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2018WCRPspon col July2018 01 1

VKattsov- Cryosphere In a Changing Climate- A Grand Challenge Of Climate Science


A Grand Challenge for WCRP has been defined as something highly specific and focused, and identifying specific barriers preventing progress in a critical area of climate science that can be addressed on a 5 – 10 year timescale. Following these criteria for a Grand Challenge (GC) accepted by WCRP, a number of focused science topics were put forward as immediate priorities for the “Cryosphere in a Changing Climate” GC:

  • A coordinated focus on seasonal, interannual and longer-term predictions and projections of polar climate and the role of cryosphere in climate predictability
  • A more focused analysis of model intercomparison results aimed specifically at understanding and attributing model biases and shortcomings related to cryosphere
  • A focused effort on improving the representation of permafrost and high-latitude land surface, including wetlands, in climate models, with specific emphasis on their role in the global carbon cycle
  • A focused effort on developing ice sheet models, with specific emphasis on the role of ice sheet dynamics on the rate of the SLR

If the grand challenge is achieved, this should lead to improved confidence in climate models and their predictive capabilities, further information about future changes in the cryosphere, which will be relevant to stakeholders, more comprehensive and quality controlled observational variables and better understanding of processes in cryosphere/climate interactions.

CliC could contribute to evaluate and consolidate cryospheric data, enhancing their usefulness to the cryospheric community. There should be some overlap between this grand challenge and the one on sea level rise. CliC needs to facilitate integration of cryosphere models into existing models for atmosphere, ocean, etc...because no such coupling system exists. Tying ice sheets and ice sheet dynamics to climate models is critical to sea level rise prediction.

Presented by Vladimir Kattsov, Voeikov Main Geophysical Observatory, at the 9th CliC Scientific Steering Group meeting in Potsdam, Germany 2013.

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