CEP&S - Changements Environnementaux Planétaires & Sociétés

Green Greenland – GREENLAND

Submission summary

The links between Greenland and global climate are commonly popularized. Pictures of melting coastal glaciers are used by environmentalists to illustrate climate change and raise concerns about future sea level risks. Climate skeptics commonly argue that south Greenland was much warmer at the time of Viking agricultural settlements than today. However, within the scientific state of the art, there has been no detection and attribution study specific for Greenland and the relative contributions of natural climate variability versus anthropogenic factors on Greenland current climate change remain uncertain.
The life of the Greenlanders, living on the coastal areas, has been and will be strongly affected by climate variability. Coastal ocean and sea ice changes are well known to have strong impacts on marine transportation and marine productivity (and therefore fishing resources). Modern South Greenland agricultural activities (mostly sheep farming, hay production) are heavily dependent on local climatic conditions. Greenlanders are proud of their ability for adaptation and their resilience; they bet on new opportunities brought by climate warming to build economical and political independence. Greenland also offers extraordinary archives of climate history recorded in archeological and historical sources, long instrumental records, and natural terrestrial archives (lake sediments, moraines, and ice cores).
This project is focused on the impacts of climate variability and climate change on coastal Greenland. It combines human sciences (environmental and climate history, environmental psychology, geography, archeology) and environement and climate sciences (atmospheric composition monitoring, paleoclimatic and paleoenvironmental reconstructions, global to regional climate modelling, detection and attribution of climate change, vegetation and glacier mass balance modelling). Our studies will cover time scales from the last millennium to the next century and will adapt and transfer methodologies previously developed for other areas (in particular Europe), and comparative studies (Alps-Greenland). The project integrates a large training dimension (master students, funding of PhD theses, workshops). Specific efforts will be dedicated to the dissemination of results to teachers, policy makers, stakeholders and the general public. The project is inserted into several international programmes around the observation of the Arctic.
The project is organised in 7 main tasks :
1. Project coordination;
2. Caracterization of the perception of climate, adaptation strategies, using comparative field surveys between sheep farmers in south Greenland and in the Alps. The modern studies will complemented by the analysis of historical sources;
3. Development of atmospheric monitoring stations on Greenland coast to improve the Arctic atmosphere monitoring regarding greenhouse gases and water vapour stable isotopes;
4. The current climate change in the perspective of recent climate variability using historical data, lake sediments, ice cores and glacier reconstructions. Development of a new proxy to quantify past coastal Greenland climate changes;
5. Application of detection and attribution methods to meteorological records, reconstructions, and climate model simulations of the past millennium. Analysis of the fingerprint of natural and anthropogenic forcings. Analysis of the large scale mechanisms (atmospheric and oceanic circulations) driving the Greenland climate. Evaluation of the realism of coupled climate models for Greenland.
6. Use of regional atmospheric circulation models and downscaling methods to refine the results of global climate models for coastal Greenland. Analysis of the relevant climate variables given the perception studies.
7. Modelling the impacts of climate variability and change for vegetation, agricultural yields, sheep grazing and for coastal Greenland glacier extent

Project coordinator

Madame Valérie MASSON-DELMOTTE (CENTRE NATIONAL DE LA RECHERCHE SCIENTIFIQUE - DELEGATION REGIONALE ILE-DE-FRANCE SECTEUR SUD) – valerie.masson@cea.fr

The author of this summary is the project coordinator, who is responsible for the content of this summary. The ANR declines any responsibility as for its contents.

Partner

GAME CENTRE NATIONAL DE LA RECHERCHE SCIENTIFIQUE - DELEGATION REGIONALE MIDI-PYRENEES
CEARC UNIVERSITE DE VERSAILLES - SAINT-QUENTIN - EN - YVELINES
ERIN UNIVERSITE DE NIMES
LSCE CENTRE NATIONAL DE LA RECHERCHE SCIENTIFIQUE - DELEGATION REGIONALE ILE-DE-FRANCE SECTEUR SUD
LGGE CENTRE NATIONAL DE LA RECHERCHE SCIENTIFIQUE - DELEGATION REGIONALE RHONE-ALPES SECTEUR ALPES
Chrono-environnement CENTRE NATIONAL DE LA RECHERCHE SCIENTIFIQUE - DELEGATION REGIONALE CENTRE-EST
LGP CENTRE NATIONAL DE LA RECHERCHE SCIENTIFIQUE - DELEGATION REGIONALE ILE-DE-FRANCE SECTEUR OUEST ET NORD

Help of the ANR 1,200,000 euros
Beginning and duration of the scientific project: - 48 Months

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