Welcome to the latest edition of the ECRA Science Briefs!
This includes highlights of climate research, news from the European stage and information on upcoming events organized by ECRA.
From 7-8 March we held our second General Assembly in Brussels. The conference documentation and all presentations are now available online.
Best wishes from Brussels,
Tina Swierczynski and Uta Klönne
Arctic sea ice maximum extent falls to new low
The National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC), US concluded that Arctic sea ice likely reached its annual maximum extent on 7 March 2017. The extent of 14.42 million square kilometres is the lowest in the 38-year satellite record, falling below the previous records of 2015 and 2016.
Increased storm intensity and damage in European forests
This study identifies a change in storm intensity in Western, Central and Northern Europe, through the analysis of different forest as well as atmospheric data sources from 1951-2010. The researchers from the Finnish Meteorological Institute conclude that the impact of climate change on North Atlantic storms hitting Europe has started since 1990.
Linking extreme weather experience and climate change engagement
Establishing a clear causal relationship between experiencing extreme events and taking action is challenging. Researchers at the School of Psychology at Cardiff University, UK surveyed people affected by the severe flooding of winter 2013/14. They found that direct experience leads to greater perceived vulnerability and risk but also to support for mitigation policies and to personal adaptation in general.
The effect of short-lived greenhouse gases on sea level rise
Short-lived greenhouse gases such as methane have atmospheric lifetimes of decades or less. Yet, they contribute to sea level rise (SLR) through thermal expansion of the ocean over much longer time scales, as researchers from Simon Fraser University, Canada and MIT, US have shown. Reducing emissions of these gases could thus mitigate centuries of additional future SLR.
Special Issue “Hydrological Model Intercomparison for Climate Impact Assessment”
This special issue from the journal Springer Climatic Change contains 13 papers studying the impacts of climate change on river basins in different regions of the world by employing multi-model frameworks of hydrological models and different climate scenarios.
Climate change, impacts and vulnerability in Europe 2016
EEA’s report concludes that the observed changes in the climate are already impacting ecosystems, the economy, and human health in Europe. The indicator-based assessment presents past and future climatic changes, before it assesses impacts and vulnerabilities for different regions and identifies adaptation needs. Better and more flexible adaptation can mitigate impacts.
The WMO issued two reports on the occasion of World Meteorological Day on 23 March which was themed “Understanding Clouds”: 1) The new International Cloud Atlas, an authoritative reference for identifying clouds, and 2) The State of the Global Climate, presenting the climate trends and extremes of 2016.
Global natural catastrophe losses hit four-year high
The world’s largest reinsurance company concluded that costs from natural disasters in 2016 – notably several severe earthquakes and storms – were at their highest in four years. Out of the USD175 billion in losses almost 30% were insured. Significant losses in Europe were caused by storms and floods.
The Joint Call of the European Research Area for Climate Services (ERA4CS) on Researching and Advancing Climate Services Development closed in February. 26 projects have now been selected for two topics: A) Advanced co-development with users, B) Institutional integration between 30 predetermined Research Performing Organisations (RPOs). A total budget of about €63 million has been allocated for three years, starting in summer 2017.
Handbook on participatory adaptation plans for river basins
The new handbook documents the participatory approach used in developing adaptive management plans for four Mediterranean river basins. It was developed in collaboration with experts, practitioners, policy makers and citizens. The handbook is a result of the FP7 project “BeWater – Making society an active participant in water adaptation to global change”.
ICRC-CORDEX 2016: Conference report and presentations
17-20 May 2016, Stockholm, Sweden – The International Conference on Regional Climate (ICRC)-CORDEX brought together the international community of producers and users of regional climate information. More than 300 scientists contributed over 460 abstracts, 89 presentations, and 306 posters. The conference report summarises the main outcomes and all oral presentations were recorded and are accessible through the WCRP-CORDEX Youtube channel.
ERA4CS Climate Services – Synergies, Gaps and Challenges: Workshop report
2-3 February 2017, Brussels, Belgium – The workshop brought together researchers, members of related networks and practitioners within the climate service community. They were given introductions to climate services and ERA4CS, JPI Climate, DG RTD and the projects MARCO and SECTEUR. The ensuing break-out sessions discussed identifying evidence and /or sources to fill identified gaps, among others.
5th International Conference on Climate Services (ICCS 5)
28 February-2 March 2017, Cape Town, South Africa – The conference sessions informed on the development of climate services and associated limits and gaps. Also, different activities, project products and services were presented at a market place. The conference was organised by the Climate Service Center Germany (GERICS) and the local partner University of Cape Town (UCT). The presentations are available online.
Horizon 2020 Interim Evaluation: Presentation of the results of the stakeholder consultation | 28 April 2017 | Brussels, Belgium
As part of the interim evaluation of Horizon 2020 a public stakeholder consultation was open from October 2016 until January 2017. The results of around 3500 responses to an online questionnaire and about 300 position papers from all types of organisations and individual citizens will be presented at the event. The full interim evaluation is due by the end of December 2017.
6th European Windstorm Workshop | 21-23 June 2017 | University of Reading, UK
Mid-latitude storms can have devastating socio-economic impacts. Understanding their dynamics, projected future developments and impacts is therefore crucial. The aim of this workshop is to bring together scientists from dynamical meteorology and climatology as well as stakeholders from the insurance and engineering industries to share recent research ideas.
The workshop is free of charge (participation is limited to 100 persons).
Research & Innovation – shaping our future | 3 July 2017 | Brussels, Belgium
Against the backdrop of the European Commission's White Paper on the future of Europe, this conference will discuss the role of research and innovation. Hosted by DG RTD Commissioner Carlos Moedas, it will bring together policymakers from EU institutions, nearly 700 stakeholders and interested actors. The agenda includes launching the stakeholder consultation for the successor framework programme.
Conference on Regional Sea Level Changes and Coastal Impacts | 10-14 July 2017 | New York City, US
This conference on sea level research is jointly organised by the World Climate Research Program (WCRP) and the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO (IOC). Its theme is also one of the WCRP’s seven “Grand Challenges”. The conference will address challenges in describing and predicting regional sea level changes and in quantifying uncertainties. The format includes plenary and poster sessions.
Registration is now open, with a reduced fee until 31 May.
ECRA General Assembly | 7-8 March 2017 | Brussels, Belgium
The ECRA General Assembly 2017 was a forum to discuss climate research priorities, vulnerable regions, impacts and potential adaptation strategies, along with advancing integrative and collaborative research. More than 110 climate scientists, policy makers and representatives from relevant climate initiatives made it a successful conference!
The documentation, along with all presentations, is now available on our website.
ECRA @ Climateurope Festival | 5-7 April 2017 | Valencia, Spain
The first Climateurope Festival explored challenges and opportunities of climate services together with researchers, suppliers, users and funders from across Europe. ECRA prepared a poster presenting its contribution to climate services and the associated challenges.
EGU Townhall meeting with ECRA contribution | 27 April 2017 | Vienna, Austria
At this year’s General Assembly of the European Geosciences Union (EGU), the European Polar Board (EPB) will organise a EGU Townhall Meeting TM2 on “Polar change and implications for mid-latitude weather – science and policy for society in Europe”. ECRA will be on the panel along with representatives from the ECRA member organisations FMI and NCAS. This Townhall meeting will discuss linkages between changes in the polar regions, mid-latitude extreme weather events, and cooperation with policy makers.
International conference with ECRA contribution: Diversity of local responses to the impacts of Climate Change on Water | 5-7 February 2018 | Tours, France
This conference will focus on the modifications of the water cycle induced by global change in natural, anthropogenic and urban systems. It is organised by the network of laboratories MiDi (Environments and Diversity) in partnership with, among others, the French competitiveness cluster DREAM (Water and Environments).