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The Bjerknes Centre is a collaboration on climate research, between the University of Bergen, Uni Research, the Institute of Marine Research, Nansen Environmental and Remote Sensing Centre.

C-ICE connects Antarctic sea ice loss with Indian monsoon

The photo is taken during the INDNOR Collaborative meeting in May. Michel Mesquita, Jürgen Bader, Tore Furevik and a representative from the Norwegian Research Council are present. The meeting discussed the four India-related projects funded by the Research Council: NORINDIA, GLACINDIA, HyCAMP and INDICE. The meeting strengthened the relationship with Indian partners and various Norwegian institutions.

C-ICE connects Antarctic sea ice loss with Indian monsoon

​The Indo-Norwegian collaboration receives funding from the research council to investigate the teleconnection that links remote dynamics. The overall objective is to understand the potential impact of Antarctic sea-ice loss on the Indian summer monsoon.

The project managers of “C-ICE: Counteracting effect of future Antarctic sea-ice loss on projected increases of summer Monsoon rainfall” are Michel Mesquita at Uni Research and the Bjerknes Centre, and Vidyunmala Veldore at TERI University in New Delhi. This international collaboration project takes on a completely new approach by connecting sea ice loss and monsoons, and has potential relevance for our future climate.

- Our hypothesis proposes that the Indian summer monsoon is sensitive to future Antarctic sea-ice loss. Sea ice acts as a lid, and if that lid is removed relatively warm ocean waters come in contact with the atmosphere and heat it, adding to the energy budget of the atmosphere and changing how it transports energy from the Equator to the poles, Mesquita and Toniazzo explain.

Changing winds

The project focuses on the dynamics of the large-scale circulation of the atmosphere and will make use of climate models to show the teleconnection linking remote changes in the polar regions with the dynamics of the tropical monsoon systems.

- Our approach will investigate how global winds depend on the amount of Antarctic sea ice. Winds carry energy mainly in the form of water vapour so when winds shift rainfall becomes displaced, Mesquita and Toniazzo explain.

Global collaboration

C-ICE is one of eight Indo-Norwegian projects that receive funding from the Norwegian research council, whom together with their Indian partner the Ministry of Earth Science (MoEss) funds projects involved with earthquakes and the climate system in polar areas.

The main partner for C-ICE is the TERI University in New Delhi. In addition, scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology in Hamburg and from the University of Reading and the British Antarctic Survey in the United Kingdom will participate.

This Indo-Norwegian collaboration started in 2009, but Mesquita points out that the C-ICE project is very different compared to the two previous projects. TERI focuses mainly on influencing political policies and climate impacts on a local scale and has done little research on climate modeling and changes. The major task has been to develop good infrastructure and excellent foundation of climate knowledge. Researchers affiliated with the various European institutions such as Mesquita, Toniazzo, Bader, Hogdes, Bracegirdle and Li will convey knowledge on sea ice and modeling.

- We contribute with training in modeling technology and method, while they contribute with important local knowledge about Indian climate, rainfall and climate variability. Now that the infrastructure is in place we can finally just focus on the science, Mesquita says.