Our final newsletter of 2019 looks back at a range of publications, events and successes from this year. Congratulations to everyone in the project for their hard work and achievements, and thank you to all our partners and colleagues for their support and collaboration.
From all the Blue-Action team, we wish you a wonderful break and look forward to hearing from you in the next decade!
Observing the AMOC: current state and future systems
How do we design our ocean observing systems to be future-proof, and comprehensive enough to understand the complexity of ocean circulation? Authors including colleagues from Blue-Action published a review article in Frontiers in Marine Science setting out guidelines for these systems observing the AMOC.
The Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) is a large system of ocean currents that extends from the Southern Ocean to the northern North Atlantic. It acts like a conveyor belt, carrying warm water northwards where it cools, sinks into the depths and spreads southwards. It is vital to our climate system, distributing heat around the earth and mixing ocean waters.
The AMOC has only been measured continuously since 2004, but through international collaboration there are a wide range of observing systems, including the large-scale arrays OSNAP and RAPID. These concerted observational efforts have dramatically increased our understanding of the AMOC: for example, see an earlier paper here.
This paper is an in-depth analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of the current systems, and explores alternative approaches. The authors suggest keeping observing arrays to maintain the high-resolution estimates of the AMOC, combined with distributed sampling such as the use of satellites, which can increase the geographical coverage. Read more about this review here.
Topographic map of the Nordic Seas and subpolar basins with schematic circulation of surface currents (solid curves) and deep currents (dashed curves) that form a portion of the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation. By R. Curry, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute.
Working together to adapt to the future
Organisations are increasingly working in partnership with individuals or communities to design and implement climate adaptation measures. This method of “co-production” is now widespread across many countries, at local, national and international levels. However, it needs to be supported by a body of evidence of successes and limitations in order to move forward and develop as a field.
Erik Kolstad from NORCE and colleagues have produced “an honest reflection on experiences in a climate services project…with concrete recommendations on how to put ideas of co-production into practice.” This paper provides valuable insights into applying these ideas to a Norwegian region, and the challenges faced by the team. To read more about their experiences, look here.
Bergen, Norway, the main seat of Hordaland.
If you are part of the Blue-Action team, please don't forget to let us know about your publication or outreach success by updating the dissemination and publication documents on the intranet.
Can we use climate models to predict fish abundance and distribution?
One of the Blue-Action case studies highlighting the potential for climate services demonstrates the success of creating fish forecasts using climate models.
The huge progress in ocean observations and modelling over the last few years now mean that we have the potential to predict ocean variables such as sea surface temperature as much as a decade ahead. While this scientific advance has important implications for physical predictions, the links with how we might be able to predict biological systems are still underexplored.
In the marine environment, many fish species are responsive to their physical environment, from temperature to salinity. By understanding the links between fish recruitment, distribution or abundance and these environmental variables, we create the potential to be able to predict biological systems by using physical models.
Cod by Peter, Edinburgh.
One of our Blue-Action case studies, led by Mark Payne from DTU, explores this fascinating area of research and is showing great promise. Forecasts of spatial distribution of species such as blue whiting and mackerel have been found to show good agreement with later survey data. Impressively, forecasts of recruitment (productivity) of economically important species such as sandeel and cod have been recently developed, and could form the basis of a new and exciting climate service.
This work is a significant contribution to the field: each of the physical-biological relationships is a new discovery that can influence modelling in the future. Arguably the most important of these is the identification of potential predictability in the recruitment to sandeel and cod stocks. Previously these species have been viewed to be unpredictable in marine science, so the potential of these models to assist decision-making is of huge interest to policy-makers, conservationists and industry internationally.
A new report on the progress of this work will be released next year: watch out for updates.
Arctic Circle, Reykjavik, Iceland
10th - 13th October 2019
Realising the potential of
"A Predicted Ocean"
Mark Payne from Danish Technical University and Øivin Arnes from DNV-GL spoke at a Blue-Action side event on the current state of ocean predictions. Along with Johann Bell from Conservation International, they led a workshop discussing the potential and the next steps for ocean predictions to provide climate services.
Securing sustainable snow for winter tourism
Martin Coath and Ilona Mettiäinen from the University of Lapland led a break-out session describing the newly designed snow-making app co-designed with Finnish ski resort Ruka. There was lot of interest and questions from other winter resort stakeholders in how climate models can be translated into climate services to support the industry.
Stakeholder engagement event, Edinburgh, UK
16th October 2019
How can ocean observations and predictions help respond to the climate emergency? Stakeholders from across Scotland representing a range of industries, NGOs and policy-makers were invited to an event led by Blue-Action to explore these questions for the country. Five speakers gave short introductions to the Blue-Action project, the Scottish government position on climate adaptation, ocean observing systems, climate modelling, and climate services before a lively two-way dialogue with participants.
OceanObs'19, Honolulu, USA
16th - 20th September 2019
OceanObs'19 was a conference to determine how we balance needs, capabilities, and knowledge of ocean observations worldwide.
Blue-Action representatives from DMI presented a poster detailing how Blue-Action contributed to the All-Atlantic Ocean Observing System (AtlantOS) BluePrint, a vision for a sustainable and comprehensive ocean observing system.
The BluePrint outlines a baseline of core platforms, networks and systems that make up AtlantOS.
Blue-Action Annual Meeting, Edinburgh, UK
15th - 17th October, 2019
Many thanks to everyone who travelled to Edinburgh for the Blue-Action Annual Meeting in 2019. There was a fantastic range of talks from all partners, showcasing the progress and diversity of science being undertaken throughout the project. The meeting was also a valuable opportunity to review the past year and plan for the next one as a project, and build collaborations between partners. We look forward to getting together again in 2020!
Marius at the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra. Credit: Ole Marius Kvamme/UiB
In a fantastic example of science-art collaboration, Marius Årthun from the University of Bergen participated in a programme by the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra, combining science talks with a performance of "Becoming Ocean."
Blue-Action now has booklets available that explore the five climate and information service case studies in more depth. These are available to download here, or please get in touch if you would like physical copies.
All Blue-Action's open access publications and documents are available in the Zenodo repository.
Check out the latest presentations and reports here, and contact us if you would like further information.
The Blue-Action project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 727852