The Arctic is responding in unknown ways to profound changes in the physical environment as well as to multiple natural and anthropogenic events that place stress on Arctic ecosystems. The scale of the challenges facing the Arctic is immense and is further compounded by the rapid rate of change.
To address the uncertainties generated in the Arctic Ocean by climate change, NERC is investing £16 million in a research programme called “Changing Arctic Ocean: Implications for marine biology and biogeochemistry.” The programme will run over a 5 year period, from 2017 to 2022. The over-arching goal of this programme is:
“To understand how change in the physical environment (ice and ocean) will affect the large-scale ecosystem structure and biogeochemical functioning of the Arctic Ocean, the potential major impacts and provide projections for future ecosystem services.”
The changes happening in the Arctic Ocean are complex and inter-related. The Changing Arctic Ocean (CAO) Programme aims to understand these in a quantifiable way, and has two over-arching Research Challenges to achieve this.
The decision to fund the CAO Programme is both political and scientific. Several documents describe the rationale for this Programme.
The research projects in the Programme have been selected by Announcements of Opportunity that outline two separate funding calls for scientific proposals.
The Changing Arctic Ocean is the second large research Programme funded by NERC. The first was the Arctic Research Programme that ran from 2010 to 2015.
The Programme started in February 2017 with four large projects (Arctic PRIZE, ARISE, ChAOS, DIAPOD), each looking at different aspects of the Changing Arctic Ocean. Combined, the four projects involve 16 UK research institutions and more than 70 scientists. A further 10 research projects will start in April 2018. The projects in this second round will be co-funded by NERC and the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research.
Environmental change in the Arctic Ocean is attracting increasing media attention, reflected by the coverage the CAO Programme receives. Press releases are also published by the CAO Programme on a regular basis to highlight key events and important science emerging from the CAO Programme.
The outreach activities are designed to communicate the Programme’s science to the public. These activities are carried out by the project scientists, technicians and PhD students. They range from public talks to the production of educational materials for school children, and online blogs. More details can be found in the Calendar of Events.
The global importance of Arctic research means interaction with national and international stakeholders is essential. The projects in the CAO Programme communicate the most important scientific findings and outcomes from their work to these stakeholders. This will ultimately benefit evidence-based decision and policy making.
The contact information page provides details for various types of enquiry: general, scientific, requests for data, outreach activities. Members of the Press searching for more information about the Arctic are also welcome to contact us. Specific contact information about each of the UK research institutions can also be found here.
A vast array of Arctic internet resources is available. Here we list those with direct links to the Changing Arctic Ocean Programme.