost dynamics are important processes in the shallow Pacific shelf areas are subject to climate change impacts.
The open and closing of the Pacific gateway has occurred over geological time periods with dramatic impact on the Arctic system. The paleorecord provides a long-term record for comparative evaluation of climatic processes relative to contemporary studies in prior themes.