6A.3 The Climate and Cryosphere (CliC) Project

Tuesday, 25 January 2011: 4:30 PM
608 (Washington State Convention Center)
Konrad Steffen, Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research, Zürich, Switzerland; and D. Yang

The objectives of the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP) are to study the predictability of climate and the impact of human activities on climate. The Climate and Cryosphere (CliC) is one of the four core projects of WCRP. The CliC Project was established in March 2000 by the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP) to stimulate, support, and coordinate research into the processes by which the cryosphere interacts with the rest of the climate system. The cryosphere consists of the frozen portions of the globe, and includes ice sheets, glaciers, ice caps, icebergs, sea ice, snow cover and snowfall, permafrost and seasonally frozen ground, as well as lake- and river-ice. As a sensitive component of the climate system, the cryosphere may provide key indicators of climate change, and CliC will focus on identifying patterns and rates of change in cryospheric parameters. In 2004, the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR), became a co-sponsor of the project, and the International Arctic Science Committee (IASC) joined as co-sponsor in 2008.

Its principal goal is to assess and quantify the impacts of climatic variability and change on components of the cryosphere and their consequences for the climate system and determine the stability of the global cryosphere. CliC is the only project in the Earth System Science Partnership that focuses on the global cryosphere and Polar Regions. WCRP calls on CliC to address the following major scientific challenges:

- Explain and improve predictions of the rapidly changing Arctic sea ice - Assess uncertainties in climate projections associated with the possibility of increased release of carbon from thawing permafrost in a warming climate - Organize international research on all aspects of sea-level variability and change and substantiate sea-level assessments and predictions - Contribute cryospheric knowledge to seasonal, decadal and centennial climate predictions - Initiate prediction of the cryosphere at a variety of scales to enable projections of the future state of cryospheric sources of fresh water.

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