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Climate-Ocean nexus: a deep dive into JPI-funded research

The JPI Climate and JPI Oceans-funded projects from the joint call "Next Generation Climate Science in Europe for Oceans" are reaching completion at the end of May 2024. Their final meeting took place at the JPI Oceans Secretariat office in Brussels on 29 April 2024, with participants from the four consortia joining in person and online.

Climate-Ocean nexus: a deep dive into JPI-funded research

  • 27 May 2024

In a collaborative effort with JPI Climate, this Joint Action launched in 2019 funded research on ocean-climate interactions, targeted at improving climate models and informing climate change adaptation policies in Europe. National funders from France, Belgium, Germany, Portugal, Latvia, Ireland, Iceland, Italy and Norway participated in the call, providing a total of around 8.6 million Euros of funding. 

A call for research proposals, coordinated under the lead of the Agence Nationale de la Recherche in France, resulted in four funded projects, MEDLEY, ROADMAP, EUREC4A-OA and CE2COAST, which kicked off in September 2020. Notwithstanding obstacles and delays due to COVID-19, the projects conducted research over the following four years on the interactions between oceans and climate by analysing model simulations and observational data. In doing so, they enhanced our understanding of upper ocean variability and dynamics and will ultimately improve the performance of climate models. The results of these projects also have potential to inform policy measures to increase resilience and adaptation for vulnerable areas, especially in coastal and low island areas.   

The meeting presented the opportunity for researchers and funders to present and discuss project outcomes, exchange views on uncovered research gaps, and review project dissemination and impact measures.  

Professor Gerhard Krinner, Director of Research and Senior Scientist at the CNRS in Grenoble, France, joined the meeting for a keynote intervention, highlighting the key findings of the European Commission’s Next Frontier for Climate Change Science report and a collection of insights from the authors of the IPCC 6th assessment report on knowledge gaps. This report identifies 52 research gaps, grouped into 11 clusters. During his speech, Prof. Krinner also addressed priorities for research in climate change science, such as maximising the impact of EU-funded research and building bridges across natural and social scientific domains. He highlighted the prominent role of adaptation and climate resilient development, along with equity and justice as key enablers of climate action. 

The coordinators of the consortia then presented each project, summarising the scientific findings and engagement with stakeholders. The MEDLEY project reported back on the spatial heterogeneity of the ocean mixed layer dynamics in the Global Ocean, the Labrador Sea and under sea ice. This project generated new datasets from observations for model validation and overall improved accuracy and consistency of how mixed layer heterogeneity can be represented in climate modelling. The ROADMAP project contributed to a better understanding of the influence of North Atlantic and North Pacific Ocean surface variability on the extratropical atmospheric circulation, with a focus on high-impact weather and climate extremes under present-day and future climate conditions. The EUREC4A-OA project worked on improving the representation of small-scale nonlinear ocean-atmosphere interactions in climate models by innovative joint observing and modelling approaches. Lastly, the CE2COAST project reported back on thresholds and opportunities for downscaling climate and ocean change to services. A cross-project summary brochure with the scientific key results and outcomes is in the works by the JPI Oceans secretariat and will be available soon. 

A discussion on communication and dissemination was then led by communication-oriented experts from each consortium. The interventions highlighted the various dissemination efforts, ranging from scientific papers and conference presentations, via educational winter and summer schools, to the creation of specific websites, newsletters, social media channels and even podcasts interventions. 

The projects remarked that communication amongst scientists was straightforward, whereas they perceived an added layer of difficulty in engaging the public in their research topics. Recommendations to overcome the communication gap between science and society included avoiding "doomsday scenarios" of climate change and raising constructive public awareness. 

The meeting concluded with a discussion among projects and funders to share feedback on call and project management experiences, suggest future research areas, and identify opportunities for further extending project impact. Overall, the meeting was crucial for consolidating achievements, addressing challenges, and charting the future of climate science for oceans in Europe, as well as any potential future collaboration between JPI Climate and JPI Oceans.  

Learn more about Next Generation Climate Science in Europe for Oceans by browsing through the presentations from the final meeting here: European Commission keynote presentation, CE2COAST communication presentation, EUREC4A-OA scientific presentation, EUREC4A-OA communication presentation, MEDLEY communication presentation, MEDLEY scientific presentation, ROADMAP scientific presentation.