The main objective of the research pillar “Arctic Climate” is to understand the special processes in the Arctic that are central in order to understand global temperature changes (Pillar 1). This includes the feedback mechanisms that accelerate Arctic warming and the interaction between Arctic and global climate change including the role of the Arctic as sentinel for global climate change. The main question is how and whether these feedback processes are accelerating the climate change in general and how the teleconnection to the global climate system is linked. This is especially important now when we are approaching sea ice-free summers in the Arctic Ocean giving rise to increased human activities in the Arctic as oil prospection, new shipping routes to Asia and mining. It is of special interest for the Kingdom of Denmark related to territorial interests in the Arctic Ocean and Greenland.
The research focuses on the physical, chemical and biological processes important for climate change in the Arctic. Long measurement time series exists for the Arctic and especially the possibility of carrying out new experiments e.g. at the new large infrastructure at the Villum Research Station will be central for the Centre. We use field measurements, laboratory experiments, monitoring data, climate models and atmospheric chemistry transport modelling of short-lived climate forcers (e.g. black carbon, ozone, and methane) and CO2. Focus is on the natural environments including the North Atlantic and Arctic Ocean, the circum-Greenland coastal waters and sediments, freshwater environments, dry fens, low nutrient areas in the Arctic like stones and the surface of the Greenlandic ice sheet.
We carry out research e.g. related to the importance of the teleconnection for the global climate system including heat transport to the Arctic and heating within the Arctic as well as investigate the climate amplifications including the melting cryosphere, changing albedo and layering of the lower atmosphere. Focus is also on feedback between air pollution and climate with a possible climate runaway including long-range transport and changing atmospheric Arctic processes in the air, sea, ice and biosphere and the impacts of microbiology on e.g. the sea ice albedo, greenhouse gas exchange, and cloud formation.