Researchers want to answer these questions with the "i2B - Into the Blue" project, looking back to the past and forward to the future. This project has now been funded with 12.5 million euros by a Synergy Grant from the European Research Council (ERC) for six years.
The project's proposers are Jochen Knies from UIT The Arctic University of Norway, Stijn De Schepper from NORCE, and climate modeler Gerrit Lohmann from the AWI and the University of Bremen.
"The i2B project consists of three parts that build on each other: quantifying, understanding, and the impact of a blue Arctic," Jochen Knies from the UIT The Arctic University of Norway explains. The researchers will analyze how ice distribution and ecosystems evolved in past "greenhouse" periods that were warmer than today. "New models are being developed to better understand the dynamics of change in the Arctic,” adds Gerrit Lohmann from the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI), and the University of Bremen.
"Together, this will then allow an assessment of the impact of Arctic change on the environment and society in the coming decades," De Schepper from the Norwegian Research Centre (NORCE) and Bjerknes Centre for Climate Research emphasizes.
The researchers together with their co-leads Petra Langebroek (NORCE), Juliane Müller (AWI), Monica Winsborrow (UiT) will lead an international team. Knies, De Schepper and Lohmann bring together their different expertise. This allows for a synergistic project of paleoclimatic, environmental science and marine geology research.
“The ERC Synergy Grant is the most prestigious research grant in Europe, and until now only six such projects have been funded in Norway. We compete with the most excellent research institutions internationally, so I am deeply impressed and proud on behalf of everyone. NORCE is delighted to provide our expertise on paleoceanography, ancient DNA, and sea ice reconstruction into this project.”, says Trond Dokken, Executive Vice President for the Climate & Environment division at NORCE.
“Getting this grant is an enormous achievement by the three excellent researchers and their institutions. The Arctic is a hot spot for rapid climate change, and getting knowledge about the possible futures that might await us is of the utmost importance. i2B is a great inspiration to us all,” says Prorector for Research and Innovation, Jan-Gunnar Winther, of UiT The Arctic University of Norway.
The European Research Council annually funds scientific projects from the European Union with the Synergy Grant. The projects are intended to explore interfaces between established disciplines and thus lead to significant scientific advancements.