Getting ready for hell and high water — climate adaptation science

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.”

“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.

“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.

Sounds like some folks realize that Congress is about as capable as the folks who designed the lifeboats for the Titanic. We may as well get to work figuring out survival alternatives since the gremlins in charge ain’t capable of rescuing anyone including themselves.

One thought on “Getting ready for hell and high water — climate adaptation science

  1. Dugutigui says:

    “The anti-nuclear movement is partly responsible for global warming” —activist Mark Lynas tell us—. “Everywhere, pretty much, where a nuclear plant was cancelled, a coal plant was built instead, and that’s because of the anti-nuclear movement.”
    Four of the best-known scientists espousing the belief that humanity’s carbon emissions are an immediate and deadly threat have issued a statement begging their fellow greens to support nuclear power. Doctors James Hansen, Ken Caldeira, Kerry Emanuel and Tom Wigley co-signed an open letter over the weekend in which they address “those influencing environmental policy, but opposed to nuclear power”. The four scientists write that “continued opposition to nuclear power threatens humanity’s ability to avoid dangerous climate change … there is no credible path to climate stabilization that does not include a substantial role for nuclear power”… Full letter online: http://bit.ly/1fc6Dpu
    Paraphrasing Greenpeace’s banner: “Climate change is deadly. Greens, get serious.”

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