UNIS partner in new Nordic Centres of Excellence

UNIS partner in new Nordic Centres of Excellence

Top image: Svalbard glaciers are the focus of one of the NCoE that UNIS is a partner in. Photo: Jan Henrik Koren/UNIS. 

UNIS is partner in two new Nordic Centres of Excellence, funded within the NordForsk Top-Level Research Initiative’s sub-programme Interaction between Climate Change and the Cryosphere.

23 June 2010
Text: Eva Therese Jenssen

NordForsk is a Nordic research board with responsibility for cooperation on research and researcher training in the Nordic region. The organization focuses on research areas in which the Nordic countries are international leaders, and promotes research and researcher training of high international calibre.

The NordForsk Top-Level Research Initiative (TRI) aims at creating a Nordic coordinated effort towards research and innovation on climate, energy and the environment. One of six sub-programmes within the TRI is the “Interaction between Climate Change and the Cryosphere”, where the goal is to improve the understanding of the cryosphere stability, dynamics and interaction with climate change.

Recently NordForsk announced three new Nordic Centres of Excellence (NCoE) within this sub-program, and UNIS scientists are involved in two of them. The NCoE projects get funding for five years and the funding covers, among other things, fellowships for visiting professors, post docs and PhD students, and Nordic graduate schools.

SVALI – Stability and Variations of Arctic Land Ice – is a comprehensive joint Nordic research programme to study basic processes, such as flux of melt water and icebergs from glaciers. The NCoE SVALI will focus on glaciers in the Arctic/North-Atlantic area and use remote sensing, airborne and in-situ measurements. The project aims at answering these key questions:

• How fast is land ice volume in the Arctic and North-Atlantic area changing, and why?
• Will these processes continue to accelerate?
• What are the consequences for sea-level and ocean circulation
• What are the implications for society?

UNIS scientists involved in SVALI are glaciologist Doug Benn, quaternary geologist Anne Hormes, marine geologist Riko Noormets and snow and ice physicist Carl Egede Bøggild. Jon Ove Hagen (University of Oslo) is the project leader.

DEFROST aims at improving the understanding of Arctic terrestrial and shallow sub-sea permafrost interactions with climate. DEFROST seeks to fill critical gaps in concepts and information, and to incorporate this understanding into models that reduce uncertainties. One main goal is to improve on climate model capabilities for simulating the feedback processes associated with observed changes in permafrost, snow and ice.

UNIS staff involved in the NCoE DEFROST are physical geographer Hanne Christiansen and adjunct professor in biogeochemistry Bo Elberling. Torben R. Christensen (Lund University, Sweden) is the project leader.




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