A National Strategy for Advancing Climate Modeling, National Research Council (Sept. 7, 2012). This report finds that climate models must advance beyond what is currently available to provide climate projections at the scale and level of detail desired by decisionmakers. Development of a more unified U.S. climate modeling enterprise could help speed progress toward that end, according to the report. Recommended steps include creating a common software infrastructure shared by all climate researchers and holding an annual climate modeling forum.
Perception of Climate Change (Aug. 6, 2012). This study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, finds that climate change is causing a large increase in the number of hot summers. The research, which focused on past temperature data rather than climate modeling, found that while 0.2 percent of the Earth's surface experienced extremely hot summers between 1951 and 1980, about 10 percent has done so in the past several years. The report also finds that summers with a mean temperature described as cold, which occurred about one-third of the time from 1951 to 1980, now occur 10 percent of the time, while those in the hot category have increased from 33 percent to about 75 percent. The likelihood of these unusually hot summers in the absence of global warming is exceedingly small, according to the report.
Climate Change: Evidence, Impacts, and Choices, National Research Council (July 3, 2012). The National Research Council of the National Academies has issued a booklet to address common questions about the science of climate change. The booklet provides a science-based overview of the evidence of climate change, the evidence that human activity has contributed to climate change, and projected impacts on temperature, precipitation, snowpack, coastlines, ecosystems, and food production. The information is drawn from several reports previously issued by the NRC.
Climate Change: Lines of Evidence, National Research Council (July 3, 2012). The National Research Council of the National Academies has issued a video addressing common questions about the science of climate change. The video discusses the evidence of climate change, the science of greenhouse gases, the evidence that human activity has contributed to climate change, and ways to distinguish between historic climate fluctuations and recent changes. The video is based on the booklet Climate Change: Evidence, Impacts, and Choices.
Global Change and Extreme Hydrology: Testing Conventional Wisdom, National Academies (Aug. 2011). This report of the National Research Council summarizes the proceedings of a January 2010 workshop of atmospheric scientists, hydrologists, water managers, and policymakers that examined whether floods and droughts are becoming more prominent in the United States, how they are changing at the regional scale, and the global climate's effect on the changes. This report provides an overview of the current scientific understanding of climate change and extreme hydrologic events. The report also describes the changes in frequency and severity of extremes, whether it’s possible to model these changes, and the problem of communicating the best science to water resources practitioners in useful forums.
Understanding the Earth's Deep Past: Lessons for Our Climate Future, National Academies (2011). This report assesses the potential for study of the Earth’s geologic record to inform research on the dynamics of the global climate system and how the future climate would respond to high levels of atmospheric greenhouse gases. The report proposes an integrated, “deep-time” climate research program to study how climates responded over Earth's different climate states, determine how sensitive climates are to increased atmospheric greenhouse gases, and clarify the processes that lead to anomalously warm polar and tropical regions and the impact on marine and terrestrial life. The report also proposes strategies and tools for implementing the research agenda.
Has Past Climate Change Influenced the Nature of Today’s Humans?, National Academies (Feb. 28, 2011). In this update to the column Insights from the Chair of the Division on Earth and Life Studies, Barbara Schaal explains why water managers and policymakers in the Western states should pay attention to information about past climate, as concluded in a recent National Research Council report, Understanding Climate’s Influence on Human Evolution.
Assessment of Intraseasonal to Interannual Climate Prediction and Predictability, National Academies (September 2010). This report of the National Academies’ Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate discusses ways to improve the quality of and accessibility to long-term climate forecasts. The report includes recommendations on improvements to the tools used in forecasting, research goals for improving the understanding of sources of predictability, and best practices for the procedures and protocols associated with climate forecasting.
Advancing the Science of Climate Change, National Academies, National Resource Council (May 2010). Part of America’s Climate Choices Series, this report recommends that a single federal entity or program be given the authority and resources to coordinate a national, multidisciplinary research effort with the goal of improving both understanding of and responses to climate change. See also Advancing the Science of Climate Change webinar presentation, July 23, 2010.
Climate Stabilization Targets: Emissions, Concentrations, and Impacts over Decades to Millennia, National Academies, Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate (July 2010). This report quantifies the outcomes of different stabilization targets for greenhouse gas concentrations using analyses and information drawn from scientific literature. The report explores the relationships between increases in carbon dioxide and global warming, related climate changes, and resulting impacts, such as changes in streamflow, wildfires, extreme hot summers, and sea level rise.
Irreversible Climate Change Due to Carbon Dioxide Emissions (January 2009). This paper, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, shows that climate change resulting from increases in carbon dioxide concentration is largely irreversible for 1,000 years after emissions stop. The research finds that following cessation of emissions, removal of atmospheric carbon dioxide decreases radiative forcing, but is largely compensated by slower loss of heat to the ocean, so that atmospheric temperatures do not drop significantly for at least a millennium.
Assessing the Climatic Benefits of Black Carbon Mitigation (June 2010). This paper, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, analyzes the benefits of mitigating black carbon emissions for achieving a specific equilibrium temperature target.