North Atlantic - Arctic coupling in a changing climate: Impacts on ocean circulation, carbon cycling and sea-ice (NAACOS) (38888)

Project Details


Climate change is most pronounced at high latitudes, with rapid and dramatic changes observed in sea-ice coverage, circulation and the ecosystem. These changes have profound effects both at the regional scale as well as globally.

The North Atlantic and Arctic Ocean are the headwaters of the thermohaline circulation (THC), the global heat engine responsible, amongst other things, for the relatively mild climate we experience in Denmark. Subtle change in sea-ice formation, deep water circulation, and freshwater supply on a relatively local scale will have repercussions around the world. More subtle still are the feed-back controls these processes have on climate change. Sea-ice coverage and the earth’s albedo is one feed-back, but there is also the draw down and sequestering of atmospheric CO2 in deep waters by physical and biological processes. The whole is an intricate weave of interrelated mechanisms: the scientific challenge to draw together expertise across disciplines to address these issues was accomplished; the strategic outcome was a suite of knowledge-based tools designed to reduce the uncertainty and contribute to climate policies.

The NAACOS team comprised a number of well-recognized scientists with profound experience and a significant international collaboration. NAACOS developed and refined oceanographic models using remote sensing and observations to evaluate the impact of high latitude climate change on circulation, deep water formation, sea-ice and carbon flux, and their implications at regional scales.

The project was coordinated by DTU Aqua and funded by the Danish Council for Strategic Research and a DHI student stipend.

Research area: Oceanography
Research area: Marine Populations and Ecosystem Dynamics
Research area: Marine Living Resources
Effective start/end date01/01/201131/12/2014

Collaborative partners

  • Technical University of Denmark (lead)
  • Aarhus University (Project partner)
  • Danish Meteorological Institute (Project partner)
  • DHI Water - Environment - Health (Project partner)
  • University of Copenhagen (Project partner)
  • Faroe Research Institute (Project partner)


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