Arctic Tipping Points
Start date: Feb 1, 2009,
End date: Jan 31, 2012
The broad interdisciplinary consortia assembled in the Arctic Tipping Points (ATP) project will be managed (WP1) to identify the elements of the Arctic marine ecosystem likely to show abrupt changes in response to climate change, and establish the levels of the corresponding climate drivers inducing the regime shift for these tipping elements. ATP will evaluate the consequences of crossing those tipping points, and the associated risks and opportunities for economic activities dependent on the Arctic marine ecosystem. Historical records of Arctic climate change and projections of future changes in Arctic sea climate and ice systems are compiled (WP2), and time series of Arctic ecosystem components analysed using novel statistical tools to detect regime shifts and ecological thresholds and tipping points, and evaluate their sensitivity to climatic forcing (WP3). Experimental manipulations and comparative analyses across broad climatic ranges will be used to detect climatic thresholds and tipping points of Arctic organisms and ecosystems, using genome-wide analyses to develop genomic markers of climate-driven stress useful as early-warning indicators of the proximity of tipping points (WP4). A biological-physical coupled 3 D model will be used to generate future trajectories of Arctic ecosystems under projected climate change scenarios and to identify their consequences for the Arctic ecosystem (WP5). The impacts of abrupt changes in the Arctic ecosystems for activities of strategic importance for the European Arctic and the associated impacts on employment and income will be elucidated, and policies and legislative frameworks to adapt and mitigate these impacts will be analysed (WP 6). The effectiveness of possible alternative, post-Kyoto policies and stabilization targets in avoiding climate-driven thresholds in the Arctic ecosystem will be examined, and the results and projections will be conveyed to policy makers, economic sectors and the public in general (WP7).
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