Feature Interview with Prof. Tore Furevik of Bjerknes Centre for Climate Research

Bjerknes Centre for Climate Research (BCCR) is one of the largest climate research centers in Europe, located at the University of Bergen, Norway. Sharing a common vision towards understanding our climate system, BCCR and the IBS Center for Climate Physics (ICCP) agreed to sign a memorandum of understanding on May 23, 2017, to promote scientific cooperation and increase staff interactions and collaboration. BCCR colleagues Prof. Tore, Furevik, Dr. Øyvind Paasche and Dr. Hanna Lee visited ICCP from November 26 ~ 30, 2018, to give special seminars and launch discussions about future research projects. “We cover many similar research areas such as carbon cycle, climate modeling, climate prediction, and paleoclimate, so I’m very positive about future collaboration in many fields of climate sciences with ICCP scientists,” says Tore Furevik, Professor in Physical Oceanography at the Geophysical Institute, University of Bergen, and the director of BCCR.

Q. Could you introduce Bjerknes Centre for Climate Research and the main research areas?

Dr. Tore Furevik
Prof. Tore Furevik giving a seminar on ‘Strengthened linkages between Arctic and Asian in boreal winter’

BCCR is a large climate center located in Bergen, Norway with about 240 international scientists from 34 nations. It was established in 2000 and cooperates with four different institutions which are University of Bergen, NORCE, Institute of Marine Research, and Nansen Environmental and Remote Sensing Centre. We are doing climate research within natural climate system, climate changes from the past to the future, and field work in remote areas. We organize four research themes such as global climate, polar climate, carbon system, and climate hazard.

Q. What is the main achievement within this year from BCCR and a future plan for next year?

We had a good year for research publications and outreach activities. We have made great scientific achievements of researches on changes in sea-ice, ocean, atmosphere, and carbon cycle. In total we have had more than 230 peer review papers in 2018, many in high ranked journals such as Nature and Science. And I am particularly proud of the fact that many of these publications have PhD or Post Doc fellows as lead authors. This shows that we are doing the right things in terms of research training and recruitment.

There has been lots of outreach activities and research projects, especially called Nansen Legacy, which is to provide an integrated scientific knowledge base required for the sustainable management through the 21st century of the environment and Marin resources of the Barents Sea and adjacent Arctic Basin.

Also, we contributed to the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5 °C that came last October. Next year, IPCC Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate will be released and we will make a strong contribution for the report.

Dr. Øyvind Paasche
Dr. Øyvind Paasche of BCCR giving a seminar on ‘How can we tell how glaciers vary over time?’

Q. What kind of outreach activities and programs does your center work on to publicize your research outcomes to society?

An important legacy of what we are doing is to which extent our science impacts on the next generations. That’s very important. One of BCCR’s missions is to understand and quantify the climate system for the benefit of society. Therefore, scientists should take a responsibility to disseminate their research findings through a diversity of channels and to promote the knowledge on climate change to the public. We are having quite a lot of outreach activities for students, for instance, we had different projects for high school students doing simple data analysis and supervising them to do their own climate projects. We also give numerous public lectures. During the Arctic Frontiers Conference, an international forum for discussion Arctic issues, BCCR organized many different public events like panel discussions, debate sessions and presentations. We are trying to encourage politicians, business people and many other stakeholders from related organizations to be engaged in climate issues.

Q. Why do you think climate science is important and what do you think about the role of scientists and researchers in our society?

Dr. Hanna Lee
Dr. Hanna Lee of BCCR giving a seminar on ‘The risks of changing cryospheric environments on nature and society’

There has been a debate for many years whether climate change is a natural process or manmade. We are however no longer in discussion if and how we are contributing to climate, but what we should do avoid dangerous climate change and how to be prepared for the future. Climate scientists have been exploring how climate change affects natural ecosystem and food security for decade. It’s time for scientists to play an active role to convince politicians to have a right judgement in their policy making. In this way, scientists will try to convey strong massages about impacts on economy, policy and society.