Reporting period October 2000 - April 2001

Overview of progress :

The aim of the BIOCLIM project is to provide a scientific basis and practical methodology for assessing the possible impacts due to long term climate change on the safety of radioactive waste repositories in deep geological formations. The project brings together twelve different European organisations plus associated sub-contractors with responsibilities for either the safe disposal of radioactive waste or the development of climate models.

Summary of Project Progress for the period :

The official start of the project was 1st of October 2000. During the first two months various administrative tasks were undertaken, in particular sending the contract to participants and planning the project launch meeting. Detailed technical work did not begin until after the project launch meeting at the end of November 2000. For this reason, this first management report covers the seven-month period from 1st October 2000 to 30th April 2001.

Work package 1 Activities :

The objective was to consolidate approaches and develop an understanding of the requirements for representing climate change in performance assessments (PA) as perceived by each of the European agencies of the BIOCLIM consortium. This was achieved through summarising current knowledge of how climate change is treated in performance assessments and how information on past climate change can be used as a basis for understanding how climate may affect the biosphere in the future. The waste management agencies (both waste disposers and the regulator within the consortium) collaborated to provide input to two documents. The first summarises the mechanisms causing climate change, provides a synopsis of how environmental change is currently treated in such assessments, and summarises the lessons learned to date from such applications. The second deliverable provides present day narrative pictures together with palaeological climate and vegetation data for four European regions where deep radioactive disposal sites might be developed. This work will be used in future Work Packages as a basis for understanding how past climate changes have influenced the current biosphere systems in the regions in order to lay the basis for modelling how radionuclides might migrate and accumulate in future biosphere systems following release from a repository.

Work package 2 Activities :

A simple model (the threshold model developed by LSCE/CEA) and a model of intermediate complexity (the LLN 2-D NH climate model developed by UCL/ASTR) were used to simulate climate change over the next one million years. The threshold model can only account for natural climate change. It is forced by insolation changes only. However the LLN 2-D NH climate model is forced by changes in the orbital parameters (and consequently by the seasonal and latitudinal distribution change in insolation) and by the changes in atmospheric CO2 concentration. Orbital parameters and insolation can readily be computed. However scenarios for atmospheric CO2 concentration had to be designed. Such scenarios are taking into account both the natural variations and the fossil fuel contribution. Different such scenarios were designed and used as forcing for the LLN 2-D NH climate model. The model provides the time evolution of continental ice volume over the next one million year, as well as the Northern Hemisphere annual mean temperature over the same time interval. Other climate variables are also simulated but they were not discussed within the framework of this Work Package. The results of these models will be used to identified specific climatic situations of particular interest for studying the impacts of radioactive waste repository sites.

Work package 3 Activities :

The objective is to obtain a set of very long term climatic simulations in the future, and thus provide a continuous description of possible future climate changes. The activities are still currently concerning the development and the validation of the tools to be used in these long term experiments.

- " Reporting period October 2000 - April 2001 "
- " Reporting period April 2001 - September 2001 "
- " Reporting period October 2001 - March 2002 "
- " Reporting period April 2002 - September 2002 "
- " Reporting period October 2002 - December 2003 "