ESRL Quarterly Newsletter - Summer 2010

Climate Choices

A.R. Ravishankara, Susan Solomon co-author National Research Council reports

Credible, strong science shows that human-caused climate change is occurring, and poses serious risk for human and natural systems, according to Advancing the Science of Climate Change, one of three reports issued by the National Research Council, NRC, in May.

The NRC will release two more reports later this year, for the five-part study known as America’s Climate Choices, requested by Congress. ESRL’s Susan Solomon (Chemical Sciences Division, CSD) is co-authoring the overarching study, which aims to provide “a scientific framework for shaping the policy choices underlying the nation’s efforts to confront climate change.”
ESRL’s A.R. Ravishankara (CSD Director) was one of 21 authors of the new Advancing the Science report. That report outlines what is known about climate change, from steady increases in Earth’s average surface temperature during the past century, to the predominant cause of those changes—“human activities that release carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.”

It also calls for significant changes to the way climate change research is organized, including an expanded integrative and interdisciplinary approach to studying climate change issues, combining physical, social, biological, health, and engineering sciences.

Advancing the Science recommends that a single federal entity or program coordinate a national climate research effort, and urges the nation to deploy a more comprehensive climate observing system. CIRES scientist Waleed Abdalati was also a report co-author, and Pamela Matson of Stanford University served as chair. More: