Servicio de Información Comunitario sobre Investigación y Desarrollo - CORDIS

Dissemination of results from oceanographic measurements in the Ocean between northern Norway, Spitsbergen and Greenland to decision takers

The region covered by the ASOF-N includes some of the most productive fishing grounds of the world, where environmental changes have direct effects on the growth, recruitment, distribution, migration and food consumption of commercial fish stocks, and where a sustainable fishery is of central importance for the social and economic conditions of nations. The need is for a reliable system of environmental change monitoring to use in developing a predictive capability, which will reliably anticipate changes in fish-stocks.

The Barents Sea for example is a high latitude ecosystem that is heavily depending on the inflow of Atlantic water from the south. Recent current measurements show a great variability of heat flux to the Barents Sea, which has consequences for the marine ecosystem. The heat flux has impact on species composition, distribution and migration of commercially important fish species. In addition the heat flux also determines the possibility of a Northern Sea route and the exploitation of natural resources (fossil fuel).

It is therefore important to continue scientific activities to monitor this flow in order to investigate how it is related to climate variability and change. At the same time it is of prime importance to disseminate the scientific results and their implications to politicians and stake holders like fisheries organisations and the general public.

Current status:
ASOF-N data were compared with models and used for the preparation of information of ASOF-N results in a layman language. ASOF-N is an excellent example where observations and model results support each other in a very positive way: observations are used to validate model results and on the other hand, models are important tools for explaining variability in the observations. The results of ASOF-N therefore support the requirements for data derived both from mathematical models and observational data.

In addition information on ASOF-N results were supplemented by results from related projects (ECOBE; ProClim and NESSAS) with financial support from the Research Council of Norway. These results were presented in layman language to fisheries organisation as talks, newspaper articles and in form of a leaflet that was distributed during an Aquaculture exhibition through IMR, Norway. Scientific results on the effect of the changing climate on the marine ecosystem were also presented to the Norwegian Ministry of Fisheries during an oral presentation. In addition results on climate variability and its link to ecosystem development have been conveyed to the general public especially students and high school teachers during lectures given at universities and schools.

Results from ASOF-N and the EU-funded preceding projects VEINS and MAIA also gave background information to the scientific report from the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment (ACIA) published in 2005. ACIA is an international project of the Arctic Council and the International Arctic Science Committee (IASC), to evaluate and synthesize knowledge on climate variability, climate change, and increased ultraviolet radiation and their consequences. The Arctic Council is a high level intergovernmental forum of the following member states: Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, the Russian Federation, Sweden, and the United States of America.

The ASOF-N results are included into reports to ICES (the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea), which gives advice to the member countries and helps them manage the North Atlantic Ocean and adjacent seas. The results are included in a few reports presented at different ICES working groups like Working Group on Oceanic Hydrography (WGOH) and Arctic Fishery Working Group (AFWG ), and during the last two years also included in ICES assessment reports.

The communication of scientific results based on measurements in the Arctic as well as on predictive models to decision takers is a central requirement for anticipating and mitigating the regional effects of global warming.

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