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With Arctic PASSION

View of Tasiilaq, town in Greenland, with colourful houses on mountain hills.
View of the town Tasiilaq, Greenland. Photo by Filip Gielda on Unsplash.

A new project is launched, called Arctic PASSION, with focus on climate change in the Arctic. The European Union will provide 15 million euros from the Horizon 2020 Programme to fund the project from 2021 to 2025. The department of Physical Geography and Ecosystem Science is represented by two teams.

There are two Swedish participants, both with connetions to is the department of Physical Geography and Ecosystem Science (INES); one research team and also the INTERACT consortium which is coordinated from the department. Arctic PASSION is the acronym of Pan-Arctic observing System of Systems: Implementing Observations for societal Needs. Associate Professor Marko Scholze is part of the research team from INES:

Researcher Marko Scholze in front of a university building.
Associate Professor Marko Scholze.

Arctic PASSION got quite a lot of funding. What kind of project is it?

Arctic PASSION is a research project funded by the European Commission under the Horizon 2020 programme aiming at supporting the implementation of GEOSS (Global Earth Observation System of Systems) in the Arctic in collaboration with Europe's Copernicus programme. The project is coordinated by Alfred Wegener Institute and from Lund University Margareta Johansson (researcher at INES and coordinator INTERACT) and I are involved. The project starts in July this year and runs over 4 years.

What are you hoping to achieve in the project?

Arctic-PASSION can in a way be seen as a successor project to KEPLER where we developed a roadmap for Copernicus to deliver an improved European observation capacity for the Polar Regions and Arctic-PASSION is now about the implementation of such as an observing system.  My own interest lies in evaluating existing and potential observations in terms of their added values for constraining terrestrial ecosystem properties such as permafrost extent or carbon fluxes (that is reducing uncertainties in the model predictions) using the Arctic-enabled version of LPJ-GUESS (LPJ-GUESS is a process-based dynamic vegetation-terrestrial ecosystem model designed for regional or global studies/ ed´s note).

Tell us about yourself, who are you as a researcher?

I am a terrestrial ecosystem and carbon cycle modeller interested in the interactions between the land surface and climate. My main interest lies in the application of mathematical/statistical approaches to optimise terrestrial ecosystem models using various types of observations (ground-based as well as satellite).

What is it about the Arctic that interests you?

The Arctic is one of the regions on the globe that is and will be most affected by climate change causing severe changes in the environment. Some of these changes (like sea ice retreat or permafrost thaw) can already be seen today.