Combining climate and social science in local communities
Mark the name ARCPATH, a new Nordic Centre of Excellence on Artic research. The interdisciplinary research centre focuses on predicting climate in the Arctic and its impacts.
”The most interesting thing will be the interdisciplinarity. But it might also be a challenge”, Yongqi Gao says. He is research director at the Nansen Centre and a professor at Bjerknes Centre, and will be the director of the new Nordic Centre of Excellence starting up this year.
Some days before Christmas Gao and his team received the very welcome message that their center ARCPATH will be funded as a Nordic Centre of Excellence on Arctic Research. ARCPATH is funded by 28 MNOK from NordForsk as one of four new Nordic Centres of Excellence, lasting for five years.
Human welfare in the Arctic
“Loss of sea ice in particular has a direct and immediate consequence for Arctic communities in the form of increased shipping and oil and gas exploration, together with direct and indirect effects on fisheries and marine mammals.
ARCPATH has an overarching goal of fostering responsible and sustainable development in the arctic, and “ARCPATH will use tools and approaches from both the natural and social sciences to create a truly interdisciplinary project that will link climate predictions with impacts on human activities through the analysis and assessment of climate-induced risk and opportunities, citing the application.
The basic idea is to assess the climate impact by improved climate prediction for the Arctic. The ARCPATH will look at coastal communities on eastern Greenland and northern Iceland and how changes in climate might have consequenses for these coastal communities regarding fisheries, tourism, increased shipping and industrial activities and distribution of marine mammals. An ”increase in understanding of how changes in climate interact with multiple societal factors” for the North Atlantic Arctic, are some of the expected results.
Prediction for the near future
The ARCPATH Centre of Excellence is yet another part in the evolving climate prediction field at the Bjerknes Centre. Yongqi Gao plays an active part in the development of a climate prediction capability for Norway, contributing both to the EPOCASA and GREENICE projects.
In the ARCPATH, the centre will be set up for five years. And the climate prediction they are aiming for is for the near future, meaning the decade 2020-2030. The centre ending right at the start of their prediction.
“Climate prediction is challenging and complicated, but I still find the interdisciplinarity most challenging. We come from very different disciplines, so we will need to use some time to communicate between our groups”, Gao says.