Arctic Climate Change Research Project
"Rapid Change of the Arctic Climate System and its Global Influences" 2011-2016

Core Institute : National Institute of Polar Research (NIPR)
Associated Institute : Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC)

Why is the Arctic now?

The changes occurring in the Arctic are both substantial and rapid, and different parts of the Arctic climate system are involved. The sea ice cover is retreating at an alarming rate. The ocean and surface temperatures are rising. The current temperature rise in the Arctic is about twice as much as the global average. Concurrent with these changes the Greenland ice sheet is thinning, and permafrost is thawing, which inevitably bring other changes in the Arctic hydrological cycle and ecosystems.

It has long been argued that the Arctic is the precursor of our changing planet. But beyond the presence of icealbedo feedback, which seems to accelerate both warming of the ocean and melting of sea ice, there are so many open questions regarding underlying mechanisms of the Arctic change. The roles of solar activities, ozone depletion, aerosols, clouds, methane and land processes and other factors involved in the Arctic change await better explanation and clarification.

Over 300 scientists from 35 organizations are participating in the Project

Recognizing this great scientific challenge we start a new Japanese initiative "Arctic Climate Change Research Project" within the framework of the GRENE (Green Network of Excellence) Program funded by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology-Japan (MEXT) .
The Project is funded for 5 years starting in FY2011 and jointly managed by the National Institute of Polar Research (NIPR) and JAMSTEC.

Now over 300 scientists from 35 organizations are participating in the Project, tackling all aspects of the Arctic climate system; the atmosphere, ocean, cryosphere, land and ecosystems from a multi-disciplinary approach.

The Project also fosters close collaboration between model and observational studies. Their results complement to each other. Model results help to interpret observations while observations are used to constrain models and validate model outputs. Data archiving efforts in the Project further enhance this close relationship between model and observational studies. Last but not least, the Project seeks and promotes international collaboration with other institutes in various nations, which is essential for Arctic research, while the Japan Consortium for Arctic Environmental Research (JCAR) is founded to bolster Arctic research activities within Japan.

Four strategic research targets:

Green Network of Excellence (GRENE) Program is…

In June 2010, the Japanese Cabinet decided upon a new strategy for growth: the "Strategy for becoming an environment and energy power through green innovation." In response to this strategy, the Council for Science and Technology Policy brought out their report "The Science and Technology Basic Plan" in December 2010 in which they also positioned "green innovation" to be one of the main pillars supporting responses to the issues of energy and climate change.

Following on, the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) initiated the Green Network of Excellence (GRENE) in FY2011. Through a strategic collaboration between universities and research institutions, GRENE aims to promote both the highest level of research in the world and the training and development of human resources. In addition to its work in the Arctic Climate Change Research Project, GRENE is also involved in research in the areas of environmental informatics, botanical science, and advanced environmental materials.