From: NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration)
Published November 13, 2017 08:32 AM

Designing the climate observing system of the future

A targeted expansion of climate observing systems could help scientists answer knotty questions about climate while delivering trillions of dollars in benefits, according to a new paper published today in the online journal Earth’s Future. Better observations would provide decision makers information they need to protect public health and the economy in the coming decades, the scientists say.

Venkatachalam Ramaswamy, director of NOAA’s Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory, said that improving our ability to predict and plan for droughts, floods, extreme heat events, famine, sea level rise and changes in freshwater availability is likely to  yield significant savings  each year.

“Unless we deliver answers to the critical science questions, our capability to plan for and respond to some of the most important aspects of climate variations and change, like extreme events and water availability, will be significantly limited,” said Ramaswamy, a co-author on the paper, Designing the Climate Observing System of the Future.

Ramaswamy and a team that included three other NOAA laboratory directors and many prominent climate scientists urge that investments focus on tackling seven “grand challenges,” such as predicting extreme weather and climate shifts, the role of clouds and circulation in governing climate sensitivity, the regional sea level change and coastal impacts, understanding the consequences of melting ice, and feedback loops involving carbon cycling in the atmosphere and oceans.


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Photo via NOAA.

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