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Transferring TiPACCs results on ice-sheet instability and sea-level rise to Norwegian stakeholders (TiPACCs4stake)

Awarded: NOK 0.97 mill.

The purpose of TiPACCs4stake is to communicate the latest scientific ideas of the European research project TiPACCs to the Norwegian general public. In TiPACCs, we investigate the possibility of the Antarctic ice sheet becoming unstable, after so-called "tipping points" (thresholds) are crossed. The tipping points we study in TiPACCs are connected to a possible warmer ocean around Antarctica, causing more melting of the floating ice shelves around the Antarctic land ice. When the ice shelves thin, the ice will flow faster from land into the ocean, resulting in a global sea level rise. It is very difficult to know when such changes will happen, which is why we study these processes. Our Norwegian TiPACCs4stake project focuses on discussing tipping points, ice sheets and sea level changes, with various stakeholders. We collaborated with three high schools in the Bergen area, and engaged with school classes (13-16 year old pupils). We visited the schools, together with the local artist Laura Gaiger. The pupils created their own climate-related art, after an interdisciplinary teaching session on artistic processes inspired by climate science and ice sheet change. Gaiger created an art exhibition using the pupils’ artworks, while also creating a walkable art piece in the shape of the Antarctic continent and covered by paintings inspired by art, Antarctic science, and the pupil’s art. The art exhibition was held during a conference on climate and environmental policy, influencers and politics, organized by the “Vi må snakke om i morgen” initiative. This conference was visited by around 300 people, and reached even more people through social media, and a special magazine distributed with the local newspaper Bergens Tidende. We created several short films: 1) where Gaiger explains her artwork (ENG: & NOR:, 2) to show the exhibition and how this was perceived to provide feedback to the participating school classes ( Feedback from the school pupils was generally very positive, and this interdisciplinary method of combining art and science for reaching school pupils, general public, students, influencers, policy makers and other stakeholders is very promising and exciting.

The project reached a wide audience. Highschool students (and teachers) Actively involving the students by challenging them to create art created a sense of ownership that persisted beyond the classroom. This was reinforced by displaying their art to a wide audience at a climate-policy conference, and by giving them feedback (through school visits and video messages) on how their art was received. Although it is difficult to measure, we believe that this approach contributed to a deeper understanding and awareness of climate-related processes and their importance than traditional approaches would have. University students, policy makers, politicians The exhibition attracted many interested participants during the conference. Laura Gaiger’s walkable floor-art in the shape of Antarctica inspired many questions and discussions around Antarctica from teachers, local politicians and decision makers as well as university students. The pupils’ art left an impression on the visitors as it rendered the sometimes abstract and far-away consequences of climate change very tangible. Artists and scientists For most of the project team, the approach of combining art and science is still relatively new. Under the experienced guidance of Mathew Stiller-Reeve we familiarized ourselves with the process, explored its possibilities and pitfalls and are now in a better position to apply it more efficiently. Through the inclusion of artist Laura Gaiger, we also expanded our network which will facilitate future collaborations with artists more easily.

Sea-level rise, a direct consequence of climate change, represents one of the most pressing threats to coastal communities, the industry and business sector as well as the civil society. To make informed decisions about protective or adaptive measures, it is crucial that decision makers are provided with the best possible projections of sea-level rise as well as the attached uncertainties. One of the largest uncertainties originates from the polar ice sheets, particularly the Antarctic Ice Sheet that stores ice equivalent to 60-m global mean sea-level rise. Through instabilities in Antarctic climate components, a significant part of this ice can be released rather fast, causing a large and abrupt change in sea level that, due to gravitational adjustment processes, will be felt stronger in regions far away from the ice sheet like Norway. The aim of the EU-funded project TiPACCs, led by NORCE scientists Petra Langebroek and Svein Østerhus, is to identify and understand tipping points in the Antarctic climate components that can – when being crossed – lead to such a large and irreversible loss of mass from the ice sheet. TiPACCs addresses amongst others questions such as how fast how much ice can be released and whether early warning indicators exist for such an event. This information is crucial for stakeholders in the coastal zone and so far acknowledged but missing from national guidelines on future sea-level rise. In TiPACCs4stake, we aim to transfer the scientific knowledge produced in TiPACCs to stakeholders working in the coastal zone via a dedicated joint event with scientists and Norwegian stakeholders. We aim for the transfer of knowledge to not just be uni-directional but will facilitate a dialogue between scientists and stakeholders starting with a stakeholder survey prior to the event. This way, we ensure that stakeholders are provided with the latest scientific based information tailored to their needs.

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