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Project Content - Arctic Climate Change,
Economy and Society




Jean-Claude Gascard

Senior scientist for the French Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique CNRS since 1992.

Docteur d’Etat of University Pierre et Marie Curie UPMC since 1977, speciality Océanographie Physique Dynamique.

Jean-Claude Gascard started working in polar oceanography in 1976 on the Labrador Sea in cooperation ...

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 ACCESS Deliverables

Flyer / Newsletters #1-11 / Policy Briefs #1-3

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 The current status of Arctic sea ice

Project Content

ACCESS is composed of 5 working groups:

  •  A first group will focus on monitoring and modeling Arctic climate change involving ocean, atmosphere and sea-ice.
  •  A second group will study the opening to marine transportation of the northern passages, north of Europe and Siberia (North-East passage) and through the Canadian Archipelago (North-West passage) as well as the impact of these transportation activities on marine ecosystems and society.
  •  A third group will examine how climate change impacts on Arctic fisheries, aquaculture and livelihood, mainly in the sub-Arctic sectors such as the Barents Sea.
  •  A fourth group will determine how the extraction of offshore oil and gas might be influenced and affected by climatic change, taking into account associated risks
  •  A fifth group will examine Arctic governance options emerging from the findings of the other groups.


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Context and Objectives


The Arctic is engaged in significant climatic evolution. This evolution is quite predictable at short (year) and longer scales (several decades), but it is the decadal intermediate scale that is the most difficult to predict. This is because the natural variability of the system is large and dominant at this scale, and the system is highly non linear due to positive and negative feedback between sea ice, the ocean and atmosphere.


 Already today, due to the increase of the GHG concentration in the atmosphere and the amplification of global warming in the Arctic, the impacts of climate change in the region are apparent, e.g. in the reduction in sea-ice, in changes in weather patterns and cyclones or in the melting of glaciers and permafrost. It is therefore not surprising that models clearly predict that Artic sea ice will disappear in summer within 20 or 30 years, yielding new opportunities and risks for human activities in the Arctic.


 This climatic evolution is going to have major impacts on both marine ecosystems and human activities in the Arctic. These in turn will have large socio-economic implications for Europe.
ACCESS will evaluate climatic impacts in the Arctic on marine transportation (including tourism), fisheries, the extraction of hydrocarbons for the next 30 years and the effect of the changes in the named economic sectors on marine mammals; with particular attention to environmental sensitivities and sustainability.


  These meso-economic issues will be extended to the macro-economic scale in order to highlight trans-sectoral implications and provide an integrated assessment of the socio-economic impact of climate change. An important aspect of ACCESS, given the geostrategic implication of Arctic state changes, will be the consideration of Arctic governance issues, including the framework UNCLOS (United Nations Convention for the Law of the Sea). ACCESS dedicates a full work package to integrate Arctic climate changes, socioeconomic impacts and Arctic governance issues.