CSDMS 2011 annual meeting poster Larry Hinzman
The Need for System Scale Studies in Polar Regions
The understanding of polar regions has advanced tremendously in the past two decades and much of the improved insight into our knowledge of environmental dynamics is due to multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary studies conducted by coordinated and collaborative research programs supported by national funding agencies. Although much remains to be learned with respect to component processes, many of the most urgent scientific, engineering and social questions can only be addressed through the broader perspective of studies on system scales. Questions such as quantifying feedbacks, understanding the implications of sea ice loss to adjacent land areas or society, resolving future predictions of ecosystem evolution or population dynamics all require consideration of complex interactions and interdependent linkages among system components. Research that has identified physical controls on biological processes, or quantified impact/response relationships in physical and biological systems is critically important, and must be continued; however we are approaching a limitation in our ability to accurately project how the Arctic and the Antarctic will respond to a continued warming climate. Complex issues, such as developing accurate model algorithms of feedback processes require higher level synthesis of multiple component interactions. Several examples of important questions that may only be addressed through systems analyses will be addressed.
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