The CIRCE concept
To integrate the assessment of cross-sectoral impacts of climate change, for selected case-study regions, CIRCE will adopt a risk-based approach based on the conclusions developed in the specialised investigations. A rigorous common framework, including a set of quantitative indicators tailored specifically for the Mediterranean environment will be developed and used in collaboration with regional stakeholders and policy makers. The results will be incorporated in a decision support system tool and disseminated to the appropriate end-users. Likely adaptation and mitigation strategies will be identified using bottom-up (via regional workshops) and top-down approaches. The case-study areas will include North African, Middle Eastern and European locations.
Recent observed changes in climate variables will be documented. Detectable trends and variability will be identified and described, and then compared with a series of possible explanations. An optimal mix of plausible forcing factors will be derived as the best explanatory interpretation of ongoing changes. In this way, a comprehensive set of data describing the physical impacts of climate change will be developed, and then used to assess the consequences of climate change for human society and ecosystems. CIRCE will analyse a number of climate parameters including: temperature, precipitation, atmospheric humidity, wind, waves, sea-level rise, surface radiative fluxes, balance between evaporation-precipitation, saline output to the Atlantic, water vapour export, frequency and distribution of extreme events, nutrient load into the sea, and sensitivity to water stress. CIRCE will build on the extensive modelling experience already available, but it will develop specific modelling scenarios for the Mediterranean, in terms of resolution, process and feedback inclusions, understanding and specific diagnostic studies for the Mediterranean area.
The RACCM will be produced in close consultation with stakeholders. The start-up meeting of the project will be held jointly with carefully-selected stakeholders, who will contribute to better-defined and more relevant priorities and issues. Thus CIRCE will develop an understanding of the different needs of the European Region, and enhance and develop analysis methods, models and indicators. Under the project, the interactive effects of climate change will become better understood, and predictions of risk and the prior assessment of policy effects will be improved.
To this end, CIRCE will invite continued contributions from Mediterranean stakeholders from the outset (RL0), whilst providing clear scientific evidence on the observed climatic trends (RL1), climate evolution scenarios for the 21st century (RL2) and radiation changes (RL3), and evaluating local processes of the Mediterranean (RL4). The potential for changes in the frequency, intensity, and duration of extreme events is of immediate importance to policy makers and will be a central question to the project (RL6). Future changes in the water cycle (RL5), agriculture and ecosystems (RL7), air quality (RL8) and the economy (RL10) will be evaluated. Impacts on health (RL9) will also be assessed. The integration of results in a series of case studies (RL11) will be driven by stakeholder questions, geography, and temporal scale. The relevant societal strategies interacting with the climate drivers to determine impacts will be examined (RL12) and the derived induced policies will be also addressed (RL13). The project will thus provide cutting-edge scientific results that will help establish:
· The methodology for including stakeholders needs and questions in the scientific discourse,
· The information on possible climate changes for the 21st century in the Mediterranean Area
· A framework for the preparation, reviewing and dissemination of the Regional Assessment Report.
· A set of policy-specific indicators and assessments that can be used to:
· Inform environmental reporting;
· Enable international comparisons in terms of quality of life, environment, economy and health
· Define a set of objectives and targets, and to monitor trends and progress towards these targets
The construction of the assessment report will occupy the second half of the project. At the end of the second year, a second conference with stakeholders will define a draft version of the report and the review process will start. The Draft Report will be reviewed by scientific experts external to CIRCE, and discussed with stakeholders in workshops, consensus conferences, and focus groups as part of the integrated case studies work. At the end of the third year, a Revised Report will be prepared, finally reviewed, edited and completed at the end of the fourth year. This will be an interactive process, involving the incorporation of new results and continuous updating. The whole process will be supervised by the CIRCE Executive Board. The duration of CIRCE is set at four years. The RL will be described in the following section B4.1.