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BEPSII Expert Group Report 2022

Biogeochemical Exchange Processes at Sea-Ice Interfaces (BEPSII) 2020-22 Report

Expert Group of the Life Sciences Group

Report Author(s): Jacqueline Stefels (Netherlands) and Jeff Bowman (USA)

Summary of activities from 2020-22

  • Following detailed evaluations, data collations, observation and model studies, BEPSII applied its collective expertise to compile several policy relevant community science papers, two of which were published in 2020. In 2021, a synthesis of climate change impacts on sea-iceecosystems and associated ecosystem services was published in Elementa: Science of the Anthropocene (Steiner et al. 2021). The main outcomes of the three publications have been compiled into a policy brief, which has been circulated widely and received significant international attention including at the COP26 Cryosphere Pavilion. (see below for references)
  • The 2021 synthesis of the sea-ice ecosystem and associated ecosystem services highlights that: (1)The sea-ice ecosystem supports all four ecosystem service categories; (2) sea-ice ecosystems meet the criteria for ecologically or biologically significant marine areas (EBSAs); (3) global emissions driving climate change are directly linked to the demise of sea-ice ecosystems and its ecosystem services; and (4). the sea-ice ecosystem deserves specific attention in the evaluation of marine protected area planning. The ongoing changes in the polar regions have extreme impacts on sea-ice ecosystems and associated ecosystem services. While the response of sea-ice associated primary production to environmental change is regionally variable, the effect on ice-associated mammals and birds are predominantly negative, subsequently impacting human harvesting and cultural services in both polar regions. Conservation can help protect some species and functions. However, the key mitigation measure is a reduction in carbon emissions.
  • A joint BEPSII-CATCH (Cryosphere and Atmospheric Chemistry) SCOR working group was launched in November 2021 (SCOR-WG 163: CIce2Clouds: Coupling of ocean-ice-atmosphere processes: from sea-Ice biogeochemistry to aerosols and Clouds). The new WG aims to better link the communities and help improve understanding and model parameterizations of biogeochemical processes in sea-ice regions, which may impact the local and global climate and are insufficiently represented in current earth system models.
  • In February/March 2021, a small sea ice inter-comparison experiment for CO2 flux took place in Saroma-ko Lagoon, Hokkaido Japan. Nomura et al. compared the CO2 flux data measured by the different type of chambers. In addition, equipment such as air–sea ice CO2/CH4 flux chambers and an eddy covariance system, a trace metal analyzer, and a pump and sampler for environmental DNA were tested.
  • A major field inter-comparison experiment was conducted in May 2022 at CHARS, Cambridge Bay, Canada. This experiment lasted 6 weeks and included more than 15 scientists and examined methods for measuring gas fluxes, gas concentrations, primary production, and biomass. This experiment was the last intercomparison experiment carried out by the ECV-Ice SCOR working group.
  • The May 2022 inter-comparison experiment was associated with the BEPSII field school, to efficiently make use of scientists/teachers available for both activities. The field school was extremely successful. Although we got the green light only 3 months before the event, over 100 students and Early Career Researchers (ECRs) applied for the 30 places available.
  • Both in 2020 and 2021, the annual BEPSII meetings were held online. Various discussion sessions, science presentations and specific ECR sessions were organized in an around-the-world set-up. These were well received, but there was also a general feeling that an in-person meeting every now and then is needed to stimulate creativity and collaboration. It was decided for the future to try to organize in-person meetings every second year in association with a relevant science meeting and use the funds for an ECR exchange program in alternate years.
  • In 2020, a new BEPSII Special Feature of Elementa Science of the Anthropocene was opened: Insights into Biogeochemical Exchange Processes at Sea Ice Interfaces (BEPSII-2). Currently 8 papers have been published within this feature.