RTD info logoMagazine on European Research

  A compendium of European research on land and under the sea

Although in recent years the different phases of the EPICA ice coring programme seem to have focused efforts mostly in Antarctica, European research in polar regions involves both the northern and southern hemispheres.

AICSEX: Arctic Ice Cover Simulation Experiment
This project, coordinated by Ola M. Johannessen, from the Nansen Centre for the Environment and Teledetection in Bergen (Norway), focuses on pack ice and its development through the study of parameters such as surface temperature, the thickness and surface area of sea ice, snow cover and the flow rate of rivers at their mouths. For this research, field observations have been combined with modelling, and in both cases researchers have reached similar conclusions, namely that the surface area of pack ice is regularly shrinking as each summer passes, and that between now and the end of the century, the Arctic Ocean may be totally free of ice, with major consequences for economic and other activities.

To find out more [ http://www.nersc.no/AICSEX/ ]

ASOF-N: Arctic-Subarctic Ocean Flux Array for European Climate - North
Calorie exchanges and water mass transfers between the Arctic Ocean and northern seas are the areas targetted by the scientists coordinated by Ebelhard Farbach from the Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI) in Bremerhaven (Germany). Models and field observations have been used to improve knowledge in this area. It should be noted that an ASOF-W programme (for ‘West’) has also been set up. Field measurements are taken off the south-eastern shores of Greenland, using immersed sounding instruments which pick up data on the currents and salinity of water masses flowing from northern seas into the North Atlantic.

Temperatures measured within the ASOF-N programme by moored instruments in the eastern and central part of the Fram Strait were 2°C warmer in 2004 than in 2003, as well as up to 1.8 °C warmer than the climatological mean for August.
Temperatures measured within the ASOF-N programme by moored instruments in the eastern and central part of the Fram Strait were 2°C warmer in 2004 than in 2003, as well as up to 1.8 °C warmer than the climatological mean for August.

To find out more [ http://www.awi-bremerhaven.de/Research/IntCoop/Oce/ASOF/ ]

GreenICE: Greenland arctic shelf Ice and Climate Experiment
Here again, sea ice is the focus of scientific studies being led by Peter Wadhams from the Scottish Association for Marine Science in Oban (United Kingdom). The aim of this programme is to measure changes to the structure and dynamics of shelf and drifting ice following Arctic oscillations. Additional work is also being carried out using data collected from marine sediments to compare current findings with the past with a view to learning lessons about long-term developments in these areas.

To find out more [ http://www.greenice.org/index.htm ]

CANDIDOZ: Chemical and dynamic influences on decadal ozone changes
This project aims to establish the scientific bases for an advanced system for detecting improvements in stratospheric ozone levels following implementation of the Montreal Protocol and its amendments. This involves long-term studies of data from both polar regions and those at medium latitudes. 

To find out more [ http://fmiarc.fmi.fi/candidoz/ ]

GLIMPSE: Global implications of arctic climate processes and feedback
Klaus Dethloff, from the Alfred Wegener Institute in Potsdam (Germany) is coordinating this programme to identify, compare and model changes to the climate of the Arctic and other regions.

To find out more [ http://www.awi-potsdam.de/www-pot/atmo/glimpse/ ]

EUPLEX: European Polar Stratospheric Cloud and Lee Wave Experiment
This programme aims to test the different hypotheses relating to the depletion of stratospheric ozone concentrations at the North Pole, and in particular the mechanisms underlying the formation of stratospheric polar clouds, their activation and ozone loss.

To find out more [ http://www.nilu.no/euplex/ ]

QUOBI: Quantitative Understanding of Ozone losses by Bipolar Investigations
Balloon-derived precise measurement of reductions in ozone concentrations in the Arctic and Antarctic. The results will then be compared with three-dimensional atmospheric models.

To find out more [ http://www.nilu.no/quobi/ ]

QUILT: Quantification and Interpretation of Long Term UV-Visible Observations of the Stratosphere
Analysis of ozone losses over the past ten years and during the period 2000-2003. This will be achieved by improved analytical methods, consolidating the available data series and integrating them with real-time atmospheric models.

To find out more [ http://nadir.nilu.no/quilt/ ]

Marine sediment cores provide an enormous quantity of data on the history of the Earth's climate, as do ice cores essentially with respect to composition of the atmosphere. The POP project, backed by the 5th European Community Framework Research Programme and led by Nicolas Shackleton (from Cambridge University in the UK) concerns the development of methods which will enable a common timescale for the two types of cores, so as to improve the accuracy of climate models.

To find out more [ http://www-pop.esc.cam.ac.uk/ ]