BEPSII is an open network for international knowledge exchange related to Biogeochemical Exchanges Processes at Sea Ice Interfaces. BEPSII aims to quantify the role of sea ice in polar ecosystem services – from biodiversity impacts to climate change – and communicate these globally-relevant issues. BEPSII’s work highlights sea ice in polar regions as an important medium for biogeochemical processes that can have large impacts on local and regional scales.

BEPSII has recently shared with the Arctic science community its policy brief "Considerations of Biogeochemical and Ecological Impacts of Sea-Ice Decline

Key messages of the Policy brief are: 

  • Arctic sea-ice decline is one of the most prominent manifestations of global climate change.
  • Sea-ice forms the basis of a thriving ecosystem that supports all four ecosystem
    service categories (habitat, provisioning, regulating, and cultural) and meets the criteria for Ecologically or Biologically Significant marine Areas (EBSAs).
  • The decrease in sea ice is accompanied by:
    •  increasing light penetration associated with earlier seasonal primary production;
      • increasing emissions of dimethylsulfide, an aerosol precursor;
      • increasing stress on sea-ice fauna, endemic fish, and megafauna;
      • increasing methane emissions; and
      • decreasing mercury deposition events.
  • Global greenhouse gas emissions driving climate change are directly responsible for the demise of sea-ice ecosystems and its ecosystem services.
  • Conservation measures can help protect some species and functions and should include explicit consideration of the sea-ice ecosystem.
  • Reducing carbon emissions is the foremost mitigation measure able to slow the loss of the year-round sea ice, reduce the overall loss of sea-ice habitats, and thus preserve the unique ecosystem services provided by sea ice and their contributions to human wellbeing.
  • Evaluating mitigation measures such as geoengineering operations to slow sea-ice melting must consider impacts on sea-ice and ocean biology and biogeochemistry.
  • Reducing the uncertainties associated with the ecological and biogeochemical impacts of sea-ice decline requires long-term observing at multiple sites and enhanced

Read the whole document here. 

BEPSII is supported by the Surface Ocean Lower Atmosphere Study (SOLAS) and the Climate and Cryosphere program (CliC) as a long-lived activity and received endorsement from the Scientific Committee of Antarctic Research (SCAR) in 2016 as well as workshop support from the International Arctic Science Committee (IASC).

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