Terms of Reference (TORs)

The main objectives of WG27 is to improve our understanding of the mechanisms of Pacific climate variability & change to enable better diagnosing and predicting of the dynamics of marine ecosystem responses to climate forcing.

WG27 will develop conceptual frameworks of Pacific climate variability & change that can serve as guidance to ecosystem scientists to better isolate and understand the essential physical processes that are relevant to specific ecosystem dynamics. Conceptual frameworks such as these will be synthesized in mathematical low-order process models of the climate system (TOR 2, see Figure).

Low-order process models reduce the complex processes to their basic elements and dynamics and will be used to hindcast long-term physical observations. These low-order climate models WG27 will also serve as the basis for a scientific exchange between the climate and ecosystem scientists. Through this exchange WG27 will generate indices of climate forcing that are relevant to targeted ecosystem species in order to develop climate-driven ecosystem process models, which will be used to hindcast available long-term ecosystem observations (TOR 3, see Figure). This TOR 3 builds on the strengths of PICES, which provides an ideal community to use such quantitative models with long-term observations available from the participating countries in the North Pacific (e.g. Japan, Korea, China, Russia, Canada and the USA).

If these low-order process-based models of the ecosystem are successful in hindcasting available observations, we will be able to better isolate and quantify the dynamics of the ecosystem response to climate forcing (see Figure).

The low-order climate models and the climate-driven ecosystem process models developed in TOR 2 and 3 will also be used statistically to provide uncertainty estimates of decadal variability in recent historical climate and ecosystem time series (TOR 4, Figure).

An important outcome of the development of the low-order climate models is that they provide improved metrics to test the mechanisms of climate variability and change in IPCC models (TOR 5, Figure). The evaluation of the IPCC model is an activity that WG20 has conducted over the last three years. Although WG27 will not directly evaluate the IPCC models, it will work in coordination with other PICES working groups and FUTURE Advisory Panels to assist in evaluating those models and providing regional climate forecasts over the North Pacific./>
The success of WG27 relies on an active and efficient exchange between the climate and ecosystem scientists, which will allow the PICES community to understand and fill the gaps between what physical models can currently produce and what ecosystem scientists suggest are the important physical forcing factors required for predicting species and ecosystem responses to climate variability and change (TOR 6, Figure).

Terms of Reference List:

1. Summarize the current understanding of mechanisms of Pacific climate variability and change, and evaluate the strengths of the underlying hypotheses with supporting evidence.

2. Develop conceptual frameworks and low-order models of North Pacific climate variability and change, which can be used by climate researchers to investigate the mechanisms of those variations and by ecosystem scientists to explore hypotheses linking ecosystem dynamics and physical climate.

3. In conjunction with ecosystem scientists, coordinate the development and implementation of process-based models, which include important processes in simple forms, to hindcast the variability of available long-term biological time series.

4. Develop a method to identify and provide uncertainty estimates of decadal variability in recent historical climate and ecosystem time series.

5. Provide improved metrics to test the mechanisms of climate variability and change in IPCC models, and in coordination with other PICES working groups and FUTURE Advisory Panels, assist in evaluating those models and providing regional climate forecasts over the North Pacific.

6. Understand and fill the gaps between what physical models can currently produce and what ecosystem scientists suggest are the important physical forcing factors required for predicting species and ecosystem responses to climate variability and change.

7. Maintain linkages with, and summarize the results from National and International programs/projects such as CLIVAR, IMBER, US CAMEO, ESSAS, Japanese Hot Spot in the Climate System, POMAL, CREAMS EAST-I, POBEX, and others.

8. Convene workshops and sessions to evaluate and compare results and maintain an awareness of state-of-the-art advances outside the PICES community.

9. Publish a final report summarizing results.

Video Presentation available at http://o3d.org/web_db_movies/PICES-WG27-TORs.mov

www.pices.int :: North Pacific Marine Science Organization :: updated by E. Di Lorenzo 9/03/2012