COMFORT has reached the end: “COMFORT’s highlight in one page”

(NYHETSBREV (Newsletter), Geofysisk institutt, Universitetet i Bergen, 1. September 2023, Page 7)

EU H2020 project COMFORT is an interdisciplinary EU Horizon2020 project consisting of four Core Themes (CT), ten work packages and 32 international partners, started in September 2019. The overall objective of COMFORT is to provide knowledge gaps on ocean tipping points, abrupt changes, regime shifts under global warming due to human-caused emissions of greenhouse gases

COMFORT has reached the finish line on 31.Aug.2023. COMFORT successfully overcome the stressful pandemic periods. It was possible due to the excellent collaboration between scientific partners and directors of the project, Christoph Heinze (UiB) and Thorsten Blecker (SU), and the project managers.

Today, COMFORT has not only closed knowledge gaps but deliver advancement beyond state-of-the-art in understanding the past and future of ocean biogeochemistry tipping elements as well as suggesting series of mitigation and decisions for policy makers.

COMFORT has issued an alert on the new emerging climate feedback due to ocean warming which is projected to occur in the near future and can be irreversible towards the end of the century. This includes reversibility of abrupt changes and regime shifts in the ocean. The climate-induced abrupt changes will critically affect marine species and ecosystems at different trophic levels. Findings stated that only substantial and immediate reduction of greenhouse gas emission would partially induce reversibility in the ocean, primarily for the AMOC weakening and Artic Sea ice. However, the triple threat of the ocean such as (1) warming, (2) deoxygenation, and (3) ocean acidification will still persist over centuries to millenia, even after greenhouse gas emissions will have stopped.

Accordingly, COMFORT also suggested series of mitigation strategies within their efficiencies and potential risks associated in order to avoid reaching the overshot temperature (1.5°C) target in the Paris Agreement, such as simulation and implementation of large-scale carbon dioxide removal in the Earth system and assessment of their impacts on the ecosystem afterwards.

COMFORT’s work has already contributed to increasing awareness to the scientific community, policy makers and the public concerning potential damage from imminent ocean tipping points. COMFORT’s recent results have reached large audiences and have already left a substantial societal and academic footprint. At this final stage of the project, four (04) synthesis papers, one per Core Theme, are in the process of publication in order to disseminate and pass on COMFORT’s legacy. These documents are critical in assisting mitigation efforts towards limiting damages of increased greenhouse gas emissions and contribute to the IPCC report.

Must-see article: “COMFORT project warns of irreversible damage to marine environment”

COMFORT project warns of irreversible damage to marine environment

Climate change, pollution and overfishing threaten our oceans. The EU-COMFORT project calls for imminent greenhouse gas reduction to limit irreversible damage. Check out more the integrality of the article:

English version:

Norwegian version:

Source: Linn Therese Nicolaysen Hauan, Kommunikasjonsmedarbeider, Universitetet i Bergen

Release of a Policy Brief and Key Findings from the H2020 COMFORT project: Tipping Points and Regime Shifts in Regional Marine Ecosystems

A new policy brief and key findings has been released focusing on tipping points and regime shifts in regional marine ecosystems (Rusiecka et al., 2023). This new policy brief document contains key findings from the EU-COMFORT project and complement them with available literature on human induced impacts on marine ecosystems, particularly in the Arctic, Atlantic, Pacific, and Southern
Oceans, as well as in three European seas: the Mediterranean, Baltic, and North Sea.

Workshop on marine tipping points and extreme events

COMFORT organized a successful workshop on 14th April 2023, focusing on ocean tipping points and extreme events, for key stakeholders in Norwegian society. The workshop was well-attended, with representatives from several important Norwegian organizations, including the Norwegian Environment Agency, the Research Council of Norway, Bergen Kommune, GRID-Arendal, CINEA/EU, Met Office Norway, and the Arctic Monitoring Assessment Programme, etc …

The event primarily aimed to clarify the concept of “Tipping Points,” and presented recent findings from the two EU Horizon 2020 projects, COMFORT and TiPACCs, as well as the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme. Discussions covered various aspects of reversibility, time scales, uncertainties, mitigation pathways, adaptation options, and policy recommendations. Additionally, the event was objectively planned to communicate and involve Stakeholders to be aware of climate-induced imminent and future changes which may affect Norway and their related cascading effects. 

The workshop sessions were recorded and available just right here: Videos

Dagmara Rusiecka is the EU Climate Pact Ambassador in Norway representing COMFORT

The European Climate Pact unites people around a common cause to build a sustainable Europe for us all and all the generations to come. The Climate Pact initiative was launched by the European Commission as part of the European Green Deal in support of the EU’s goal to be the first climate-neutral continent in the world by 2050.

The European Climate Pact Ambassadors are people passionate about climate action, eager to make an impact and prevent climate change through various activities in their networks and local communities. Recently, Dagmara has become the European Climate Pact Ambassador representing COMFORT, the University of Bergen and Norway. Dagmara’s overarching goal is to directly translate Ocean and climate change scientific knowledge into political and societal action through two-way communication with policy makers and citizens. Oceans produce 50% of our oxygen, regulate weather and climate, and thus protecting it is a matter of global urgency. As a Climate Ambassador, her mission is to enhance the awareness of the Ocean’s role in climate regulation, the impacts of climate change on the Ocean and sustainable solutions to protect it.

Policy Brief: Key findings and recommendations from three H2020 Projects on Tipping Points: TiPES, COMFORT, and TiPACCs


There is a threat of imminent abrupt and irreversible transitions in the Earth system, both on land and in the ocean. A reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and in land-use change must be implemented urgently to mitigate these changes through political, economic, and societal measures. Yet, considerable knowledge gaps remain concerning the processes underlying the dynamics of tipping elements,

Three EU funded Horizon2020 projects have been investigating tipping behaviour in the Earth system: Tipping Points in the Earth System (TiPES), Our Common Future Ocean in the Earth System (COMFORT), and Tipping Points in Antarctic Climate Components (TiPACCs). In the joint policy brief, you can find key findings of the three projects, persisting knowledge gaps as well as policy recommendations.

The policy brief is available for free download here.


COMFORT has been a top-ranking contributor to the latest IPCC report!

We are pleased to share that COMFORT has been a top-ranking contributor to the latest IPCC report (Working Group II: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability) among the European Climate, Infrastructure and Environment Executive Agency (CINEA)

We are very proud to provide scientific knowledge used in one of the most important international assessments on climate change!

Stephanie Henson (NOC) at COP26

COMFORT scientist and WP2 co-leader, Stephanie Henson (National Oceanography Centre, Southampton) attended COP26 in Glasgow during the 1st week of the climate action negotiations. Here she tells us about her experience there:

Steph Henson (NOC) at COP26

“It was all quite overwhelming, with almost 20,000 attendees.  It was strange to be back in such a big crowd after the isolation of Covid!  The COP was centred around several areas: pavilions, the Hub and the negotiating rooms.  The pavilions were set up in trade show style, each representing a country or theme, with a variety of talks or other activities.  I spent a lot of time at the Science Pavilion (no surprise!) which presented the science of climate change in different formats.  I also enjoyed visiting pavilions on the themes of resilience, the UN Ocean Decade and biodiversity – but the best coffee was in the Australia pavilion!  The Hub was where most of the media action happened, and also live streamed talks from the main negotiating rooms (which ‘Observers’, like myself, could only attend if there was space for us).  Overall, it felt a bit like a chaotic circus with a million things happening at once, but I had some fruitful conversations with scientists from other fields, negotiators and business leaders.  My abiding memory though will probably be the long (long) queues to access the site every day, the huge climate protests engulfing Glasgow, and wearing a face mask for 14 hours a day!  But hopefully, policy makers are now truly hearing the message on climate change and are ready to take the difficult decisions necessary to ensure the goals of the Paris agreement are met.”