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PolarRES: Exploring the Future Climate of the Polar Regions 

6 May 2022

With unprecedented warming and a rapidly changing climate, the Polar Regions are in critical danger. These high latitudes are warming up faster than the rest of the world, causing disruptions to the vital ecosystems and physical processes which impact global climate. With a better understanding of how these systems will react to climate change, we can find the answers to combat this global phenomenon.

The Polar Regions play a crucial role in balancing the global climate system, yet there are still critical knowledge gaps regarding the impact of their processes on multiple scales and how they are evolving with climate change. This is hindering efforts made to curb the effects of climate change we already see at play – not only within the Polar Regions, but also in Europe and the rest of the world. Without a proper understanding of how the Polar Regions are impacted by the changing climate, we won’t be able to address the problem.

Thanks to its unique and innovative storylines approach, PolarRES will be able to fully investigate the multiscale nature of the climate problem. With so many factors at play, these storylines will allow for significantly better understanding of how the projected changes in the global circulation influence the climate of the Arctic and Antarctic, and vice versa. The storylines will investigate the impacts of polar climate change on several environmental risks throughout the duration of the project. To be explored in greater detail, these environmental risks include Boreal Forest fires, permafrost thaw, Arctic shipping routes, and radionuclide dispersion in the Arctic, and marine ecosystems in both regions including the Antarctic.

PolarRES will advance our understanding of how the climate of the Arctic and Antarctic will respond to future changes in global circulation. The project will not only study the climate in the Polar Regions, but everything which feeds into it globally, delivering new insights into how the physical and chemical processes, crucial for atmosphere-ocean-ice interactions, can shape the global climate system. Additionally, exploring these processes will help us gain a better understanding of the two-way interactions between the Polar Regions and lower latitudes.

As well as collaborating with fellow researchers and sister projects, we will take advantage of cutting-edge numerical models and advanced satellite products from the European Space Agency’s Earth Observation Programme. And in doing so, enrich our understanding of the interacting nature and feedback of polar processes and their consequences in both regional and global contexts.

“International cooperation is key to assessing climate impacts in the polar regions. It requires a broad range of expertise and infrastructure, which is why it is important to bring together leading experts from all around the world to tackle this problem.”

Priscilla Mooney, climate scientist at NORCE Norwegian Research Centre

By understanding these processes and interactions, PolarRES aims to be part of the solution through exploring the future climate of the Polar Regions. The project will assess how to make climate change projections for the Polar Regions more reliable and build confidence in what these projections mean for society and the environment.

Unified by one common goal, the PolarRES stakeholders aim to find the answers on how we can combat climate change in the Polar Regions in order to ensure the preservation of our global system and a better future.

PolarRES is funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation programmes for a period of 4 years beginning in September 2021. The grant is part of the EU’s policy on supporting the transformation to a low-carbon, resilient future and the climate action that supports the Paris Agreement.