The climate challenges require international research collaboration

All countries have an effect on – and are affected by – climate change. Wealthy countries have the most influence, while poor countries are the most influenced ones. The climate problem is fundamentally global: What happens in the world is affected by what happens in other parts of the world. International cooperation is therefore absolutely essential to monitor developments, to understand how the climate system is connected, and for the knowledge to form the basis for political decisions.

Climate and the environment as a field of research can be politically sensitive. In order to succeed in facing the global challenges, it is important that authorities worldwide can both contribute to and benefit from as much knowledge as possible about the topic.

The Nansen Center contributes to international research collaboration in several ways. Recently, a group of researchers from Bergen research environments visited Beijing and participated in the 20th anniversary of the Nansen-Zhu International Research Centre. The anniversary was marked with a two-day symposium with over 200 participants. In her opening remark, Kaja Glomm from the Norwegian Embassy in Beijing, emphasized the importance of scientific cooperation between China and Norway, which was also underscored in many of the following opening remarks and during the two days with scientific presentations.

Nansen-Zhu was established on the initiative of the Nansen Center in 2003 and has developed into an important hub for international climate research collaboration. The research focus has been to understand and predict changes in big weather and ocean patterns that happen across large regions. This involves studies of how the air and oceans work together, and how the cold Arctic, the middle areas, and the warm tropics, are all connected.  More than 1,000 research articles have been produced, and several hundred doctoral students have participated in exchange programs and summer schools organized under the Nansen-Zhu collaboration.

Norway and China cooperate for example through joint calls for research projects via the Research Council of Norway and the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology. Research institutes in Bergen lead several of these projects. Both in the Arctic and on the Tibetan plateau, the temperature has increased two to three times faster than in the rest of the world. In the COMBINED project, in which the Nansen Center participates, research is being done into the reasons for this. The findings will be used to improve the methods for calculating what the Eurasian climate will be like. The project is led by the University of Bergen.

Kaja Glomm (Minister Counsellor og Deputy Chief of Mission at the Norwegian Embassy in Beijing) and Magnus Jorem (Counsellor for Science and Education at the Norwegian Embassy in Beijing). Photo: Nansen-Zhu Centre

Nansen-Zhu International Research Centre (NZC)

NZC was established in Beijing, China in 2003. The center is a joint venture between Chinese and Norwegian research institutes and university partners. The center is organized as a research department at the Institute of Atmospheric Physics, under the Chinese Academy of Sciences. The research focus is global, regional and teleconnections in climate change and modelling. The centre’s partners are: the University of Bergen, NORCE, Institute of Atmospheric Sciences under the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Peking University, Nanjing University, Nanjing University of Information Sciences and Technology and Fudan University, as well as the Nansen Centre.