Welcome to Scribd. Sign in or start your free trial to enjoy unlimited e-books, audiobooks & documents.Find out more
Download
Standard view
Full view
of .
Look up keyword
Like this
5Activity
0 of .
Results for:
No results containing your search query
P. 1
Advancing the Science of Climate Change, Report in Brief

Advancing the Science of Climate Change, Report in Brief

Ratings: (0)|Views: 69,032|Likes:
Published by earthandlife
A strong, credible body of scientific evidence shows that climate change is occurring, is caused largely by human activities, and poses significant risks for a broad range of human and natural systems, concludes this panel report from the America's Climate Choices suite of studies. As decision makers respond to these risks, the nation's scientific enterprise can contribute both by continuing to improve understanding of the causes and consequences of climate change, and by improving and expanding the options available to limit the magnitude of climate change and adapt to its impacts. To make this possible, the nation needs a comprehensive, integrated, and flexible climate change research enterprise that is closely linked with action-oriented programs at all levels.

The report recommends that a single federal entity or program be given the authority and resources to coordinate a national research effort integrated across many disciplines and aimed at improving both understanding and responses to climate change. The U.S. Global Change Research Program, established in 1990, could fulfill this role, but it would need to form partnerships with action-oriented programs and address weaknesses in its current program. A comprehensive climate observing system, improved climate models and other analytical tools, investment in human capital, and better linkages between research and decision making are also essential to a complete understanding of climate change.

A strong, credible body of scientific evidence shows that climate change is occurring, is caused largely by human activities, and poses significant risks for a broad range of human and natural systems, concludes this panel report from the America's Climate Choices suite of studies. As decision makers respond to these risks, the nation's scientific enterprise can contribute both by continuing to improve understanding of the causes and consequences of climate change, and by improving and expanding the options available to limit the magnitude of climate change and adapt to its impacts. To make this possible, the nation needs a comprehensive, integrated, and flexible climate change research enterprise that is closely linked with action-oriented programs at all levels.

The report recommends that a single federal entity or program be given the authority and resources to coordinate a national research effort integrated across many disciplines and aimed at improving both understanding and responses to climate change. The U.S. Global Change Research Program, established in 1990, could fulfill this role, but it would need to form partnerships with action-oriented programs and address weaknesses in its current program. A comprehensive climate observing system, improved climate models and other analytical tools, investment in human capital, and better linkages between research and decision making are also essential to a complete understanding of climate change.

More info:

Categories:Types, Research, Science
Published by: earthandlife on Dec 08, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial No-derivs

Availability:

Read on Scribd mobile: iPhone, iPad and Android.
download as PDF, TXT or read online from Scribd
See more
See less

11/13/2014

pdf

text

original

 
A
s a result of the growing recognition thatclimate change is underway and poses seriousrisks for both human societies and naturalsystems, the question that decision makers are askinghas expanded from “what is happening” to “what ishappening and what can we do to respond?”Scientic research can help answer both of theseimportant questions.This report, part of the
 America’s Climate Choices
 suite of studies requested by Congress, examines thestatus of the nation’s climate change research effortsand recommends steps to improve and expand currentunderstanding. The report reviews what the scienticcommunity has learned about climate change and itsinteractions with human and natural systems in12 areas of interest to decision makers (Box 1). It iden-ties advances needed to improve the effectiveness of actions taken to respond to climate change—includingactions to limit its magnitude and adapt to itsimpacts—as well as understanding of the causes,mechanisms, and consequences of climate change.
What is Known about Climate Change
Science has made enormous progress towardunderstanding climate change. As a result, there is astrong, credible body of evidence, based on multiplelines of research, documenting that Earth is warming.Strong evidence also indicates that recent warming islargely caused by human activities, especially therelease of greenhouse gases through the burning of fossil fuels. Global warming is closely associatedwith other climate changes and impacts, includingrising sea levels, increases in intense rainfall events,
A strong, credible body of scientic evidence shows that climate changeis occurring, is caused largely by human activities, and poses signicantrisks for a broad range of human and natural systems. As decisionmakers respond to these risks, the nation’s scientic enterprise cancontribute both by continuing to improve understanding of the causes and consequences of climate change, and by improving and expanding the options available to limit the magnitudeof climate change and to adapt to its impacts. To do so, the nation needs a comprehensive,integrated, and exible climate change research enterprise that is closely linked with action-oriented programs at all levels. Also needed are a comprehensive climate observing system,improved climate models and other analytical tools, investments in human capital, and betterlinkages between research and decision making.
Advancing the Science of Climate Change
Box 1. Areas of Interest to DecisionMakers Examined in this Report
changes in the climate system
sea level rise and the coastalenvironment
freshwater resources
ecosystems, ecosystem services, and biodiversity
agriculture and sheries
 public health
cities and the built environment
transportation systems
energy systems
solar radiation management
national and human security
climate policy
SOURCE: NASA
 
decreases in snow cover and sea ice, more frequentand intense heat waves, increases in wildres, longer growing seasons, and ocean acidication.Individually and collectively, these changes poserisks for a wide range of human and environmentalsystems. While much remains to be learned, the core phenomenon, scientic questions, and hypotheseshave been examined thoroughly and have stood rmin the face of serious scientic debate and carefulevaluation of alternative explanations.Projections of future climate change anticipatean additional warming of 2.0 to 11.5 ºF (1.1 to 6.4 ºC)over the 21st century, on top of the 1.4 ºF alreadyobserved over the past 100 years. Warming is andwill be greatest over land areas and higher latitudes.Projected impacts of future climate change include:
Water availability will decrease inmany areas that are alreadydrought-prone and in areas whererivers are fed by glaciers or snowpack;
A higher fraction of rainfall willfall in the form of heavy precipita-tion, increasing the risk of ood-ing and, in some regions, thespread of water-borne illness;
People and ecosystems in coastalzones will be exposed to higher storm surges, intrusion of saltwater into freshwater aquifers, andother risks as sea levels rise;
Coral reefs will experiencewidespread bleaching as a result of increasing temperatures, rising sealevels, and ocean acidication.There is less certainty in other projections, suchas how the combination of greenhouse gas increases,temperature increases, precipitation changes, andother climate and climate-related changes will affectagricultural crops and natural ecosystems in differentregions. Furthermore, different sectors, populations,and regions will vary in their exposure and sensi-tivity to the impacts of these changes; in general,research suggests that the impacts of climate changewill more harshly affect poorer nations andcommunities.Finally, scientic research has revealed a greatdeal about responses to climate change. There is agrowing body of knowledge about technologies and policies that can be used to limit the magnitude of future climate change, a smaller but expandingunderstanding of the steps that can be taken to adapt to climate change,and a growing recognition thatclimate change will need to beconsidered in decisions across awide range of sectors and interests.
Complexities of ClimateChange
As with all projections of thefuture, there will always be someuncertainty regarding the details of future climate change. For example,there are uncertainties in howhuman societies will decide to produce and use energy and other resources in the decades ahead,making it difcult to project futuregreenhouse gas emissions. CertainEarth system processes—such as ice
Thermometer measurements show that Earth’saverage surface temperature has risen substantiallyover the past century, and especially over the lastthree decades.
These data are corroborated by a variety of inde- pendent observations showing warming in other  parts of the Earth system, including the oceans, thelower atmosphere, and ice-covered regions.
Most of the recent warming can be attributed tofossil fuel burning and other human activities thatrelease carbon dioxide and other heat-trappinggreenhouse gases into the atmosphere.
Human activities have also resulted in an increasein small particles in the atmosphere, which onaverage tend to have a cooling effect, but thiscooling is not strong enough to offset the warmingassociated with greenhouse gas increases.
Changes in solar radiation and volcanic activitycan also inuence climate, but observations showthat they cannot explain the recent warming trend.
 Natural climate variability leads to year-to-year and decade-to-decade uctuations in temperatureand other climate variables as well as signicantregional differences.
Human-caused climate changes and impacts willcontinue for many decades and in some cases for many centuries. The magnitude of climate changeand the severity of its impacts will depend on theactions that human societies take to respond tothese risks.
Box 2. What Is Known about Changes in the Climate System
Johns Hopkins Glacier. SOURCE: NOAA. Photo by John Bortniak 
 
A New Era of ClimateChange Research
As a result of the growingrecognition that climate change isunderway and poses serious risks for  both natural systems and humanwell-being, decision makers of alltypes—including individuals, busi-nesses, and governments at alllevels—are now taking or planningactions to respond to climate change.These actions are explored in theother reports in the
 America’sClimate Choices
series. Effectivemanagement of climate risks willrequire decision makers to takeactions that are exible and robust,to learn from new knowledge andexperience, and to adjust futureactions accordingly.Because decisions always involvevalue judgments, scientic knowledge cannot telldecision makers what they
 should 
do to respond toclimate change. Scientic research can, however, play a key role in the nation’s response to climatechange by, for example:
Projecting the benecial and adverse effects of climate changes, and their likelihood.
Identifying and evaluating the likely or possibleconsequences—including unintended conse-quences—of different actions taken to respondto climate change
Expanding the portfolio of options available for responding to climate change, andimproving the effectiveness of existingoptions
Developing improved decisionmaking processes.
Recommendations
The report concludes that thenation needs a exible, comprehensive,and integrative climate change scienceenterprise, one that not only contributesto our fundamental understanding of climate change but also informs andexpands America’s climate choices(see Box 3). Meeting this expanded setof research requirements will requirechanges in the way climate changeresearch is supported, organized,and conducted.sheet dynamics, cloud processes,and regional climate effects—areeither incompletely understoodor not fully resolved in currentclimate models, leading touncertainties in the magnitudeand rate of global climate changeand its manifestations at localand regional scales.Climate change also posesspecial challenges that set itapart from risks with which people normally deal. For example, many climate change processes have long time lags, sofuture generations will have todeal with the consequences(both positive and negative) of decisions made today. There isalso the potential that the Earthsystem could cross thresholds thatresult in abrupt changes or other “surprises.” The potential consequences of such events could beirreversible and highly challenging, but their likeli-hood is not very well understood.Despite these uncertainties and complexities, itis clear that Earth’s future climate will be unlike theclimate that ecosystems and human societies have become accustomed to during the last 10,000 years,leading to signicant challenges across a broad rangeof human endeavors. It is likewise reasonable toexpect that the magnitude of future climate changeand the severity of its impacts will be larger if actions are not taken to limit its magnitude and adaptto its impacts.
 
Box 3. Cross-cutting Research Themes Identied in Report
Research to Improve Understanding of Human-EnvironmentSystems
1. Climate Forcings, Responses, Feedbacks and Thresholds in theEarth System2. Climate-Related Human Behaviors and Institutions
Research to Support Effective Responses to Climate Change
3. Vulnerability and Adaptation Analyses of Coupled Human-Environment Systems4. Research to Support Strategies for Limiting Climate Change5. Effective Information and Decision Support Systems
Tools and Approaches to Improve Both Understanding andResponses
6. Integrated Climate Observing Systems7. Improved Projections, Analyses, and Assessments
SOURCE: USDA. Photo by Scott Bauer 

Activity (5)

You've already reviewed this. Edit your review.
1 hundred reads
1 thousand reads
rush_salt2445 liked this
Rhonin XU liked this
吉嘉赓 liked this

You're Reading a Free Preview

Download
scribd
/*********** DO NOT ALTER ANYTHING BELOW THIS LINE ! ************/ var s_code=s.t();if(s_code)document.write(s_code)//-->