Societies are required to take drastic actions in order to prevent the progression of climate change and to adapt to climate change. These preventive measures are defined by treaties concluded between governments, scheduled on a long-term basis (over a period of 50–100 years). However, the progression of climate change is inevitable and, consequently, it is necessary to take active measures to facilitate adaptation. Adaptation measures are implemented within a considerably shorter period (i.e. over a period of 10–30 years). This typically corresponds to the amortisation period of various investments, which probably will be followed by new investments.
The research hypothesis is that the next-generation decadal climate predictions will clearly be more accurate and useful than the present climate simulations for purposes of planning adaptation measures. This is based on the idea that such predictions involve at least somewhat predictable climate signals. This, in turn, may facilitate cost-effective adaptation to climate change.
The focus of the DECADE project is on the Finnish energy sector’s adaptation decisions and their optimisation. The aim is:
• to provide evidence of decadal climate predictability in the Nordic region
• to assess the production of and demand for energy from the perspective of decadal climate variability
• to optimise the costs of total carbon emissions, the limitations being carbon-neutral energy production on the one hand, and carbon storage in forest environments on the other hand
• to produce a synthesis of the adaptation possibilities for the Finnish energy sector.
The research methods and material include climate simulations produced through modelling of the climate system, observation databases on atmosphere and biosphere, and models for forest ecosystems, modern data mining techniques, historical data on Nordic energy markets and numeric models describing energy markets. When producing climate predictions, the DECADE project relies on a number of ongoing multinational research projects (e.g.www.mpimet.mpg.de/en > Science > Decadal climate predictions; www.metaffice.gov.uk > Research > Climate science > Decadal predictions; www.wcrp-climate.org/decadal).
Adaptation to climate change typically involves decision-making under high uncertainty. The DECADE project aims at clear and compact problem-setting. The consortium combines extensive knowledge and know-how in both natural sciences and economics.