Arctic systems – University of Copenhagen

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SSC - Eng > Systems-based research > Arctic systems

Arctic systems

Anthropogenic activity is rapidly changing the Arctic in a number of ways. While rising temperatures and melting ice affects the biosphere within the Arctic, it also has vast implications outside the region itself. As changes in the Arctic affect the Earth System as a whole, understanding atmospheric, ocean and land-based processes, including the effects of changing permafrost, is of particular interest to researchers and political actors alike.

Furthermore, geographical changes in the Arctic are leading to new challenges and opportunities for human societies – both those that inhabit the Arctic and those from other parts of the globe who dream of exploiting changing conditions. Among other things, potential security issues relating to resource exploitation, the educational system and how well it prepares youth in Arctic communities for the challenges of tomorrow, and the impact of climate change their societies.

On this page, we provide an overview of current research projects regarding the Arctic at UCPH.

Relevant research activites at the University of Copenhagen

The Polar Science Centre  is an interdisciplinary centre for polar science at the Faculty of Science. The Centre aims to unify, coordinate and develop new activities within polar research and educational opportunities, thereby strengthening the Danish contribution to polar research programs.
Centre for Ice and Climate  is a centre of excellence at the Niels Bohr Institute. The centre's main activities are drilling of ice cores through the Greenland ice sheet and analysis of ice cores with the objective of understanding the governing processes of past and future climate.
Centre for Permafrost dynamics in Greenland  will integrate hypothesis-based studies of biogeochemical and physical processes in a "climate-vegetation-soil-microorganism-permafrost" context. This will be done in a transect of sites representing the major climate zones in Greenland and the new knowledge will be used to quantify element cycling and to predict changes in carbon and nitrogen pools and fluxes relevant for the Arctic region.
Arctic Station is maintained and funded by the University of Copenhagen in order to promote Arctic research and university level education within all aspects of environmental science. The Arctic Station functions as an attractive and modern research facility located in an area where unique botanical, zoological, physical geographical and geological phenomena are easily accessible.
Exploration and exploitation of natural resources in the Arctic is a sub-project at CEVIA (Centre for Enterprise Liability) at the faculty of law. The project addresses the outsourcing of  isexploration and exploitation of natural resources in the Arctic to private, transnational enterprises, raising the basic question of the interplay between public and private entities.

Previous projects

Some projects have ended, but the knowledge is still present at the University of Copenhagen. The researchers are adding to this knowledge as they continue their work on other projects.

Waterworlds ; a research project at the Department of Anthropology. The ambition: to study local, social responses to environmental disasters related to water, as spurred by the melting of ice in the Arctic and in other glacier areas, the rising of seas that flood islands and coastal communities, and the drying of lands accelerating desertification in large parts of Africa and elsewhere.