BC3. Basque centre for climate change – Klima aldaketa ikergai

Objective 1: Understand past and future climate changes

Responsible scientific support for policymaking and co-generation of far-reaching scientific knowledge require a clear understanding of the physical basis of climate change. Therefore, one of the objectives of BC3 is to cultivate a solid knowledge of the fundamental physical processes that drive climate change, with a primary focus on the most sensitive environments, like the cryosphere. In a similar vein, BC3 plans to build the IzotzaLab: the Centre’s Low-Temperature Science Laboratory for microscopy of frozen samples (e.g. ice, permafrost, microorganisms). The IzotzaLab aims to attract leading experts in low-temperature sciences, including glaciology, polar microbiology, materials science, Earth and planetary sciences, and so on, therefore enhancing the interaction of BC3 with top-rank climate scientists and related laboratories. On the theoretical side, this objective focuses on the development of methodological innovations in complex dynamical systems modelling and statistical analysis, with a threefold purpose:

  • (1) to provide the theoretical basis for the study of the physical processes that control the climate at regional and global scales,
  • (2) to tackle the socio-economic implications of changes in the physical processes already mentioned, and
  • (3) to provide mathematical support to all objectives of BC3 in particular Activities 1.2, 3.5, 4.4, 4.5 and Project 2 of Objective 6. BC3 aims to expand this objective to include further aspects of global climate modelling, such as aerosols formation, under the Research Line (RL) Climate Basis.


Activity 1.1. Analysis and interpretation of climate records.

In this activity we study the formation, evolution, and decay of (paleo-)climate records (from ice cores, speleothems, sediment cores, etc.), through chemico-physical modelling, statistical analysis, laboratory experiments (IzotzaLab) and fieldwork. On the theoretical side, we develop new theories of climate proxy formation and evolution (proxy modelling) using thermodynamic and statistical physics approaches. We also develop new mathematical tools for time-series and climate-risk analysis, including resampling and wavelet analysis, taking into account timescale errors. On the empirical side, besides the IzotzaLab, BC3 participates in major polar deep-drilling programs, including EPICA and EastGRIP. (Lead: S.H. Faria).


Activity 1.2. Dynamics of the cryosphere.

Here we investigate the multiscale dynamics of the cryosphere (glaciers, ice sheets, sea ice, icebergs, permafrost, etc.) including their mutual and environmental interactions. The ultimate objective of this activity is to develop a multiscale dynamic system model of cryosphere dynamics, capable of being coupled to global climate models (GCMs) and modelling platforms like ARIES. In this field, BC3 has been contributing to several prestigious ice dynamics models, including CAFFE, SICOPOLIS, and the continuous diversity model. The hypotheses and models developed in this activity are also tested and verified empirically through feedbacks from IzotzaLab and field studies like the polar deep-drilling programs EPICA and EastGRI. (Lead: S.H. Faria).


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