Environmental challenges including sea level rise, food security and carbon emissions will be addressed by a new £39m funding scheme.
Research teams have received the funding to develop new and ambitious ideas that will tackle critical global environmental challenges in areas such as earth science, ecological science, hydrological science, ocean science, polar science and atmospheric science.
The investment from the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) has been awarded to project teams at NERC research centres, and marine delivery partners to share expertise and collaborate with international partners to enable researchers to approach these highly complex scientific environmental challenges in novel and creative ways.
The six projects funded will investigate how the changing atmospheric and surface conditions over the coming century will affect Antarctic snow and ice, to better understand and predict the rise in sea level impacting on coastlines around the world; deliver solutions for human adaptation to climate change. Funding will also aim to strengthen adaptation and resilience to natural hazards such as earthquakes; the security of supply chains; water resource management; the reduction in risk to urban and rural infrastructures; advance understanding how we can be resilient, adapt to, and mitigate global change in the coastal ocean environment; improve understanding of high-impact weather risks in the tropics such as floods, heatwaves and droughts.
Projects will also advance knowledge of the chemical reactions involved in global warming and stratospheric ozone depletion; exploit new Earth observation data to better understand linkages between water and vegetation productivity from plot to continental scales; enable countries, organisations and companies to develop and deliver plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase nature-based carbon sinks, while considering trade-offs for food production, biodiversity and soil, water and air quality.
The research centres involved are the British Antarctic Survey, British Geological Survey, National Centre for Atmospheric Science, National Centre for Earth Observation, National Oceanography Centre, UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology and Plymouth Marine Laboratory.
“This exciting investment in internationally collaborative research programmes will significantly advance our understanding of the drivers and responses to global environmental change,” said Dr Iain Williams, NERC director of strategic partnerships.
“Many of the environmental challenges we face are global in nature and require an international and transboundary response. By bringing together expertise in earth, ecological, ocean, polar, and atmospheric sciences, from NERC’s research centres with colleagues from across the globe, we can develop understanding that will help us mitigate and adapt to the changes caused by global warming.”