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International Research Training Group ArcTrain

ArcTrain "Processes and impacts of climate change in the North Atlantic Ocean and the Canadian Arctic" is a an International Research Training Group funded from 2013 until 2022 jointly through the German Research Foundation (DFG) and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) under its Collaborative Research and Training Experience Program (CREATE) scheme.

Due to a complex set of feedback processes collectively known as “polar amplification”, the Arctic realm is expected to experience a greater-than-average response to global climate forcing. At present, the region is characterized by an accelerating trend of climatic and environmental change. Rising temperatures are associated with loss of sea ice and melting of continental ice masses. The excess meltwater is routed into the North Atlantic, where it may interfere with the formation of deep water and thus affect the global large-scale oceanic circulation. The cascades of feedback processes that connect the Arctic cryosphere, ocean and atmosphere remain incompletely constrained by observations and theory and are difficult to simulate in climate models. Still, state-of-the-art climate models often fail to reproduce observed instrumental trends as well as past regional climate response reconstructed from marine sediment archives.

This is the starting point for the proposed International Research Training Group aiming to educate PhD students in an interdisciplinary environment that combines the strength in marine geosciences and environmental physics in Bremen with complementary skills and expertise in sea-ice and ice-sheet modeling in a consortium of eight Canadian universities. The resulting scientific team with the PhD students in its centre aims to advance the understanding of the variability of the Arctic Ocean and the cryosphere on time scales of decades to millennia, to use these results to benchmark current trends and inform climate models to robustly assess the impact of projected future climate changes on the Arctic.

The qualification program for the PhD students includes joint supervision, mandatory research residences at partner institutions, field courses, annual meetings and training workshops and a challenging structured training in expert skills and transferrable skills. Its aim is to enhance the career prospects and employability of the graduates in a challenging international job market across academic and applied sectors. The structured doctoral program includes among other aspects reciprocal research residences in Canada and Germany, yearly training workshops, Arctic field course, Floating University and Arctic stakeholder workshop. ArcTrain is a collaborative Project led by scientists from MARUM, Faculty of Geosciences and Faculty of Physics/Electrical Engineering at the University of Bremen and colleagues from the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research in Bremerhaven. The german part of the project is designed to continue for nine years and will educate three cohorts of twelve PhD students each. Our Canadian partners comprise a consortium of eight universities led by the GEOTOP cluster at the Université du Québec à Montréal and including Dalhousie University, McGill University, Memorial University of Newfoundland, University of Alberta, University of British Columbia, University of Calgary and Université du Québec à Rimouski.