Polar Amplification Model Intercomparison Project

Lead Research Organisation: University of Exeter
Department Name: Mathematics


The loss of Arctic sea-ice is one of the most compelling manifestations of man-made climate change. Profound environmental change is already affecting Arctic inhabitants and ecosystems. Increasing scientific evidence, including many key papers by the PI, suggests the impacts of sea-ice loss will be felt way beyond the poles. Linkages between Arctic sea-ice loss and extreme mid-latitude weather have become an area of increasing scholarly enquiry and societal interest. Yet, significant knowledge gaps remain that demand urgent attention; in particular, the robustness of response to sea-ice loss - and its underpinning physical causes - across different climate models.

The Polar Amplification Model Intercomparison Project (PA-MIP) will significantly advance the state-of-the-art in understanding and modelling the climate response to Arctic and Antarctic sea-ice loss. It will enable deeper understanding of the causes and global effects of past and future polar change, and the physical mechanisms involved. PA-MIP is a novel and unique collaboration of UK and international scientists. To promote fruitful collaboration and drive research excellence, this proposal supports two key activities: a secondment scheme and a synthesis workshop, both with direct benefit to NERC-funded science.

Planned Impact

Beneficiaries of the project include:

Academia: the project will inform studies in the physical sciences through knowledge generation and new data resources (see Academic Beneficiaries). This audience will be reached through journal publications, conference presentations and via collaborative networks.

Weather and climate services: the project outcomes are relevant to public (e.g., UK Met Office) and private sector actors in the fields of long-term climate change projection and seasonal to decadal weather prediction. By improving our understanding of the ways Arctic sea ice loss effects the wider climate system, and our ability to model these processes, the project will inform predictability studies. For example, improved knowledge of the connections between Arctic sea ice loss and UK winter weather will shed light on whether extreme winter weather (such as that seen in recent winters) is likely to become more common in the future. Ultimately, better prediction will directly impact the ability of society to anticipate, mitigate and adapt to future changes. This audience will be primarily reached through a public sector partnership with the UK Met Office.

Government: Governments are becoming increasingly interested in Arctic climate change because the retreat of sea ice is allowing access to previously ice-bound regions. This has potential implications for governance and policy in a number of areas. At the forefront of these are the governance of and rights to Arctic resources and transportation routes that may become plausible and/or financially viable in future climate states. The project outcomes will inform policy decisions through providing improved projections of future sea ice conditions. This audience will be primarily reached via participation in the IPCC process, and through links between the UK government and the Met Office.

Industry: the project outcomes will be of interest to stakeholders with current or potential future Arctic interests. Specifically, the improved projections of future Arctic sea ice conditions are relevant to, for example, the marine transportation sector for which knowledge of possible future sea ice conditions and therefore, access to the ice-effected northern shipping routes could led to enhanced efficiency and business performance; the oil and natural gas sector because future access to marine resources may inform operational decisions, and financial investment in prospecting and infrastructure. Other stakeholders include the fisheries and tourism sectors. Ultimately, through these impacts the project can contribute to better business performance, wealth creation and economic prosperity.

NGOs and Public: these audiences will benefit from increased awareness and understanding of Arctic climate change and its consequences. They will be reached via the website and outreach activities, including public lectures and educational events.
Description Met Office 
Organisation Meteorological Office UK
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Knowledge exchange
Collaborator Contribution Knowledge exchange
Impact Workshop, media briefing
Start Year 2012
Description NCAR 
Organisation NCAR National Center for Atmospheric Research
Country United States 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Provision of data, analysis of data, publications
Collaborator Contribution Provision of data, analysis of data, publications
Impact Publications
Start Year 2010