CLImate induced glacial melting on COastal communities along W. Ant. PENinsula

Project Description
Short Title: ClicOPEN
Project URL: http://www.polarjahr.de/ClicOPEN.68+M52087573ab0.0.html
Proposal URL:http://classic.ipy.org/development/eoi/proposal-details.php?id=34

The response of terrestrial and marine coastal systems to ongoing climate change

The Western Antarctic Peninsula is getting warmer and warmer. Rapid regional warming of air temperatures observed over the last fifty years has been exceptional and unprecedented within the past 500 years. As a consequence, glaciers are retreating and leaving new ice-free areas for primary colonization of terrestrial and near shore marine plants and animals.

The ClicOPEN initiative is aimed at investigating the response of terrestrial and marine coastal systems to ongoing climate change along this area. The project is land based and uses existing Antarctic research stations in four different areas of the Antarctic Peninsula as platforms for synoptic field and laboratory studies during the IPY. It will start during the Antarctic summer of 2006/2007.

The objectives within the ClicOPEN approach are dual:
A) to analyze and quantify effects of glacial melting and increased rock erosion on terrestrial and near shore marine ecosystems on a latitudinal gradient along the Western coast of the Antarctic Peninsula.
B) to provide a basis for a mechanistic understanding of climate change processes at the peninsula that will serve to draw a link to present and future changes in more remote shelf regions of the Southern Ocean.

ClicOPEN is land based and uses existing Antarctic research stations in 4 different areas of the Antarctic Peninsula as platforms for synoptic field and laboratory studies during the IPY. Comparative work at McMurdo, Ross Sea is intended. A station based programme enables us to include many scientists into cooperative and comparative work, make use of the existing logistic background provided by field stations and home institutions, and also to draw from historical data sets in locations of long-term scientific records, including temperature records and documented contours of ice caps and glaciers.