Norwegian Polar Institute participates in two Nordic Centres of Excellence

By involving researchers and enterprise and by gathering their brightest minds, the Nordic countries aim to help solve the challenges related to global climate change. The Top-level Research Initiative is the biggest joint Nordic research and innovation venture to date.

A glacier in Svalbard

A glacier in Svalbard. Photo: Norwegian Polar Institute

The Top-level Research Inititive (TRI) is a Nordic research initiative focusing on climate, environment and energy. TRI is the largest joint Nordic research and innovation initiative to date. The initiative consists of six sub-programmes, including "Interaction between climate change and the cryosphere," whose goals include strengthening Arctic research cooperation, both in the Nordic region and internationally, improving models linking climate change and the cryosphere, and providing results for infrastructure risk assessments. The call for proposals in October 2009 resulted in the establishment of three Nordic Centres of Excellence. Researchers from the Norwegian Polar Institute are involved in two of these centres.

– We are convinced that these centres will conduct word-class research and generate considerable added value for Nordic research in this area, says chairman of the programme comittee, Magnus Friberg.

NCoE CRAICC: Cryosphere-Atmosphere Interactions in a Changing Arctic Climate

Traditionally, an increase in the warming of the Arctic has been explained by the so-called ice–albedo feedback. NCoE CRAICC will expand on this theory to include the role that society and human activity play in interactions and feedback mechanisms of the Arctic climate system. The centre will focus on short-lived pollutants and aerosol–cloud interactions and their connection to changes in the cryosphere.

The Norwegian Polar Institute will contribute to this research network in several ways: knowledge and measurements of radiation and black carbon levels from the Zeppelin Station in Ny-Ålesund and the Troll Station in Antarctica (Johan Ström);measurement of albedo in snow both in and around Svalbard (Christina Pedersen); and various types of records from ice cores drilled on glaciers around Svalbard. (Elisabeth Isaksson). In total, 17 different research groups from the Nordic countries are participating, and 18 field stations are part of the network. The main coordinator for this programme is Markku Kulmala from the University of Helsinki.

NcoE SVALI: Stability and Variations of Arctic Land Ice

The aim of this research programme is to gain a better understanding of glaciological processes responsible for the ongoing changes in ice volume of Arctic glaciers, and to understand the impact this will have on society. NCoE SVALI will constitute a platform for joint process studies, analyses, sharing of methods, researcher training and outreach activities to spread information about the scientific results. Researchers will study basic processes using remote sensing, airborne and in-situ measurements, and carry out advanced Earth System modeling, with focus on glaciers in the Arctic and the Northern Atlantic area. Ultimately, the centre will form a common foundation for international collaboration of Nordic scientists in cryospheric research.

The Norwegian Polar Institute will contribute with long time-series of glacier mass balance of three glaciers in the Ny-Ålesund area (Jack Kohler). The main coordinator for this programme is Professor Jon Ove Hagen from the University in Oslo.