Arctic Sea-Ice Change: Insights into near-future changes in Arctic sea-ice biogeochemistry and associated ecosystemsInternal


Activity Overview

Type: Foresight Workshop
Start Date: June 15, 2018
End Date: June 17, 2018
Venue: Davos Congress Centre, Switzerland
Contact: Jacqueline Stefels
E-mail: j.stefels [at]
Funding Call: EuroMarine 2017 call for FWS and WG proposals
Total Budget: €7,500
Funds Granted: €7,500

Manager(s): Jacqueline Stefels


The overarching aims of this workshop are to:

  • Summarize the existing knowledge of changes for a number of selected physical and biogeochemical variables and parameters, representative of the sea-ice ecosystem
  • Make a first tentative analysis of the effects of the predicted changes in the sea-ice horizon on the Arctic ecosystem.
  • To generate an accessible description of future changes in sea-ice biogeochemistry to focus scientific efforts, raise public awareness and facilitate climate policy making.

The workshop will aim to select appropriate variables and parameters, and provide evidence-based estimates of their changes within a pre-defined bandwidth of uncetainties. A two-step approach will be applied, which will involve quantifying the current status of the selected parameters/variables based on existing reviews and literature studies, before estimating changes for the selected paramters/variables over the coming decades, based on literature and modelling exercises.

Expected outcomes

  1. A scientific position paper on expected changes in ecology and biogeochemistry of the Arctic sea-ice environment related to changes in sea-ice physics.
  2. A comprehensible visualization diagram that illustrates expected changes in the Arctic sea-ice environment to serve policy makers and raise public awareness

Whereas the position paper and the diagram will have different audiences (scientists vs. the general public and policy makers), both will serve a similar goal. The summary exercise proposed here will clarify how climate change in the Arctic will impact the sea-ice biome, increasing our awareness of the specific sensitivity of Arctic sea-ice ecosystems and their exchanges with surrounding environments. For scientists, the position paper will serve as a guideline to focus future scientific efforts. At the same time, the diagram will allow scientists to better communicate climate change impacts to the general public.

Policymakers may use the synthesis to better define sustainable management of Arctic sea-ice related systems. An up-to date diagram may serve as a tool to illustrate not only the sensitivity of several individual parameters but also assess the resilience of the Arctic system as a whole.


In order to maximize resources, this workshop was organized as one of the side meetings preceding the IASC/SCAR POLAR2018 open-science conference in Davos, Switzerland.The workshop was organized in conjunction with the annual meeting of the BEPSII (Biogeochemical Exchange Processes at Sea-Ice Interfaces) science community.In total, 40 people representing 14 countries attended the ASIC workshop and BEPSII meeting.The ASIC workshop covered the full first two days. 


After the ASIC workshop and BESPII meeting, the attendees agreed to capture the outputs of their discussions in an opinion paper covering how changes in sea ice will impact the biogeochemistry and associated ecosystems of the region while calling for more observations to improve our understanding of this complex system. On October 27th, 2020 this paper, titled The future of Arctic sea-ice biogeochemistry and ice-associated ecosystems was published in the Nature Climate Change journal. 

The article examines how the rapidly transforming sea-ice-scape is leading to an earlier growing season, resulting in an increase of ice algae and phytoplankton biomass and augmenting the emission of dimethylsulfide and capture of CO2. The paper also captures the impact of secondary production on the shelves and the consequent impacts on the release of methane and halogen. Their paper serves as a call for instensified long-term observations and modelling efforts to help us better understand and address these complex changes in a critical ecosystem.

The paper is available through the links, and may be cited as:

Lannuzel D, Tedesco L, Van Leeuwe M, Campbell K, Flores H, Delille B, Miller L, Stefels J, Assmy P, Bowman J, Brown K. The future of Arctic sea-ice biogeochemistry and ice-associated ecosystems. Nature Climate Change. 2020 Oct 27:1-0.

Update Feed

May 31, 2018 - News - Update or Reminder - ASIC Workshop: Leaflet released