New role for Einar Ólason: Co-leader of Arctic ECRA

Einar Ólason takes over the co-lead of the collaborative programme "Arctic", one of four core activities of the European Climate Research Alliance (ECRA). He supersedes Lars Henrik Smedsrud (GFI/UiB, UNIS, Bjerknes Centre), who held that position since 2014.


What is the ECRA?

The European Climate Research Alliance was founded in 2011 and is an association of currently 23 leading research institutions from all over Europe, including the Nansen Center. Other norwegian member institutions are the University of Bergen, Norwegian Meteorological Institute, Nord University, Center for International Climate and Environmental Research (CICERO), and the Bjerknes Centre for Climate Research. ECRA functions as a platform enabling joint research planning by sharing research capacities and infrastructures. Expertise in climate research is being brought together and optimized by collaboration between the 23 members and many participants and associates tied to ECRA.


What does ECRA focus on?

ECRA classifies their core activities in four categories, these are their collaborative programs.

Each CP focuses on one primary research topic, and frameworks for coordinated international research are created, to address specific scientific questions in these fields. Each CP is led by two researchers from different ECRA members. These programs serve as platforms for emerging leaders in their fields to network and collaborate with each other. They can shape research fields for years to come and influence the political landscape to benefit society by transferring knowledge to the places where it is needed.


Arctic ECRA

The program "Arctic Climate Stability and Change" that Einar Ólason now is a co-leader for, together with Thomas Bracegirdle (British Antarctic Survey), concentrates on three key topics in Arctic research:

  • Why is Arctic sea ice disappearing so rapidly?
  • What are the local and global impacts of Arctic climate change?
  • How to advance environmental prediction capabilities for the Arctic and beyond?

The institutions and researchers making up this collaborative program form a network with a wide array of expertise, ranging from theory, observation, and modelling over operational forecasting to logistics. They have been doing a lot in the past years (workshops and resources), and will continue to do so under the new co-lead of Einar Ólason.


Einar Ólason, new co-lead

Einar Ólason is the research leader for the "Sea Ice Modelling" group at NERSC. He is originally from Iceland, obtained his PhD in oceanography from the University of Hamburg in 2012, and has been at the Nansen Center since 2014. He is also one of the driving forces behind our state-of-the-art sea-ice model neXtSIM. The sea-ice model portrays in a new and improved way how sea ice behaves, and it is superior to other present sea-ice models thanks to these changes made by the neXtSIM team, including Einar Ólason. Modelling sea ice with neXtSIM helps us understanding interactions between the atmosphere, the ocean, and the sea ice better than before. The natural next step for Einar Ólason following improving the understanding of sea-ice dynamics by modelling – a very specialized field – is working with the impact and influence these improvements have, not only on a coding level, but also on a larger scale. Better modelling of sea ice allows us to better understand the Arctic and Subarctic climate. Since climate change is a hot topic these days, it is a great opportunity for Einar Ólason to give this field a wider audience through co-leading Arctic ECRA. The possibilities for raised attention from and collaboration with partners in the program are abundant!

“I am very excited and grateful for this opportunity to meet new people and broaden my horizon on Arctic climate research”, says Einar Ólason.

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