Amidst the pandemics, 2021 was a productive year for the CliC community and the co-chairs are pleased to share this annual report highlighting some of CliC´s progress and achievements during the past year.We would like to highlight the following:
TheIce Sheets Modelling Intercomparison Project 6 (ISMIP6) succeeded in generating projections of the future sea-level contribution of ice sheets for use in the 6th Assessment Report of the IPCC. This was the result of a seven-year international collaboration involving over 40 institutions and represents the first ever coordinated effort to make fully process-based predictions of the ice sheets’ future. The collaboration generated well over 25 scientific papers including key publications on the responses of Greenland and Antarctica to climate change, as well as a statistical analysis focussed on high-end estimates of sea level rise. It involved very significant interdisciplinary collaborations with oceanographers, meteorologists, glaciologists and statisticians in developing the first framework for the use of climate projections from Earth System Models by the ice sheet modelling community and saw worldwide scientific engagement in the development and application of this framework. The project has created a lasting legacy based around this framework and the community of international researchers brought together to trace the complex ways in which future climate change will impact the ice sheets and their all-important contribution future sea level rise.
Our improved understanding of the cryosphere has developed in parallel with an increased awareness of the large impact that human activities are having on the planet and how these changes, in turn, are affecting human and natural systems. For the cryosphere, in particular the rate of loss of land-ice, sea ice, and permafrost, has rapidly increased over the last few decades, representing some of the clearest planet-wide response to human-induced global warming and has in turn helped to accelerate climate change. Moreover, future ice loss will be strongly influenced by present and future human activities. These changes, in turn, are having major consequences on local and global communities and ecosystems, societies, economies as well as triggering feedbacks within the climate system. This prompted the SSG to start working on a new science strategy for the upcoming decade, to broaden CliC´s vision and mission to include research that is co-designed and executed with relevant stakeholders and user communities, while continuing to support the research that advances understanding of processes within the cryosphere components of the climate system. This work culminated with the publication of the CliC Strategic Plan 2022-2031. CliC´s approach to achieve a system understanding of the cryosphere and its services, will be the co-design of research among natural and social scientists, stakeholders and affected communities. CliC´s new strategy aligns with the vision of WCRP Strategic Plan 2019-2028, “…sound, relevant, and timely climate science to ensure a more resilient present and sustainable future for humankind”, and addresses directly the fourth strategic objective of “bridging climate science and society”. As first steps in the implementation of the Strategic Plan, it was decided to increase the engagement of senior scientists and Early Career Scientists from regions currently underrepresented in CliC, such as South America, Asia and Africa. For this, open calls were launched for (i) SSG membership and (ii) CliC Grants and Fellowships that target CliC´s new priority research areas.
As WCRP is proceeding to implement its Science Plan, CliC ensured representation of the cryosphere community at the Science Plan Writing Teams of all new bodies of WCRP: Lighthouse Activities: MyClimate Risk, Safe Landing Climates, Digital Earths, Explaining and Predicting Earth System Change and Academy and Core Projects: Regional Information for Society (RifS) and Earth System Modelling and Observations (EMSO).
We thank the cryosphere community for continuing their efforts even in the challenging circumstances posed by COVID-19.
CliC co-chairs Fiammetta Straneo & James Renwick
The end of 2021 saw the termination of serving terms of co-chair James Renwick, SSG member Lars H. Smedsrud and leader of the Grand Challenge Melting Ice and Global impacts Timothy Naish. The CliC community extends a special thanks to all of them for long service and invaluable contributions to the project.
Download the report here