Monday, 24 September 2012

BACC II Conference Summary updated, photos and participant list

An updated summary of the BACC II conference in Tallinn is available here. Please read and comment.
Also, a list of conference participants and a selection of conference photos is now available on the BACC II website here.

Monday, 10 September 2012

BACC II results presented and discussed in Tallinn

About 110 participants were at the BACC II Conference in Tallinn, Estonia, on 6 and 7 September. The scope of this short conference was to provide the scientific and stakeholder communities with summaries of the draft chapters for the BACC II book, which is expected to be published in late 2013.

The organizing team would like to thank the presenters for summarizing the chapters in such a good and comprehensive way. Thanks also to everybody who contributed to the vivid discussions and contributed with valuable comments to the chapter contents. They shall be taken up by authors to improve the chapters.

To give a short synopsis of the first day, it seems that BACC I results are confirmed and substantiated by the new information. Additional material allows to go into more detail in some issues, and some contested issues can be reconciled (e.g. sea surface temperature trends). For regional climate models (RCMs) it was evident that the ability to run multi-model ensembles seems a major addition, but clearly RCMs need further development. Homogeneity of data is till a problem and not taken seriously enough in some scientific quarters.

The question of attribution of the regional climate change signal to different drivers is a major new aspect of the BACC II book. Current knowledge reveals that attribution on the regional scale is still weak. The issue of multiple drivers on ecosystem and socio-economy changes is recognized, but more research efforts are clearly needed. Climate change is seen as a serious issue, but in many cases it remains questionable if it is a dominant issue.

On the second day, BACC chairman Hans von Storch summarized the presentations of the first day. The presentation can be downloaded here, and we would like to invite you to comment and discuss to here on this blog. A comprehensive summary can be viewed here. Maria Laamanen of the HELCOM Secretariat gave an overview over the work of HELCOM and the Baltic Sea Action Plan. HELCOM will use part of the BACC II material for a HELCOM Thematic Assessment in 2013. This collaboration between the scientific initiative of BACC and the scientific-political stakeholder HELCOM had been successful already for BACC I (2007-2008), from which also a HELCOM Thematic Assessment was published.

Last but not least, we would like to thank the moderator and discussion panelists (see programme) on the second day. The panel discussion demonstrated that there is still room for improving the interface between the science on the one hand, and decision makers, other stakeholders and the public on the other hand. The establishment of regional climate services could be a way to do this, a place where professionals from both sides work closely together to identify specific information needs, so that the best available scientific information can effectively be used. The role of the scientists themselves in propagating climate change messages was discussed controversely. While some panel speakers argued in favour of a stronger role of scientists in propagating climate change issues in public, this was clearly rejected by BACC Chairman Hans von Storch. He is convinced that it is crucial to keep a clear division between the science on the one hand, which is solely responsible for the scientific truth (with no compromises towards propagating a “good cause”), and other groups (like HELCOM, NGO´s etc), which have a different task in soceity, e.g. working towards an improved awareness for climate change issues in society. “Good” and “bad” are no categories in science. Society must decide whether e.g. a higer temperature and more rain is “good” or “bad”, this is not a scientific task.

For more information BACC II, see