The North Atlantic Climate System Integrated Study (ACSIS)

Start date
1 April, 2016
End date
31 March, 2022

Major changes are occurring across the North Atlantic climate system: in the ocean and atmosphere temperatures and circulation, in sea ice thickness and extent, and in key atmospheric constituents such as ozone, methane and aerosols. Many of the changes that scientists are observing here are unprecedented in the instrumental records.

The North Atlantic climate system is made up of: the ocean, the atmosphere above it, and interactions with Arctic Sea Ice and the Greenland Ice Sheet. ACSIS takes a holistic view of this system. Focussing on understanding recent changes in the ocean, the atmosphere (including its composition), the cryosphere and the interactions between these constituent components. By understanding how these changes relate to external drivers of climate, such as human activity, or natural variability ACSIS will improve our capability to detect, explain and predict changes in the North Atlantic climate system.

We’re particularly interested in the North Atlantic because changes here directly affect the UK’s climate, weather and air quality, with major economic impacts on agriculture, fisheries, water, energy, transport and health. The North Atlantic also has global importance, since changes here drive changes in climate, hazardous weather and air quality further afield, such as in North America, Africa and Asia.

Professor Rowan Sutton explains:

“ACSIS brings together scientists from a range of different specialisms to understand complex changes in the North Atlantic climate system. The team will provide new observations and data products, observation opportunities, models, and simulations.

This is a great opportunity for the community to work together to address this challenge which cuts across topics in environmental science. This is an exciting, world-leading, research programme that brings together a wide range of expertise and capabilities.”

The project is a NERC multi-centre collaboration which has been fully funded for five years (2016-2021) through NERC’s Long Term Science commissioning which aims to encourage its research centres to work closely together to tackle major scientific and societal challenges. ACSIS is one of the projects designed to enable more ambitious science than any single research organisation could provide.

Link to official ACSIS page.