Researchers at the Department of Environmental Science and Department of Meteorology (MISU) at Stockholm University together with international colleagues have recently launched the new Horizon 2020 project CRiceS (Climate relevant interactions and feedbacks: the key role of sea ice and snow in the polar and global climate system). The CRiceS project aims to contribute knowledge for better understanding of the ocean-ice-snow-atmosphere system and deliver improved models to describe polar- and global climate.
The Arctic and Antarctic regions are experiencing rapid and unprecedented changes due to climate change, clearly caused by anthropogenic activities. 21st century projections show substantial decrease of sea ice in both Arctic and Antarctic, which are expected to impact people in the Arctic and also societies beyond the polar regions.
The CRiceS project brings together 21 international research teams from Europe, Canada, South Africa, India and Russia, which are at the forefront of polar and global climate research. The new project involves an exceptionally broad team of researchers to tackle the role of polar processes within the climate system including climate physics, chemistry, and biology.
“We believe that our integrated approach, including experts on both modeling and observations helps us to understand, not only the polar processes, but also how the polar systems are linked to global climate and society”, states Risto Makkonen, coordinator of the project and research professor at the Finnish Meteorological Institute, Finland.
Improving model predictions
The CRiceS project focuses on improving model predictions of the role of polar processes in the climate system that consists of the oceans, ice and snow cover, and the atmosphere. It is crucial to understand the role of the polar processes, such as feedback loops, in present and future polar and global climate.
“Models are our main tool to understand and predict climate change. CRiceS uses a unique multidisciplinary approach to deliver improved descriptions of polar processes and how they function within the Earth system”, states Jennie Thomas, scientific coordinator of the project and senior research scientist at the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS).
Research for resilience and effective climate action
The project received 8 M€ funding from the EU and will be carried out during 2021-2025. The EU’s Horizon 2020 research programme funds projects that support the transformation to a low-carbon resilient future and the climate actions required by the Paris climate agreement.
The EU has supported polar research extensively by coordinating joint Arctic and Antarctic collaboration initiatives and funding of about 200 M€ on polar research projects in Horizon 2020.
The multidisciplinary team from Stockholm University was allocated 700K € and is planning to use observations from the Arctic on aerosols and aerosol-cloud interactions to improve climate models (with a strong focus on the polar regions).
“CRiceS will use our recent unique observations from the high Arctic to improve key-processes within models, especially those processes related to atmospheric aerosols and clouds. These improvements are needed to better predict the changes occurring within the polar climate,” says Paul Zieger, Associate Professor at the Department of Environmental Science.
Paul Zieger and Annica Ekman, Professor at MISU will jointly lead one of the core science themes, namely CT2: aerosols and clouds, while Zieger will also co-lead Work Package 1 – “Observed ocean-ice/snow-atmosphere processes: improved knowledge and model shortcomings” – together with a colleague from Norway.
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