Projecting future change in the Arctic Ocean

  • Dr Johan Faust, ChAOS
  • Dr Johan Faust, ChAOS
  • Dr Johan Faust, ChAOS

The main goal of the Changing Arctic Ocean Programme is to understand how the Arctic Ocean functions in a quantitative way. This information feeds into models that determine how the Arctic Ocean will react to change. These future projections are important because they help refine decision-making processes.

The Arctic Ocean is a vastly complex system with poorly understood interactions between the physical environment, defined by the presence of sea-ice and extreme annual seasonal cycles, and the ecosystem and biogeochemical cycles. To model this system in any meaningful way necessitates a solid understanding of key aspects of the ecosystem and the biogeochemical cycles that operate in the Arctic Ocean. This is an inherent component of the four large projects in the Programme, which are generating the data to test and develop the computer models further.

The models used in the programme are diverse in terms of the spatial and temporal scales they cover, the components of the marine system they are aiming to replicate, and the research questions they address. A summary of the models is presented below.

ModelTypeSpatial domainProjectContact
MEDUSA-2Biogeochemical; component of UK Earth System ModelGlobalARISE
BRNSDiagenetic Model (benthic reaction-transport model) Barents Sea shelf and slopeChAOSSandra Arndt
“BRNSlight”Numerically efficient encapsulation (ANN) of the BRNS for regional applications/ coupling to pelagic modelsBarents Sea shelf and slope, and planned Pan-ArcticChAOSSandra Arndt
PISCESBiogeochemical, focus on isoscapePan-ArcticARISEAlessandro Tagliabue
PRIZE Phytoplankton modelNPZD (biogeochemical, focus on plankton)Lagrangian testbeds on Barents, Bering, Chukchi shelvesPRIZENeil
StrathCalSpatial demography of a copepod populationRange of C. finnmarchicusDIAPODDougie Speirs
ColtraneIndividual-based, trait-based representation of Calanus complexPan-ArcticDIAPODNeil
Seal population modelsIndividual-based, statisticalEast Greenland, Barents ShelfARISESophie Smout


Synthesis analysisSpatial domainProjectContact
Calanus lipid pump estimationNorth Atlantic – Arctic BasinDIAPODMike Heath
Sigrún Jónasdóttir
Horizontal and vertical carbon fluxes through the planktonTBDChAOS
Christian März
Neil Banas

More information about the models applied in the individual projects is available below.