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Blue-Action Summer Newsletter 2020


As always, we focus on the important new science coming from Blue-Action in this newsletter, as diverse as freshwater release from the Arctic and temperature-related mortality in Spain. We share past and future events in the new science communication webinar series. Finally, we highlight some of the exciting online events that have been happening over the past few months, and some opportunities to engage coming up soon. 

Melting Arctic freshwater release triggers increased stormy winter weather

Freshwater events have been followed by an extremely cold ocean surface in the subpolar North Atlantic in winter and major changes in large‐scale weather patterns, a new publication in Geophysical Research Letters shows.

Combining ocean and atmospheric data, Marilena Oltmanns et al. found that increased freshwater in the North Atlantic leads to shallower surface layers that adjust faster to the lower air temperature in fall and winter. The faster surface cooling increases the south‐north temperature gradient which promotes the development of storms. The storms, in turn, reinforce the cooling by modulating the surface flow.

Future freshwater discharges from Greenland and the Arctic are anticipated to amplify the cooling and trigger an enhanced wintertime storminess with far‐reaching implications for the climate.
Decadal predictability of North Atlantic blocking and the North Atlantic Oscillation

New decadal prediction experiments from NCAR are found to exhibit remarkable skill in reproducing the observed multi-annual variations of wintertime blocking frequency over the North Atlantic and of the North Atlantic Oscillation, in a new paper by Panos Athanasiadis et al

Atmospheric predictability has generally been found to be quite limited on multi-annual timescales. The new study, published in NPJ Climate and Atmospheric Science, uses a large ensemble size that allows the predictable component of the atmospheric variability to emerge from the background chaotic component.

Skilfully predicting the decadal fluctuations of blocking frequency and the NAO suggests that impactful climate anomalies may also be predictable with improved dynamical models.

Heat is now more lethal than cold for people in Spain

People with respiratory diseases in Spain are now more vulnerable to high temperatures than cold ones, a new study by Joan Ballester from Blue-Action and colleagues at the Barcelona Institute for Global Health has shown. This complete reversal of the seasonality of temperature-related mortality has implications for climate change health policy-making. 

The study, published in Nature Communications, analysed data from over 1.3 million deaths linked to respiratory disease in Spain between 1980-2016. The data show that mortality over the period in the warmer months were relatively stable, but there was a decline in deaths during the colder months of 16.5% per decade. The authors suggest that this could be due to adaptation of the population to lower temperatures, through measures such as more widespread heating of homes and effective treatment. 

Joan Ballester explained, “These observations reflect a remarkable process of adaptation to cold, but not to heat...Reducing this vulnerability may require policies associated with socioeconomic development, such as those aimed at improving health services.”

Important reminder

If you are part of the Blue-Action team, please don't forget to let us know about your publication or outreach success!
The demands on researchers to effectively share the outputs of research have never been higher. The need to translate and share complex scientific findings for a wide variety of audiences is incredibly important but can feel like a daunting task, particularly for climate scientists.

To support wider dissemination and engagement, Blue-Action is hosting a webinar series on science communication designed specifically for climate researchers, covering topics from designing infographics to engaging with policymakers. Each webinar is an introduction to the topic, and an opportunity to have a Q&A with an expert in the field.

Recordings of past webinars on "Designing public outreach activities" and "Talking to the media" can be found here, and you can sign up for the future webinars below here.
The Arctic Observing Summit moved online this year, and a wide number of participants joined from across the globe to discuss topics as diverse as data interoperability, observations supporting indigenous communities and global observing initiatives. All the presentations and breakout sessions can be found here
The key recommendations and outcomes of the summit can be found here
European Geosciences Union General Assembly was held online in May, and over 26,000 people from across the world were able to join the conference. Many of the Blue-Action team attended and/or presented, and all presentations can be found at EGUSphere here

Many of the materials are still available, including the #ShareGeoScience online programme, short courses, press conferences and "great debates". Check out the materials here.
Online opportunities
Climateurope are holding a series of "webstivals" throughout the summer and autumn of 2020. These events are an oppportunity to share knowledge around climate services, and take place entirely online. Find out more details here.
Climateurope are also partnering with the CLARA project and others to host #ClimateThursdays, designed a webinar series on climate services and climate-related innovations. Check out the line-up here.

PhD position, University of Bergen

The PhD position aims to contribute to enhance climate prediction to the level where it benefits society, and thus facilitate the needed transition to operational forecasts. The position will be within the Bjerknes Climate Prediction Unit that focuses on predicting climate in the Atlantic-to-Arctic sector and surrounding continents from a season to a decade and beyond. For more details, please look here

Postdoc positions, IPSL

IPSL in France seek talented and imaginative scientists to carry out research on the global carbon cycle and climate-carbon interactions. They are advertising two post-doctoral positions within the Climate-Carbon Interactions in the Current Century project (4C, Both positions are 24-months long and located in central Paris, at the Institut Pierre Simon Laplace.

The 2 post-doctorate scientists at IPSL will focus on:
Post 1 – Carbon Cycle Prediction: The postdoc will evaluate predictability and predictions of ocean and land carbon sinks in a suite of dedicated experiments based on the IPSL Earth System Model. Please contact Juliette Mignot to get the full description of the vacancy (

Post 2 – Emergent Constraint: The postdoc will devise new techniques to constrain future projections of climate-ocean feedbacks and the resulting impact on the ocean carbon cycle. Please contact Lester Kwiatkowski to get the full description of the vacancy (
Would you like to know more about the importance of the work done in Blue-Action and share with others?
Blue-Action has a new booklet available on "From observing the ocean to predicting the future: How Blue-Action is helping stakeholders adapt to the changing climate".

The booklet is available to download here, or please get in touch at if you would be interested in a paper copy. 
Ben Moat and colleagues at the National Oceanography Centre, UK, have used photographic imaging and scanning technology to give you a chance to tour the RRS James Cook from the comfort of your own home! Take an immersive journey through the ship to get a taste of ocean observation science at sea. Check out the full tour here

All Blue-Action's open access publications and documents are available in the Zenodo open-access repository.

Check out the latest presentations and reports in our Blue-Action community here, and remember you can use the search bar to find specific results within the community, sort results by date, use key words or filter by type. 

Please contact us if you would like further information about any publications or cannot find what you are looking for. 
The Blue-Action project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 727852
Copyright © 2020 Blue-Action, All rights reserved.

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