New European project investigating Arctic sea-ice cover
On Thursday 13th February, an exciting new project, funded by the European Union’s 7th Framework Programme, is holding its inaugural meeting in Brussels.
ICE-ARC (Ice, Climate, Economics – Arctic Research on Change) will examine and understand the current and future changes in Arctic marine environment. Particular focus is on the impact of the rapid retreat and collapse of Arctic sea-ice cover.
Arctic change impacts the local, regional and global climate through complex coupling mechanisms within the Earth system. However these are not the only changes the Arctic is going through. It is predicted that commercial investment in the Arctic could reach $100bn or more in the coming decade, with oil and gas, mining and the shipping industries being the biggest drivers.
As a result of this complexity it is not possible to look at one aspect of this complex system in isolation; a coupled atmosphere/ cryosphere/ ocean (including marine ecosystem)/economic approach is needed. However no one country has the expertise to cover the enormous spectrum of capabilities required to adequately address change in the Arctic marine environment.
This four-year project brings together physicists, chemists, biologists, economists, and sociologists from 21 institutes from 11 countries across Europe. With a budget of €11.5M we aim to understand and quantify the multiple stresses involved in the change in the Arctic marine environment.
Through this holistic view on Arctic change we will be better placed to quantify the consequences of these changes on the global economy, as well as it impacts on indigenous peoples, climate, and the environment.
The objectives of ICE-ARC include:
- Improved climate prediction for the Arctic Ocean and the reduction of uncertainties in those predictions;
- Improved understanding of climate change impacts on marine ecosystems;
- Assessment of socio-economic vulnerabilities, both to the peoples of the north and to the planet as a whole;
- Improved EU and international Arctic marine policies to cope with the implications of an increasingly ice-free Arctic;
- Improved understanding of the living resources for Arctic human communities;
- Effective policy and management options for societal responses to climate change.
The outcome of the project will be a better understanding of, and ability to predict, Arctic marine change. This will provide an improvement in the scientific baseline for guiding EU and international policies on the protection of the Arctic marine environment, at a time of increased socio-economic pressure, especially in the field of climate change and resource exploitation.
Notes to editors
ICE-ARC (Ice, Climate, Economics – Arctic Research on Change) is a programme funded by the European Union’s 7th Framework Programme (ECGA 603887). It is a 4 year project that started on the 1st January 2014, and will look into the current and future changes in Arctic sea ice – both from changing atmospheric and oceanic conditions. We will also investigate in a robust way, the consequences of these changes both on the economics of the area, and social aspects such as on indigenous peoples. www.ice-arc.eu.
To request an interview with Professor Jeremy Wilkinson or for more information on ICE-ARC and BAS contact Linda Capper, British Antarctic Survey: firstname.lastname@example.org, tel +44 (0)223 221 448.