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About Topic 4


Topic 4 develops multi-use scenarios for sustainable coastal systems with climate change to enhance our understanding and to support science-based decision-making. Considering international frameworks and agreements such as the SDGs, the Sendai Framework and the Paris Agreement, Topic 4 research focuses on the process understanding of energy and matter fluxes across compartments, their impacts on ecosystems functioning and ultimately on human societies. The ambitious integrated systems approach includes single and multiple stressors or drivers, considering the influence of human activities and climate change. New scientific evidence will contribute to identifying trade-offs in the system, informing decision-makers and will support the development of new and enhanced governance structures.

Our focus:

Coastal systems are also rapidly and, in some cases, catastrophically changing - forced by climatic, environmental and socio-economic drivers. There is an urgency to limit climate change and to adapt to future states of the coasts (Paris Agreement), reduce the risk for human communities and their coast-dependent livelihoods (Sendai Framework), and to plan for a future and sustainable state of the coasts characterized by increasing and accelerated urbanization (SDGs). Furthermore, the EU's 'Blue Growth' strategy and other sectorial ambitions require the sustainable development of coastal systems with its high potential for sustaining jobs and economic development. Linking international policy to local action is critical to achieving healthy coastal systems in the future.
Topic 4 will initiate and further develop platforms and methods for integrated observation, predictive modeling tools, and novel system-analysis. T4 establishes science-based information streams and packages for different plausible and desirable future states of coastal systems. These will support specific management decisions and coastal system governance. The analysis is not limited to single stressors and drivers but uses novel approaches to address the entire system dynamics and integrate the effects and feedback of human needs and activities as part of the coastal system. lt studies the continuum of climate - environment - organism - ecosystems to the entire coastal habitat, including anthropogenic impacts and societal needs across spatial scales, while considering the past, present and future.

The development of pathways towards the desired futures is intended to inform multi-level decision- and policymaking in the pubic and private sectors. It will consider common and global policy benchmarks, e.g. the IPCC scenarios for a 1.5°C or 2°C warmer world. This Topic creates research framework within which the potential risk resulting from actions along the pathways, including consequences for marine resource utilization, offshore energy production, marine aquaculture, and water quality will be considered.


Feedbacks in the land-ocean transition

Influence of erosion on the oceanic CO2 storage capacity

Alkalinity generation from rock weathering modulates Earth’s climate at geological time scales. Particularly challenging remains the discrimination of climatic and erosional influences. Based on global observations, here we uncover the role of erosion rate in governing riverine alkalinity, accompanied by areal proportion of carbonate, mean annual temperature, catchment area, and soil regolith thickness. We show that the weathering flux to the ocean will be significantly altered by climate warming as early as 2100, by up to 68% depending on the environmental conditions, constituting a sudden feedback of ocean CO2 sequestration to climate.


Graphic Representation of Subtopics

Subtopics in detail

Links to CARFS/CCA

REKLIM (Helmholtz-Forschungsverbund Regionale Klimaänderungen und Mensch)
HI-CAM (Helmholtz Climate Initiative)
Resilient Urban Spaces
MACE (Mainstreaming Environmental Assessment for Complex Exposure)
Joint Lab-ExaESM (Joint Lab Exascale Earth System Modelling)
Bioeconomy meets Energy
MOSES (Modular Observation Solutions for Earth Systems)
ESM (Earth System Modeling )
Digital Earth
EXTREMES (Extreme Events in a Changing World)

One Research Program: Changing Earth – Sustaining our Future

Find here all information about the program "Changing Earth – Sustaining our Future" within the Helmholtz Association:

One Research Program: Changing Earth – Sustaining our Future

Participating Centers