Even during the sturm und drang and donner und blitzen of a presidential election year, scientists carry on their work to understand our planet, its weather and climate, and help others understand it, too.
Good on them.
Comes this morning an e-update newsletter from the National Academy of Sciences, with news on the study of climate change.
A new report from the National Research Council concludes that climate models will need to evolve substantially to deliver climate projections at the scale and level of detail desired by decision makers. As climate change has pushed climate patterns outside of historic norms, the need for detailed projections is growing across all sectors, including agriculture, insurance, and emergency preparedness planning.
Despite much recent progress in developing reliable climate models, there are still efficiencies to be gained across the large and diverse U.S. climate modeling community. Evolving to a more unified climate modeling enterprise–in particular by developing a common software infrastructure shared by all climate researchers, and holding an annual climate modeling forum–could help speed progress.
Learn more about the report at a free webinar on September 28 at 1:30 pm EST, where you’ll be able to watch live presentations by the report’s authoring committee and ask questions about the report’s findings.
New Website Provides “101” on Climate Modeling
Earth’s climate system is, in a word, complicated. It incorporates thousands of factors that interact in space and time around the globe and over many generations. For several decades, scientists have used the world’s most advanced computers to both simulate climate and predict future climate. Industries such as those mentioned above increasingly rely on information from these models to guide decision making–and with a changing climate, the information is more important than ever. Along with its new report about advancing climate modeling, the Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate has released Climate Modeling 101, a website designed to help the public learn more about the basics of climate modeling–how they work and why they are important. The site features short videos and animations that explain everything from the difference between climate and weather to how climate models are built and verified.
Impact of Himalayan Glaciers on Water Supply Unclear
Another report from National Research Council, released on September 12, 2012, concludes that, although scientific evidence shows that most glaciers in South Asia’s Hindu Kush Himalayan region are retreating, the consequences for the region’s water supply are unclear. The study looks at the Hindu Kush Himalayan region, where several of Asia’s great river systems meet, providing water for drinking, irrigation, and other uses for about 1.5 billion people.
Recent studies show that at lower elevations, glacial retreat is unlikely to cause significant changes in water availability over the next several decades, but other factors, including groundwater depletion and increasing human water use, could have a greater impact. Higher elevation areas could experience altered water flow in some river basins if current rates of glacial retreat continue, but shifts in the location, intensity, and variability of rain and snow due to climate change will likely have a greater impact on regional water supplies.
Along with the report, the NRC has released a slideshow of stunning images and data-rich maps that explain what was learned in the report.
- Next generation of advanced climate models needed (terradaily.com)
- 2 Hot, Too Soon: Multi-Model Climate Change Projections (chimalaya.org)
- Himalayan glaciers retreating at accelerated rate in some regions but not others (eurekalert.org)
- India Ink: Academy Finds Mixed Climate Impacts on Himalayan Glaciers, Water Supplies (india.blogs.nytimes.com)
- United States: Governor unveils web site (pe.com)
- Climate change is here – and worse than we thought (bangordailynews.com)
- Sizzling summer has worsened drought conditions (kansascity.com)
- Next generation of advanced climate models needed, says new report (phys.org)
- NAS Study Calls for ‘Next Generation’ of Climate Models (blogs.kqed.org)
- Dot Earth Blog: Academy Finds Mixed Climate Impacts on Himalayan Glaciers, Water Supplies (dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com)