Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Preparing for hell and high water: Researchers advocate for climate adaptation science

Date:
November 7, 2013
Source:
DOE/Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
Summary:
As climate changes get more pronounced, people everywhere will have to adjust. In this week's issue of the journal Science, an international group of researchers urge the development of science needed to manage climate risks and capitalize on unexpected opportunities.

Some parts of the natural and humanmade world will bounce back better than others from climate change, but scientists don't yet know who or what.
Credit: Image courtesy of ARM Research Facility

Changes are already happening to Earth's climate due to the burning of fossil fuels, deforestation and large-scale agriculture. As changes get more pronounced, people everywhere will have to adjust. In this week's issue of the journal Science, an international group of researchers urge the development of science needed to manage climate risks and capitalize on unexpected opportunities.

"Adapting to an evolving climate is going to be required in every sector of society, in every region of the globe. We need to get going, to provide integrated science if we are going to meet the challenge," said senior scientist Richard Moss of the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. "In this article, we describe the foundations for this research and suggest measures to establish it."

Climate preparedness research needs to integrate social and climate science, engineering, and other disciplines. It prepares for impacts by determining who and what are most vulnerable to changes and considering ways to adapt.

"Science for adaptation starts with understanding decision-making processes and information needs, determining where the vulnerabilities are, and then moves to climate modeling. A final step tracks whether adaptation is effective," said Moss, who is based at the Joint Global Change Research Institute, a collaboration between PNNL in Richland, Wash. and the University of Maryland.

The article grew out of a workshop held in August 2012 at the Aspen Global Change Institute in Aspen, Colo., on how to improve support for decision-making in the face of a changing climate. The authors arrived at this approach to guide preparedness research based on the need to reduce the risks that climate change presents.

"The need to adapt and adjust is going to be global," said Moss. "We need a flexible, integrated approach that merges theoretical and problem-oriented sciences around four general challenges."

The four challenges are:

  • Understanding what information is needed to make decisions about adapting to climate change
  • Identifying vulnerabilities in society, the economy and the environment
  • Improving forecasts and climate models in ways that can address specific problems
  • Providing technology, management, and policy options for adapting

As an example of how practical and basic research can work together, Moss described work in the U.S. involving water utilities, university scientists, and private firms to pilot use of climate models and water utility modeling to design resilient water systems.

"This research is motivated by a practical challenge, ensuring reliable water supplies. Among the scientific advances that will be required is better integration of weather and climate models to improve decadal climate information to help people plan," Moss said.

Bringing together diverse disciplines at the Aspen workshop allowed the international team to explore all facets of adaptation, including less examined ones such as how scientific information is (and isn't) used in making decisions.

"Traditionally we think that what society needs is better predictions. But at this workshop, all of us -- climate and social scientists alike -- recognized the need to consider how decisions get implemented and that climate is only one of many factors that will determine how people will adapt," he said.

The focus on problem-solving could open up new sources of funding as well, sources such as non-governmental organizations, industry -- any group with specific problems that adaptation science could solve.

"We will make a virtue of necessity," said Moss.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by DOE/Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. R. H. Moss, G. A. Meehl, M. C. Lemos, J. B. Smith, J. R. Arnold, J. C. Arnott, D. Behar, G. P. Brasseur, S. B. Broomell, A. J. Busalacchi, S. Dessai, K. L. Ebi, J. A. Edmonds, J. Furlow, L. Goddard, H. C. Hartmann, J. W. Hurrell, J. W. Katzenberger, D. M. Liverman, P. W. Mote, S. C. Moser, A. Kumar, R. S. Pulwarty, E. A. Seyller, B. L. Turner, W. M. Washington, T. J. Wilbanks. Hell and High Water: Practice-Relevant Adaptation Science. Science, 2013; 342 (6159): 696 DOI: 10.1126/science.1239569

Cite This Page:

DOE/Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. "Preparing for hell and high water: Researchers advocate for climate adaptation science." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 November 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131107142526.htm>.
DOE/Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. (2013, November 7). Preparing for hell and high water: Researchers advocate for climate adaptation science. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131107142526.htm
DOE/Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. "Preparing for hell and high water: Researchers advocate for climate adaptation science." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131107142526.htm (accessed September 18, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Elephant Undergoes Surgery in Tbilisi Zoo

Raw: Elephant Undergoes Surgery in Tbilisi Zoo

AP (Sep. 18, 2014) Grand the elephant has successfully undergone surgery to remove a portion of infected tusk at Tbilisi Zoo in Georgia. British veterinary surgeons used an electric drill to extract the infected piece. (Sept. 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Scientists Examine Colossal Squid

Raw: Scientists Examine Colossal Squid

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) Squid experts in New Zealand thawed and examined an unusual catch on Tuesday: a colossal squid. It was captured in Antarctica's remote Ross Sea in December last year and has been frozen for eight months. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Man Floats for 31 Hours in Gulf Waters

Man Floats for 31 Hours in Gulf Waters

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) A Texas man is lucky to be alive after he and three others floated for more than a day in the Gulf of Mexico when their boat sank during a fishing trip. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researchers Explore Shipwrecks Off Calif. Coast

Researchers Explore Shipwrecks Off Calif. Coast

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) Federal researchers are exploring more than a dozen underwater sites where they believe ships sank in the treacherous waters west of San Francisco in the decades following the Gold Rush. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins