Acronym – full title: COMFORT – Our common future ocean in the Earth system – quantifying coupled cycles of carbon, oxygen, and nutrients for determining and achieving safe operating spaces with respect to tipping points

Project number: 820989.

Duration; 48 months, start 1.Sep.2019.

Topic LC-CLA-08-2018. Call H2020-LC-CLA-2018-2.

COMFORT will close knowledge gaps for key ocean tipping elements under anthropogenic physical and chemical climate forcing through an interdisciplinary research approach. It will provide added value to decision and policy makers in terms of science based safe marine operating spaces, refined climate mitigation targets, and feasible long-term mitigation pathways. We will determine the consequences of passing tipping points in physical tipping elements for the marine carbon, oxygen, and nutrient cycles, as well as tipping points in biogeochemical tipping elements. The respective impact on marine ecosystems will be determined. Projections of the Earth system and impact studies have so far been carried out sequentially in a chain from scenarios to projections to off-line impact studies. This sequential workflow has hampered a quick response of the impact community back to revised scenarios and projections for tackling climate mitigation. COMFORT breaks new ground by bringing together experts from Earth system science, oceanography, fisheries science and ecology in a single integrated project who will work in parallel with a consistent set of analysis tools, scenarios, and interoperable models. The strength of COMFORT lies in the system-focused interdisciplinary approach as opposed to existing studies at the level of individual subsystems. The approach will be pursued with a firm link to stakeholders. COMFORT results will contribute to all four expected impacts for this call.

These impacts are:

  • supporting major international scientific assessments such as the IPCC;
  • increase confidence in climate change projections;
  • providing added-value to decision and policy makers;
  • sustaining Europe’s leadership in climate science.

 

Overall objective: COMFORT will close knowledge gaps for key ocean tipping elements within the Earth system under anthropogenic physical and chemical climate forcing through a coherent interdisciplinary research approach, and aims to provide added value to decision and policy makers in terms of science-based safe marine operating spaces, refined climate mitigation targets, and feasible long-term mitigation pathways. It focuses on the triple threat of (1) warming, (2) deoxygenation, and (3) ocean acidification, and how to optimally deal with this threat.

The following specific objectives will be addressed (CT=core theme, WP= work package) – COMFORT aims to:

  1. Identify climate-induced ocean tipping points and attribute them to processes (CT1, WPs 1-2).
  2. Quantify related impacts and establish multi-dimensional safe operating spaces (CT2, WPs 3-4).
  3. Provide respective mitigation targets and options, as well as projected mitigation pathways (CT3, WPs 5-6).
  4. Integrate stakeholder knowledge and provide new results including data to users (CT4, WPs 7-10).