A flying start for Nordic cryosphere research

The cryosphere - all frozen water on the face of the Earth - is an uncertain factor in global climate models. More research will improve these models – which is the aim of the three Nordic Centres of Excellence funded within the Top-level Research Initiative’s (TRI) cryosphere programme.
 A flying start for Nordic cryosphere research
- The Arctic regions and the cryosphere are described in a static and poor way in the climate models that form the basis for the work of The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), says Magnus Friberg from the Swedish Research Council, Chair of the Programme Committee for the TRI sub-programme Interaction between climate change and the cryosphere.- The common goal for the three Nordic Centres of Excellence is to develop a new and dynamic climate model for the Arctic.

The Programme Committee decided to fund three new Nordic Centres of Excellence (NCoE) in June 2010, NCoE SVALI, NCoE CRAICC and NCoE DEFROST. These centres will receive about 100 million NOK in total over the next five years.

- It has been difficult to link the Arctic to the global climate models, so the researchers simply had to make separate models, which were subsequently entered as a value into the larger models. This means, however, that you lose the dynamics between the Arctic and "the rest of the world," states Friberg. Incorporating the new Arctic model into global climate models will lead to better knowledge on how the global climate will develop in the future.

At a kick-off meeting in Helsinki 31 January and 1 February 2011, it became clear that the Nordic cryosphere research has been given a flying start. - Each centre involves partners from all Nordic countries and several research institutions. The three centers have also established a unique collaboration among themselves. Data collection at places such as Greenland, Svalbard and northern Siberia is very expensive, so the researchers have agreed to share measurement data on for example ice thickness and radiation conditions from these areas. They will also collaborate on the researcher education, and aim to establish a joint academic online journal for Nordic cryosphere research. - We wished that the Centres would share data, but now the researchers have taken this idea and developed it much further, says Friberg enthusiastically.

The three centers will study key areas for understanding the interactions between the global climate and the cryosphere. In addition to the Centre’s broad network of partners from the Nordic region, there are collaborators from the United States, Canada and Russia in the programme. The NCoE programme involves almost 340 researchers overall.

Read more about the NCoEs here

Read more about the sub-programmegramme "Interaction between climate change and the cryosphere" here

Text: Bjarne Røsjø, BR Media.
Photo: Lisa H. Ekli: The NCoEs have already established a unique collaboration. From the left: Torben R. Christensen, Magnus Friberg, Michael Andersson, Jon Ove Hagen, Caroline Leck and Andreas Stohl (Photo is taken at a previous event).

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