Dutch Polar Initiatives: Explore Ongoing and Archived Dutch Polar Projects, Contact Details and Websites

The Dutch Research Council (NWO) has funded different polar projects in the past. For an overview of the ongoing projects, follow this link.

Proactive management of Antarctic tourism: exploring the role of Antarctic Treaty System principles and values and best practices beyond the ATS

Main applicant: Prof.dr. C.J. (Kees) Bastmeijer, Universiteit van Tilburg (now working at University of Groningen)
Co-applicants: Universiteit Utrecht, Wageningen University & Research
Amount awarded: 1,3 M€
Antarctic tourism has significantly increased – both in visitor numbers and types of activities -and further increases are projected. Many of the 29 countries that jointly manage Antarctica are concerned that the 1991 Environmental Protocol and other regulations provide insufficient protection for nature, safety and science. This research program supports the Netherlands in proactive management of tourism within the Antarctic Treaty System (ATS) on four themes: (1) maximizing visitor numbers by a cap-and-trade system; (2) constraining diversification of activities by pre-assessment procedures; (3) improving domestic implementation of ATS tourism regulations; and (4) enhancing the role of non-use and non-user States.

Website: https://www.uu.nl/en/research/proactive-management-of-antarctic-tourism-proact 

The Antarctic biota count (ABC): a functional trait-based approach to scale biodiversity from plot to region

Main applicant: Prof.dr. J.H.C. (Hans) Cornelissen, VU Amsterdam
Co-applicants: Vrije Universiteit, British Antarctic Survey
Amount awarded: 1,3 M€
Protection of Antarctic biodiversity is a key founding principle of the Antarctic Treaty, today achieved through the Environmental Protocol. However, Antarctica’s terrestrial ecosystems are not well represented in any form of Systematic Conservation Plan due to a lack of spatially explicit data on vegetation composition and abundance and its associated biodiversity. This projects will deliver such terrestrial biodiversity data along the Antarctic Peninsula to inform the evidence-based designation of new Antarctic Specially Protected Areas. This will be achieved by quantifying vegetation cover, and the functional groups supporting biodiversity, on the ground and linking this to satellite images for upscaling.

Arctic migratory birds pushed over the edge?

Main applicant: Prof.dr. B.A. (Bart) Nolet, NIOO-KNAW
Co-applicants: Groningen University, KNMI, University of Amsterdam, NIOZ
Amount awarded: 0.95 M€
Due to its favourable location, the Netherlands harbours at times large numbers of migratory birds, and bears an international responsibility to accommodate them. Many of these birds spend the summer above the Arctic circle. Because climate changes faster in the Arctic than elsewhere, the question arises whether these birds are under threat. In this project, we combine the latest climate models with existing and new data on migratory birds and their food web in the Arctic. We assess the vulnerability of these migratory bird populations to climate change, and which mitigation measures are possible outside the breeding range.

Dutch Polar Climate and Cryosphere Change Consortium

Main applicant:  Prof. Dr. R.W.S. (Roderik) van de Wal, IMAU, Utrecht
Co-applicants: Utrecht Universiteit, KNMI/Rijksuniversiteit Groningen, TU Delft/Deltares
Amount awarded: 2,0 M€
What does climate change in polar areas mean for the Netherlands? Climate change is amplified in the polar regions, with sea ice and ice sheets retreating and thinning. Mass loss of the Greenland ice sheet doubled over the last decade, while for Antarctica it tripled. Arctic sea ice, particular at the end of summer, retreated significantly. This project will map current and future changes in polar regions and its consequences and impacts for the Netherlands, particularly in terms of the trend in sea level change and the chances for extreme sea level events.

Arctic sea ice-pelagic coupling of the carbon and sulfur cycles

Dr J. Stefels, University of Groningen
On board the German icebreaker Polarstern, an international team of researchers will spend one year researching the relationship between biological, physical and chemical processes in the sea ice of the North Pole and how these are linked to climate. We want to collaborate in this unique programme through research into the role of sea ice in the sequestration of CO2 and the production of the climate cooling gas dimethyl sulphide. This project will provide unique insights into the future development of sea ice and how the climate can respond to this. The hypothesis that we will investigate is: will the disappearance of sea ice amplify climate change?

The role of sea ice in the life cycle of polar cod (Boreogadus saida) and its prey

Dr J.A. van Franeker, Wageningen Marine Research
The importance of sea ice in the life cycle of the Arctic cod (Boreogadus saida) and its prey.
As a result of climate change, the amount of sea ice in the Arctic Ocean is decreasing. Many animals, such as the Arctic cod, use the sea ice as a source of food and as a sanctuary, at least in certain seasons. However, as the Arctic Ocean is difficult to sample, little is known about the use of sea ice by the Arctic cod in different seasons. This project will investigate to what extent the Arctic cod and its prey are dependent on sea ice as a food source throughout the entire year. With the outcomes we want to predict the consequences of the expected decrease in sea ice.

Multi-scale model analysis of Arctic surface-boundary layer exchange of climate-active trace gases and aerosol precursors

Dr L. Ganzeveld, Wageningen University and Research
A strong decrease of sea ice in the Arctic area is expected to further influence the climate. Changes in the exchange of greenhouse gases and other gases that form dust particles and clouds will occur between the open ocean, sea ice and the atmosphere. The researchers will interpret measurements of these exchange processes using models with a mechanistic representation of all relevant processes. It will then be possible to use these models to determine the large-scale and long-term consequences of the expected changes in the exchange and concentrations of greenhouse gases and dust particles in the Arctic region.