ITS4 – Scientific challenges posed by global warming
Past and ongoing climate changes in the Mediterranean region and their impacts on the environment and the human societies
Climate change in the Mediterranean region poses critical environmental issues and can affect many sectors of human activities. Contrasting climate trends, levels of exposure and vulnerability are present across this region with associated potential conflicts. Climate research is expected to contribute an increasingly precise information on the future climate and impacts of climate change in this region. A large set of instrumental records and climate proxies allows in many areas of the Mediterranean region to bridge present trends and past climate over a wide range of timescales. This session encourages contributions adopting a multidisciplinary approach and it aims to promote a dialogue between climatologists and researchers interested on the impacts of climate on human and natural systems. It aims at including contributions describing new scientific findings on the climate of the Mediterranean region, its dynamics, variability, change, and studies of climate related impacts on societies and ecosystems. The session considers different time scales (from paleoclimate to future model projections), different components (atmosphere, ocean, land and its hydrology) and factors (chemical, biological, anthropic) as well as highlights of sub-regional hotspots and climate processes.
The Nexus between Weather Modification and Limited-Area Geoengineering
International failure in curbing the global greenhouse gas emissions has sparked studies on diverse and largely hypothetical methods, known collectively as geoengineering, to intentionally mitigate climate change. At the same time, operational activities to modify weather, especially in terms of snow and rain enhancement, are taking place in more than 50 countries. Although these two topics are typically discussed separately, they are in many ways interlinked. Importantly, successful long-term weather modification and geoengineering would alter climatic conditions and the water cycle on local to regional scales.
In this session, the nexus between regional geoengineering and weather modification is discussed and analyzed. The importance of regional-scale modeling and experimental studies is specifically highlighted. All contributions are welcome, which investigate the various geoengineering and weather modification options from the local to the regional scale. Particularly encouraged are studies, which consider potential interlinkages between geoengineering and rain enhancement.
Demonstrating the value of and opportunities for climate change adaptation and mitigation
Estimating the impact of climate change on both the natural and socio-economic environment plays an important role in informing a range of national and international policies, including energy, agriculture and health. Understanding these impacts, and those avoided, has never been more pertinent since the adoption of the 2015 Paris Agreement, which sought to hold “the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C, recognizing that this would significantly reduce the risks and impacts of climate change".
Policies may aim to mitigate (i.e. reduce emissions), counteract (i.e. negative emissions) and/or adapt to anthropogenic climate change and it is equally important to quantify the impact of implementing these options. While rapid, deep mitigation is clearly a pre-requisite to success, delays to such measures imply a greater reliance upon large scale negative emissions technologies. Those based on land are likely to face competing pressure from wide ranging economic activity, and knowledge of these interactions and synergies is limited. Similarly while adaptation options are wide ranging, the uses of nature-based solutions, which often provide mitigation co-benefits and are often highly cost effective, are under-researched and rarely integrated into overall natural hazard or climate change risk management strategies.
Furthermore, the methods used to evaluate impact in the climate context are many and varied, including empirical, econometric and process-based. These methods continue to evolve implying that the assessment of impact may depend upon the analytical approach chosen.
This inter- and transdisciplinary session aims to draw together scientists, developing climate-impact evaluation methods, evaluating the impact (or avoided impact) of anthropogenic climate change upon natural and socio-economic environments, investigating the potential for mitigation and counteraction options to reduce long term risk, and studying the value of multiple adaptation options to stakeholders when planning how to manage vulnerability.
The occurrence of extremes such as droughts, flash floods, hailstorms, storm surges and tropical storms can have significant and sometimes catastrophic consequences to society. However, not all low probability weather/climate events will lead to “high impacts” on human or natural systems or infrastructure. Rather, the severity of such events depend also intrinsically on the exposure, vulnerability and/or resilience to such hazards of affected systems, including emergency management procedures. Similarly, high impact events may be compounded by the interaction of several, e.g., in their own right less severe hydro-meteorological incidents, sometimes separated in time and space. Or they may similarly result from the joint failures of multiple human or natural systems. Consequently, it is a deep transdisciplinary challenge to learn from past high impact events, understand the mechanisms behind them and ultimately to project how they may potentially change in a future climate.
The ECRA (European Climate Research Alliance) Collaborative Programme on “High Impact Events and Climate Change” aims to promote research on the mechanisms behind high impact events and climate extremes, simulation of high impact events under present and future climatic conditions, and on how relevant information for climate risk analysis, vulnerability and adaptation may be co-created with users, e.g., in terms of tailored climate services. For this aim, this Interdisciplinary and Transdisciplinary Session invites contributions that will serve to (i) better understand the mechanisms behind high impact events from a transdisciplinary and interdisciplinary perspective, e.g. case studies and the assessment of past high impact events, including detection and attribution; (ii) project changes to high impact events through, e.g. high resolution climate and impacts modelling (including economic modelling); (iii) produce climate information at the relevant scales (downscaling); and co-create climate services with users to help deal with the risk and/or impacts of high-impact events, e.g. risk analysis and climate adaptation. Abstracts that highlight recent advances from a transdisciplinary perspective for example through the innovation of climate services will be particularly encouraged. Authors and contributors to this session will be offered to present their work in a Special Issue of the journal “Sustainability”.
The Third Pole Environment (TPE) under Global Changes
The Tibetan Plateau and surrounding mountain regions, known as the Third Pole, cover an area of > 5 million km2 and are considered to be the water tower of Asia. The Pan Third Pole expands on both the north-south and the east-west directions, going across the Tibetan Plateau, Pamir, Hindu Kush, Iran Plateau, Caucasian and Carpathian, and covering an area of about 20 million km2. Like the Arctic and Antarctica, the Pan Third Pole’s environment is extremely sensitive to global climate change. In recent years, scientists from around the globe have increased observational, remote sensing and numerical modeling research related to the Pan Third Pole in an effort to quantify and predict past, current and future scenarios. Co-sponsored by TPE (www.tpe.ac.cn), this session is dedicated to studies of Pan Third Pole atmosphere, cryosphere, hydrosphere, and biosphere and their interactions with global change. Related contributions are welcomed.