The apparent mismatch between science and policy at the air-sea interface

Organizer: Erik van Doorn
Format: Online, Evening

Understanding the physical and biogeochemical interactions and feedbacks between the ocean and atmosphere is a vital component of environmental and Earth system research. Our ability to predict and respond to future environmental change relies on a detailed understanding of these processes. The Surface Ocean – Lower Atmosphere Study (SOLAS) project has demonstrated over the last fifteen years that a robust understanding of the climate system requires scientific integration of processes connecting the surface ocean and the lower atmosphere. From a policy perspective, however, a clear distinction is generally made between the ocean and the air directly above it, with little consideration of the critical connection between the two. Separate rRegulatory frameworks for ocean governance and atmosphere, respectively governance, reflect this arbitrary binarity. Moreover, current policy policies does not take into account any vertical movements in either the atmosphere or the ocean. Developing policy that makes tangible progress towards sustaining a resilient planet (for instance, the 2015 Sustainable Development Goals) thus requires the interdisciplinary collaboration between natural and social scientists together with policy makers. This is imperative because many of the recent changes in the Earth system are anthropogenic. An understanding of adaptation and counteracting measures requires an alliance of scientists from both domains to bridge the gap between science and policy. This session would address discrepancies between ocean/atmosphere science and policy.

Themes: Integrated Action for the SDGs, Knowledge-to-Action