Report calls for shift in climate research
The US government's climate research needs a radical refocus to make its results more relevant to policymakers and other stakeholders. That will require more interdisciplinary research and better understanding of the effects of climate change on local scales, says a new report released 26 February by the National Research Council (NRC), the policy-advice arm of the US National Academy of Sciences.
"Robust and effective responses to climate change demand a vastly improved body of scientific knowledge," says the NRC committee in its report Restructuring Federal Climate Research to Meet the Challenges of Climate Change. The 16-member committee was charged with evaluating the US Climate Change Science Program (CCSP), an umbrella entity that coordinates nearly $2 billion in annual climate change work within US government agencies.
To better understand the challenges posed by climate change, the United States will need a comprehensive climate observing system, improved modelling capabilities and further collaboration between physical and social scientists, says the committee. The report arrives at a critical time, with the CCSP currently developing a new strategic plan. Though the degree to which the recommendations will be acted on is not yet clear, initial responses from the climate science community have been positive.
Photo shows Veerabhadran Ramanathan who chaired the National Research Council report committee.