Development and delivery of scientific knowledge and policy guidance on high latitude ocean acidification through different international organizational platforms

Chair: Zoë Hilton

Richard Bellerby (1,2)*, Howard Browman (3), Wenting Chen (2), Andrew Constable (4), Sam Dupont (5), Haruko Kurihara (6), Mario Hoppema (7), Andrew Lenton (8), Nikki Lovenduski (9), Claire Lo Monaco (10), Jeremy Mathis (11), Eugene Murphy (12), Elizabeth Shadwick (13), Coleen Suckling (14), Scarlett Trimborn (7)

1 SKLEC-NIVA Centre for Marine and Coastal Research, East China Normal University, Shanghai 200062, China
2 Norwegian Institute for Water Research, Oslo 0349, Norway
3 Institute of Marine Studies, Bergen 5005, Norway
4 Australian Antarctic Division, Kingston 7050, Australia
5 University of Gothenburg, Kristineberg 566, Sweden
6 University of the Ryukyus, Okinawa, 609-0213, Japan
7 Alfred Wegener Institute, Bremerhaven D-27570, Germany
8 CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research, Hobart, Australia
9 Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO 80303, USA
10 Pierre and Marie Curie University, Paris 6, France
11 NOAA Arctic Research Program, Silverspring, MD 20910, USA
12 British Antarctic Survey, Cambridge CB3 0ET, UK
13 Virginia Institute of Marine Science, Gloucester Point, VA, USA
14 School of Ocean Sciences, Bangor University, Menai Bridge, LL59 5AB, UK

The high latitudes are undergoing rapid ocean acidification resulting from a complex interplay between anthropogenic carbon dioxide uptake, a rapidly changing cryosphere and associated perturbed hydrological cycles, large organic carbon fluxes from land and modifications to natural ocean circulation. A growing interest in ecosystem health, resource harvesting, concern over the livelihoods of native inhabitants and an increasing awareness of the important role of the high latitudes in global climate control has led to focused efforts into understanding high latitude ocean acidification. The Scientific Committee for Antarctic Research (SCAR) and the Arctic Council, through the Arctic Monitoring Assessment Program (AMAP), commissioned independent reports to describe the state-of-the-art knowledge in, respectively, the Southern and Arctic Oceans.

These research-policy organs assigned two teams of researchers to deliver the state-of-the-art understanding of the chemical, ecological, social and cultural and economic consequences of ocean acidification for the two regions. Using two funding approaches, degrees of “hands-on” direction and with differing levels of top-down involvement, the two writing teams were challenged and encouraged with diverse effect. Communication and outreach of the scientific findings and policy recommendations was undertaken through an institution-researcher partnerships through representation at high level meetings (e.g. Antarctic Treaty Consultative meetings; Arctic Council of Ministers meetings); scientific conferences, dialogue with ends users including indigenous communities, industry; and through other channels (e.g. films, internet, institutional websites).

We report the approaches adopted by the two institutions that initiated and sponsored the reports. We discuss the authors´ experiences in preparing, writing and delivering the reports. We compare dialogue with the two institutions, balancing their expectations, funding models and resources, assistance, subject knowledge and how their connections to end-users aided the report writing and delivery. We discuss the effectiveness of communication and outreach during the process of report development, and both during and post-publication. Interactions with policymakers and managers throughout the writing processes significantly enhanced the relevance of the final submission and recommendations.

The two approaches to facilitating the development of the reports and the strategies for promoting the underway and final results differed considerably. Funding of researcher time and the provision of greater mobility enabled more regular meetings with end-users, policymakers and researchers and is a major factor in the efficiency, outreach and communication of the reports. The connectivity of the institution with the policymakers is deemed as important as funding in targeting the utility of the recommendations to the end users, whilst at the same time maintaining researcher independence. We discuss the methods and their success in delivering the findings to the various policymakers and their subjects. We counsel a series of suggestions for future science-policy reporting of coupled natural-social science systems and institutional approaches to the publication of the reports and facilitating of contact and promotion with end-users.