Topic 2: Ocean and cryosphere in climate change

Since decades, the climate on our planet is getting warmer. This is primarily due to the increased concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere caused by human activities. Even with the drastic reduction in emissions of carbon dioxide, methane and other greenhouse gases, warming will continue for the time being in the coming decades. The main reason for this is the energy stored in the ocean, which together with the cryosphere represents the long-term memory of our climate system. How will the climate change in the coming years, what can still be prevented, and what must we prepare for?



Thanks to intensive research efforts in recent decades, our understanding of the Earth's complex climate system has improved considerably. Both, global observational data and improved climate models have contributed here, as well as information from climate history derived from climate archives. As a result, we now have a much better understanding of the natural fluctuations in the climate system and can distinguish them more reliably from climate change caused by human activities. With the help of high-resolution models, it is now also possible to make regionally differentiated statements about future developments. And yet many pieces of the puzzle are still missing. Particularly from polar regions, but also from the deeper ocean layers and remote areas, there is still little data available. These are particularly important for the understanding of long-term fluctuations and developments.

Within the framework of the topic "Ocean and Cryosphere in Climate" as part of the programme "Changing Earth - Sustaining our Future" in the fourth phase of the programme-oriented funding of the Helmholtz Association, existing gaps in our knowledge are to be closed.

Partners in this thematic field are GEOMAR, the Helmholtz Centre Potsdam German Research Centre for Geosciences (GFZ) and the Alfred Wegener Institute Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI); the latter one is coordinating this topic.

The thematic field "Ocean and Cryosphere in Climate" is divided into four subtopics: Warming climates, variability and extremes, sea-level change and, as an overarching theme, and advanced research methodologies for tomorrow. 


More about Topic 2 on the webpages of the Helmholtz Research Field Earth and Environment