One of the greatest threats to human beings and the nature as we know it today is global
climate change. Predictions indicate that our environmental conditions will change with
increasing speed in the coming years with one of the most significant changes being a
warming of the global climate. Our region is maybe the most sensitive region of the world
and, most likely, global warming will change the living conditions in Europe significantly.
In order to understand and better predict the development of the climate, continuous
observation of climatic variables is crucial. The best natural indicators of global warming (or
cooling) can be found in the cryosphere, i.e. masses of sea ice, snow and glaciers. The Euro-Arctic sea ice, glaciers and seasonal snow cover should be monitored in order to continuously
assess the climatic status of Europe. Already, observations indicate that the Arctic may be
free of sea ice during the summer within 50-100 years.
The EuroClim project has established an advanced prototype system and a semi-operational
service for crucial parts of the cryosphere for monitoring and for all of Europe for climate
prediction. The EuroClim system includes sub-systems for extraction of cryospheric variables
from remote sensing data. Cryospheric variable products are stored in an advanced,
distributed database system connecting all the storage and processing sites comprising the
EuroClim node network. Sub-systems for climate modelling and statistical analysis apply the
cryospheric variables in order to do scenario analysis, trend estimation, etc. A web-based
service makes the products available to the users – from cryospheric map products to high-level climate indicators.