Meeting the challenges of Earth System Science International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme IGBP in the next decade Guy Brasseur Chair IGBP-SC
The Earth is currently operating in a no-analogue state. In terms of key environmental parameters, the Earth System has recently moved well outside the range of natural variability exhibited over at least the last half million years. The nature of changes now occurring simultaneously in the Earth System, their magnitudes and rates of change are unprecedented. From: Steffen et al. 2003
Research Challenges for the Next Decade How dangerous is the unintended human experiment with the functioning of the Earth System? What are the anthropogenic disturbance regimes and teleperturbations that matter at the Earth System level? Which are the vital elements and functions of the Earth System that can actually be transformed by human action? What are the accessible but intolerable (for humans) domains in ’Earth System phase space’?
The CLAW hypothesis (R. Charlson, M. Andreae, et al.)
The Lorenz attractors: the story of predictability.
The realization of the importance of the carbon cycle (B. Bolin, R. Revelle)
The iron fertilization (J. Martin)
Vostok (Antarctica): 4 glacial cycles (Petit et al., 1999)
Effects of GEC on terrestrial ecosystems: Multiple nonlinear processes Reynolds et al. submitted Interactions among multiple factors Nonlinear response to individual factors Nonlinear response through time Response thresholds
Earth System Modeling From the simplest models to explore ideas to the most detailed model to check against obserbational data. Develop data assimilation and inversion schemes. Adapt model to help in the stewardship of the Earth system.
Continue to develop classic models of the Earth system, but at the same time use tools of complex system science which recognize that the interactions between constituents parts of a system lead to the emergence of structures and to self-organization.
Open modeling framework in which different modules can be adapted, and different concepts can be tested.
The development of future models should involve stakeholders, so that they understand concepts, uncertainties, etc.
Departure from equilibrium models to nonlinear dynamic processes with cascades, phase changes, bifurcations, abrupt transitions, etc.
Natural and Social Sciences: The Northwestern Passage
I am looking for the ”passage” between natural and human sciences. The way is not simple. It is as difficult as traveling through the famous Canadian Northwestern passage.
The Nortwestern passage gets open, gets closed, meanders accross the immense fractal Arctic region through an extremely complicated route. Random distribution and strong regular constraints, disorder and laws.
R. Amundsen got through the passage at the begining of the 20th century. This had been a dream for 400 years.
I am still dreaming of such an accomplishment on the side of knowledge.
Has the current research focus distracted the scientific community from addressing more policy relevant questions such as reduction of vulnerability, resilience and adaptation strategies and limits, ecosystem management, decarbonization of our energy system, etc.?
How should decisions be made in a world of scientific uncertainties?
Atmosphere Terrestrial Ecosystems Aquatic Ecosystems Human Activities Groundwater Effects Surface water Effects Coastal Effects Stratospheric Effects Energy Production PM & Visibility Effects Ozone Effects Agroecosystem Effects NH x Food Production NO x NO x Crop Animal People (Food; Fiber) Soil NO 3 The Nitrogen Cascade NH 3 --Indicates denitrification potential N org Forests & Grassland Soil Ocean Effects N 2 O GH Effects N 2 O
The Earth System Atlas will provide through an open process a web-based interactive product accessible to the scientific community, which will be able to interact with peer-evaluated products of relevance for earth system science at the global and regional scales.