ESRL Quarterly Newsletter - Spring 2009

The National Academy of Sciences

The National Academy of Sciences launched in November 2008 a series of studies called America’s Climate Choices, requested by members of Congress seeking guidance on responding to climate change. The study is due in 2010, and its charge is to “investigate and study the serious and sweeping issues relating to global climate change and make recommendations regarding what steps must be taken and what strategies must be adopted in response to global climate change, including the science and technology challenges thereof.”

Experts from across the government, private industry, nongovernmental organizations, and research institutions will be organized into four panels, Limiting the Magnitude of Future Climate Change; Adapting to the Impacts; Advancing the Science; and Informing Effective Decisions and Actions.

ESRL’s A.R. Ravishankara, Director of the Chemical Sciences Division, will participate in the panel on advancing science (as will Waleed Abdalati from the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, at the University of Colorado at Boulder). Venkatachalam Ramaswamy, Director of NOAA’s Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory in Princeton, NJ, will participate in the panel on informing decisions and actions.

Susan Solomon, in ESRL’s Chemical Sciences Division, and Tom Karl, Director of NOAA’s Climate Services, are on the Climate Choices overarching committee, which will integrate the four panels’ findings and recommendations into a final report.

Colorado Senator Mark Udall said the National Academies study is a critical one, as is ESRL’s involvement. “We need more information to help us understand how to limit the effects of climate change and how to best adapt to the environmental changes climate change will bring,” Udall said.