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Research Rationale

Within this project we would like to address three overarching scientific challenges:

    • The role of the Arctic Ocean in the planet’s heat and freshwater balance.
    • The impacts of global change on Arctic ecosystems.
    • The impact of global economic demands for natural resources on Arctic ecosystem

More specifically, we would like to investigate what will happen to the physics and circulation of the Arctic Ocean when sea ice disappears during the summer and river runoff increases and how the increased availability of sunlight in an ice-free future turns this hostile and relatively unproductive environment into a paradise for some wildlife such as fish, but destroys the habitat of others that rely on the ice, such as walruses and ringed seals? How does this changing environment affect the well-being of top predators on short and long time scales? How does the Arctic changes as an economic resource?

Work Packages

The overall scientific research questions and associated key project outcomes above will be achieved through four work packages on (1) socio-economic and environmental baseline data (2) design of statistical approaches and modeling (3) environmental assessment and (4) risk and response analysis. We outline below further detail on each work package within the context of four research phases. Table 1 below indicates when each work package will take place across the five years.

 

Table 1: Research Timeline

  Phase I Phase II Phase III Phase IV
Socio-economics and Baseline Data X X
Stats Design and Modeling X X X
Environmental Assessment X X X
Risk and Response Analysis X X

 

Work Package (WP) 1: Socio-economics, environmental baseline data gathering and geopolitical context

Outputs in Phase I

      • Horizon scanning exercise[1] with colleagues and collaborators to outline the most pressing questions in Arctic research in form of a conference or workshop.
      • Three state-of-the-art industrial reports on (a) the legislative context and (b) environmental monitoring (c) the geopolitical and security dimensions of energy infrastructure development in the Arctic
      • An active joint project website with named collaborators and sponsors, as well as information about current work and a place to disseminate reports.

Output in Phase II

      • A cost benefit exploration of setting up an international biodiversity offsetting market for energy companies, with some pilot examples

 

Work package 2: Design of statistical approaches and modeling

Output in Phase II

      • A detailed review of statistical approaches and modeling for environmental impact assessment in the Arctic

Output in Phase III

      • A software package for quantifying impact assessment (e.g. displacement if any of sea birds/sea mammals) in the format of website use (plug and play) with simulated data sets

Output in Phase IV

      • A training programme for the fully developed software package

 

Work package 3: Environmental Assessment

Output in Phase II

      • Pilot project results and analysis of telemetry and tagging in 2 test site areas
      • Pilot project: habitat classification and biodiversity analysis

Output in Phase III

      • Full project results and analysis of telemetry, surveying for estimating seabird and sea mammal abundance, as well as assessing habitats type and ecosystem functioning in 4 study areas
      • Assessment of environmental status and geographical distributions;
      • Contribute to the development of the GIS map

 

Work package 4: Risk and response analysis

Output in Phase III

      • Contribute to the development of a GIS map to improve the mapping of land and marine geomorphology and update response plans based on sensitivity and risk.

Output in Phase IV

      • A risk based report on emergency contingency planning
      • The dissemination (commercial and non commercial) the software analysis and training package