United Kingdom: projects/activities

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Displaying: 1 - 12 of 12
1. Arctic-subarctic Ocean Flux-Array for European Climate: West

-To measure the variability of the dense water and freshwater fluxes between the Arctic Ocean and the North Atlantic in the critical region off Southeast Greenland with a view to understanding and predicting their response to climate forcing -To construct an autonomous, bottom mounted profiling device capable of taking key water profile measurements.

Marine Technology Climate variability Climate change Ocean currents Temporal trends
2. Greenland Arctic Shelf Ice and Climate Experiment

-Quantify changes in ice dynamics and characteristics resulting from the switch in AO phase -Establish a climate record for the region north of Greenland through the retrieval and analysis of sediment cores -Improve an existing dynamic-thermodynamic sea ice model, focusing on the heavily deformed ice common in the region -Relate the region-specific changes which have occurred to the larger-scale Arctic variablity pattern -Place the recent ice and climate variability for this critical region into the context of long term climate record, as reconstructed from sediment cores

Climate variability Climate Sea ice Environmental management Climate change Modelling Ice Arctic Ice cores Temporal trends
3. Global Climate Change, Faunal Invasion And Succession In High arctic Ecosystems : Implications For Ecosystem Function.

Prof. I.D. Hodkinson Dr. S.J. Coulson School of Biological & Earth Sciences, Liverpool John Moores University, Byrom St., Liverpool L3 3AF, UK (Contact details: Tel. 0151 2312030 Fax. 0151 207 3224 email i.d.hodkinson@livjm.ac.uk; s.j.coulson@livjm.ac.uk) Prof. N.R. Webb NERC Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, Winfrith Technology Centre, Dorchester, Dorset, DT2 8ZD, (Contact details: email nrw@ceh.ac.uk) Objectives and Hypotheses Our main objectives are to:  describe, measure and model patterns and rates of invertebrate community development and succession following glacial retreat in the high Arctic using known chronosequences.  cross-relate rates of community change to known climatic shifts.  relate invertebrate community development to rates of key ecological processes such as decomposition of organic matter.  evaluate the potential for more southerly species successfully to invade existing Arctic invertebrate communities.  develop descriptive and predictive models of community development under conditions of climatic amelioration. We are testing the following hypotheses:  that dispersal of particular functional groups of invertebrates in response to climate warming is a rate-limiting factor for invertebrate succession and community development in the high Arctic.  that invertebrate community development in response to climatic warming is deterministic and directional, and therefore predictable.  that the magnitude and stability of key ecosystem processes, such as decomposition, in the high Arctic are linked to biotic complexity, which can be suitably characterised by the invertebrate community composition.  that natural succession provides a useful model for predicting rates of invasion by colonising species following climatic amelioration. Study sites Studies on two contrasting but complementary chronosequences on west Spitsbergen commenced in June 2000, an oligotrophic succession on t he glacial foreland of Midtre Lovénbre and a relatively eutrophic succession on Lovénøyene, a series of islands in Kongsfjord. A 1.5 km transect was established, extending from the foot of the Midtre Lovénbre to the terminal moraines and across the sandur. Seven equally spaced sampling sites (approx 20 x 40 m) were established at right angles to the main transect line). Each site was chosen to represent the most mature vegetation type present at each point. By contrast, each Lovénøy was viewed as a separate sample site. The chronology of glacial 'retreat' was established from vertical and oblique aerial and ground based photographs held by the Norsk Polarinstitutt Archive, Tromsø, from historical records and ground photographs and, for the oldest site, by radiocarbon dating of the soil. Results Ages of sites: The ages of the sites from the Midtre Lovénbre sequence vary between 2 years (site one) to 1900 (site seven), while the islands vary between 100 (Leirholmen) to 1800 (Storholmen). Plant community description and soil formation A detailed description has been made in the changes in the plant community (18 taxa) from site 1-7 on the Lovénbre - from unconsolidated parent to almost 100% ground cover. The presence, abundance and dynamics of each species have been described. Species have been characterised as early, mid or late successional. Parallel trends occur in soil characteristics including increasing depth, increasing organic matter and water content, decreasing clast size and a lowering of pH. Animal community description The soil fauna comprise primarily Collembola, mites, Enchytraeidae and chironomid larvae. Herbivores (one aphid and sawfly larvae) are few but hymenopteran parasitoids and predators (spiders and gamasid mites) are abundant. The distribution patterns of species and their abundances have been quantified for both the Lovénbre and Lovénøyene chronosequnces. The very first colonisers of bare moraines are Linyphiid spider species (predators). Other early soil colonisers are generally the surface active species such as the collembolan Isotoma anglicana. The poorest colonisers are the deep soil dwelling species. Experiments are thus underway examining wind blown dispersal and survival on seawater. A cellular automaton model, using absolute density and pitfall trap is being used to simulate diffusion dispersal of soil animals. A set of unusual weather conditions in late July produced a mass immigration of a small moth Plutella xylostella into Svalbard. This chance event has allowed us to track in detail the movement of associated weather systems and to reconstruct the direction and source of immigrants. Such events are rare but may become increasingly frequent as climate changes, opening a closed gateway for animals from further south to move into the Arctic. Continuing work Current visit (late July/early August) is aimed at collecting supporting information on the plant cover and microhabitat characteristics for manuscripts in preparation.

Climate change
4. Climate Change and Competitive Interactions

The effects of climate change in a dynamic competitive interaction between two or more species can be bought about either as direct responses of species to change or indirectly through effects on competing species. Intertidal barnacles are ideal model organisms to test these alternative causal mechanisms, being easily censussed and directly competing for space. Single- and multi- species models will be developed for barnacles in SW England to determine whether direct or indirect mechanisms better predict responses to change. The models will include functions for space-limitation, environmental influence and, in the latter models, functions for interspecific competition. Historical data from a network of sites collected over a 40-year period will be used to develop and test the models.

Climate variability Spatial trends Climate change Biodiversity Temporal trends Ecosystems
5. Phosphorus Cycling in the Cryosphere

This project will construct detailed phosphorus budgets for polar catchments occupied by glaciers and freshwater systems undergoing rapid response to climate warming. These are Midre Lovenbreen, Svalbard; Jebsen Creek, Signy Island (maritime Antarctic) and Storglaciaren, northern Sweden. The relationship between meltwater production, pathway and phosphorus liberation from glacial sediments will be examined closely. Emphasis will be given to phosphorus sorption dynamics in turbid glacial streams and their receiving waters (fjords and lakes).

Glaciers Catchment studies Phosphorus Climate change Arctic Geochemistry Ecosystems
6. Arctic islands of genetic diversity or fragments of an ancient clone

Arctic islands of genetic diversity or fragments of an ancient clone. The history and future of Dryas octopetala in a changing environment.

Biological effects Climate change
7. Late Holocene and Shallow Marine Environments of Europe (HOLSMEER)

1. To generate high-resolution quantitative palaeoceanographic/palaeoclimatic data from NE Atlantic coastal/shelf sites for the last 2000 years using a multidisciplinary approach 2. To develop novel palaeoclimatic tools for shallow marine settings by (i) calibrating the proxy data against instrumental datasets, (ii) contributing to transfer function development, and (iii) then to extrapolate back beyond the timescale of the instrumental data using the palaeoclimate record 3. To investigate the link between late Holocene climate variability detected in the shelf/coastal regions of western Europe and the variability of the oceanic heat flux associated with the North Atlantic thermohaline circulation, and to compare such variability with existing high-resolution terrestrial proxies to help determine forcing mechanisms behind such climate change 4. To lay a foundation for the identification of hazards and resources linked with, or forced by, such climate change.

Geology Climate variability Spatial trends Environmental management Climate change palaeoceanographic/palaeoclimatic Modelling anthropogenic Geochemistry Sediments Temporal trends
8. Marine biodiversity and climate change (MARCLIM)

1. To use a combination of archival and contemporary data to develop and test hypotheses on the impact of climatic change on rocky intertidal animals and plants. 2. Forecast future community changes based on Met. Office Hadley centre models and UKCIP models. 3. Establish a low-cost fit-for-purpose network to enable regular updates of climatic impact projections. 4. Assess and report likely consequences of predicted changes on coastal ecosystems. To provide general contextual time-series data to support marine management and monitoring. 5. Evaluate use of intertidal indicator species as sustainability indices. Disseminate the results as widely as possible. 6. Provide a basis for the development of a pan-European monitoring network.

Climate variability Spatial trends Environmental management Climate change Biodiversity Temporal trends Ecosystems
9. UK Marine environmental change network

1. Establish a network to measure environmental change in marine waters by undertaking long-term research and monitoring 2. Maintain and enhance existing long-term research programmes 3. Restart important discontinued long-term research programmes 4. Develop a quality controlled database of long-term marine data series 5. Deliver and interpret long-term and broad scale contextual information to inform water quality monitoring 6. Demonstrate the benefits of preserving and networking long-term time series programmes

Biological effects Mapping Climate variability Environmental management Climate change Modelling Biodiversity Data management
10. Deep Water Observing System II

1. To develop a deep water observation system 2. Detailed design document, workplan and risk register and reviewed and agreed by steering group, procurement of components. 3. Deep water tests of acoustic communications system performed. pilot data dissemination and archival system. Dry test DWOS -1 4. Deployment in near lab test environment eg. Dunstaffnage bay with regular inspections. Collect, analyse, disseminate and archive sensor and house keeping data 5. Deploy in exposed but coastal stratified site in western Irish Sea, with two visual inspections. Collect, analyse, disseminate and archive sensor and house keeping data. Liaison with Met Office regarding deployment logistics. 6. Six months Deployment at Deep Water site; Collect, analyse, disseminate and archive sensor and house keeping data; Distribute data to customers. Revisit mooring site after six months recover and redeploy. 7. Final Technical Report and Final Project Report: Second six months Deployment at Deep Water site (as decreed by steering group); Collect, analyse, disseminate and archive sensor and house keeping data. Analysis of complete data handling chain performed; impact of data on customer base assessed, recommendations for continuance of DWOS as an operational system.

Hydrography Mapping Climate variability Climate Spatial trends Environmental management Climate change Modelling Oceanography Data management Ocean currents Temporal trends
11. Remote sensing of the radiative properties of arctic aerosols at solar and thermal infrared wavelengths and retrieval of aerosol microphysical properties

The current scientific knowledge does not allow estimating accurately the surface radiative forcing caused by tropospheric aerosols and their influence on the evolution of the Earth climate. The radiative forcing depends on the optical properties of the aerosols at solar and thermal infrared wavelengths. These optical properties depend, in turn, on the chemical composition and size of the aerosols. Remote sensing with passive radiation sensors operating in the above-mentioned spectral ranges allows to measure the optical properties of the aerosols and to characterise their temporal variability. These data are needed for regional climate simulations of the Arctic, particularly for delineating the impact of the Arctic haze phenomenon. In this project, a synergetic effort will be made to obtain information about the radiative and microphysical properties of springtime arctic aerosols. Therefore, a polarisation-spectrometer for the solar spectral range, which is currently developed at the Free University of Berlin as a variant of the FUBISS spectrometer, will be operated from the surface in coincidence with the Fourier Transform InfraRed-spectrometer (FTIR) installed at Ny-Aalesund by the AWI. The former instrument measures the intensity and polarisation of the scattered solar radiation from the visible to the near-infrared. The latter measures the radiation emitted by the Atmosphere itself in the thermal infrared window region. Together, they thus provide a wealth of information about the aerosol optical properties at the interesting wavelengths (spectral optical depth, single-scattering albedo, and asymmetry factor of the phase function), which will allow inferring the aerosol microphysical properties. Complementary measurements of the aerosol microphysical properties will be provided by an aerosol volatility analyser, which is maintained by the University of Leeds and will also be brought to Ny-Aalesund. This instrument comprises a fast response scanning volatility system and an optical particle counter. From the thermal response of the aerosol number and the change in the size distribution conclusions can be inferred about the chemical composition and the state of mixing of aerosols as a function of size.

Aerosols Atmospheric processes Arctic haze FTIR Climate variability Climate Climate change Arctic Atmosphere Troposphere
12. Halocarbons in the atmosphere

The objectives are: 1. to monitor in near-real time the levels of a whole suite of halocarbons (both biogenic and anthropogenic) ranging through CFCs, HCFCs, and HFCs using an adsorption/desorption system coupled to a GC/MS system not using liquid cryogens. 2.The system will be installed (April 2000) at the Ny-Alesund, Zeppelin Research Station and will be operated and owned by NILU (Dr. N.SChmidbauer). 3. Comparisons will be made with the data obtained (since Oct. 1994) on similar compounds from the Mace Head (Ireland) station which uses similar instrumentation, and the Jungfraujoch Station (Jan 2000) operated by EMPA (Dr. Stefan Reimann). 4. Data will be compared to the Southern Hemisphere data collected at Cape Grimm, Tasmania by CSIRO (Dr. P. Fraser) 5. Data will be used to model the dispersion of the halocarbons in the high latitudes and possible consequences for radiative forcing.

Atmospheric processes Sources Long-range transport Contaminant transport Climate change Halocarbons Emissions Anthropogenic Arctic Persistent organic pollutants (POPs) Local pollution Atmosphere Biogenic