Very soon the Arctic will be a substantially different environment than at present! The impact of climate change manifests in the Arctic much faster than anywhere else on the planet and future projections suggest an increase in temperature of 5.5°C by 2100 in a business-as-usual scenario. Increasing temperatures already affect the extent and duration of sea ice cover, its insulating effect in winter, as well as marine physics, chemistry and ecology. Climate-related changes (warming, sea level rise and ocean acidification) combined with changes in other drivers (fishing, hunting, tourism, shipping and pollution) generate stresses on Arctic societies and environments at a magnitude and rate humans have never encountered. In addition to the ongoing and projected changes in climatic and environmental conditions Indigenous peoples and Arctic livelihoods will be significantly affected by the cumulative impacts of these changes combined with ongoing changes in socio-economic conditions.

The IASC-funded workshop “The Future of Arctic Fjord Systems“ facilitated a transdisciplinary forum for Arctic natural and social scientists for knowledge exchange on the burning issues associated to the transition of the Artic towards a more boreal regime. The workshop focussed on the notion of Arctic fjord systems as coupled social ecological systems (SES), and explored linkages between fjord ecosystem services and changes in their provision and use, as well as adaptation options for industry and governance. It thus aligned with the strategic foci in the Social science and Humanities, Marine and Cryosphere groups.

The discussions during the workshop were synthesized into the concept of the transdisciplinary research project proposal FACE-IT (The Future of Arctic Coastal Ecosystems – Identifying Transitions in Fjord Systems and adjacent coastal areas”). In this way the workshop funded by IASC represents a significant milestone in the process of proposal writing. The full proposal has been submitted to the European Commission, and  embraces 14 partners from eight countries and a total volume of about 6.4 mio EUR.

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