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Search for DAMOCLES - Study of Environmental Arctic Change – Developing Arctic Modelling and Observing Capability for Long-term Environmental Studies

Summary information

Funding:FP6 - Specific Support Action
Total cost:605000
Ec contribution:605000
Start date:2006-01-10
End date:2010-05-31
Duration:44 months
Coordinator:Jean-Claude Gascard (
Organisation:Université Pierre et Marie Curie – France
Themes:Ice melting; biological impacts; socio-economic consequences
Project name:Search for DAMOCLES - Study of Environmental Arctic Change – Developing Arctic Modelling and Observing Capability for Long-term Environmental Studies
Project summary:Abstract
SEARCH for DAMOCLES is proposing an SSA that is based on recent initiatives started in Europe and the USA in the field of Arctic marine ecosystems and global change, with specific emphasis on Arctic Ocean long-term observatories. The SSA will capitalize on opportunities and significant benefits arising from coordination of large scale research programmes such as the European Integrated Project DAMOCLES (Developing Arctic Modelling and Observing Capabilities for Long-term Environmental studies) and the US research program SEARCH (Study of Environmental Arctic Change). SEARCH for DAMOCLES, positioned in the domain of Arctic Science, will be particularly timely in the context of the International Polar Year and will significantly contribute to the coordinated implementation of the DAMOCLES and SEARCH work programmes in the field of Global Change and Ecosystems. Close synchronization of these programmes will enhance the acquisition of pan-Arctic data sets, and their analysis, the dissemination and archiving of results, as well as heightening public awareness. International workshops and conferences including other partners such as Canada, Russian Federation, and Asian countries (Japan, China, and South Korea), will enable translation of the results into planning of integrated, future activities that will be based on the SSA SEARCH for DAMOCLES. The coordination and synchronization of Arctic programs such as DAMOCLES and SEARCH, through an SSA is a unique opportunity to ensure the necessary pan-Arctic coverage of observations and data evaluation for understanding Arctic system variability, avoiding major gaps and unnecessary overlaps. This EU-US SSA will also contribute to promotion and facilitation of future RTD activities via prospective studies, exploratory measures and pilot actions. The EU-US SSA SEARCH for DAMOCLES is proposed for 3 years covering the 3 last years of the 4-year DAMOCLES Integrated Project (2006-2009) and the 2 years of the IPY (2007-2008).

Recently the two independent pan-Arctic, long-term research programmes SEARCH (Study of Environmental Arctic Change) and DAMOCLES (Developing Arctic Modelling and Observing Capabilities for Long-term Environmental Studies) have been designed in the US and Europe, respectively, to increase our capability for predicting Arctic climate changes. Both programmes propose elements of an integrated observing and forecasting system on seasonal to climate time scales. These programmes have been funded independently: SEARCH by a US interagency consortium (NSF, NOAA, NASA etc.) and DAMOCLES by the European Union under the 6th Framework Programme. Both projects have set out ambitious goals that challenge the intellectual and infrastructural resources of the Arctic science community. In spite of these challenges, they certainly will constitute one of the highlights of the upcoming International Polar Year (IPY) in 2007 and 2008. DAMOCLES represents a major effort in Europe gathering 45 institutions (more than 100 principal investigators) in 12 European countries (including Russian Federation). SEARCH reaches similarly deep into the US Arctic science community. The main objective of the Specific Support Action “SEARCH for DAMOCLES” is to explore and realize opportunities and benefits to coordinate these two large research programmes that represent major efforts by EU and US scientists and have largely common goals and objectives. This EU-US SSA will be a key enabling mechanism for the two programmes SEARCH and DAMOCLES to successfully tackle one of the largest challenges Arctic scientists have faced. The SSA will also contribute to reinforcing the international cooperation to develop long-term environmental research programmes in the Arctic regions to answer the key questions underlying the observed rapid changes and their impact on physical, biological and human domains in a fragile and delicately balanced Arctic system.

The overall objectives of SEARCH for DAMOCLES are to:
- Coordinate across the Atlantic the scientific efforts to make systematic observations of atmospheric and oceanic variables in the Arctic and subarctic domain, including those of sea-ice, so as to improve forecasting of the Arctic marine and atmospheric environment, as well as projections of long-term trends.
- Consolidate long-term observations required for documentation and modelling of change and in particular prediction of extreme climate events.
- Establish common databases and contribute to international programmes (ISAC, IPY, CliC, CLIVAR, AOSB).
- The specific objectives of SEARCH and DAMOCLES are to coordinate the research conducted within the SEARCH and DAMOCLES programmes required for answering fundamental scientific questions with the goal to:
- Determine the processes responsible for present variability and changes in the Arctic climate system.
- Improve our capabilities to predict Arctic climate changes in particular extreme climate events.
- Design optimal components of a long-term integrated monitoring and forecasting system for the Arctic Ocean.
- Assess impacts of an extreme climate event such as the disappearance of the Arctic perennial sea-ice.