Informing Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation

Over the next one to five years, governments, corporations, foundations, advocacy groups, consulting firms, and science labs will be involved in many overlapping decision processes on adaptation and mitigation. We have two near-term opportunities for constructive engagement that build on our strengths in modeling and simulation and include cooperation with universities and other collaborators with complementary expertise.

The first is to use our newly developed Nested Regional Climate Model (NRCM) to provide very-high-resolution (4 km) predictions of climate change over the next 50 years for the United States and possibly other regions, to support consistent local, regional, and national adaptation planning. (An atmospheric resolution of about 150 km was considered high resolution until recently.) Such simulations would help a wide variety of users with assessing vulnerability and potential impacts and developing strategies to respond. The model holds great promise for investigating the relationship of climate change to hurricanes. It also offers many possibilities for exciting collaborations with the hydrological, ecological, and human health communities, especially if additional atmospheric chemistry is incorporated. Specific actions would include

  • Produce very-high-resolution (4 km) regional-scale predictions of climate change and impacts with NRCM, including detailed characterizations of prediction uncertainty
  • Develop new partnerships focused on analysis of climate impacts on human health, ecosystems, and water resources
  • Partner regionally with scientists and involve stakeholders end to end in creating regional assessments of vulnerability and adaptation options

Our second opportunity is to further develop and apply the Integrated Population-Economy-Technology-Science (iPETS) model to evaluate alternative climate change response strategies. This effort can provide fundamental insights about the coupling of human and natural systems. It can also provide useful information for national-scale decision makers on mitigation and adaptation through integrated analysis of the atmospheric, environmental, and economic consequences of different policy, economic, and technological choices. The use of this medium- scale tool could also inform and be informed by analyses using CCSM. NCAR's computing resources would enable a large number of experimental simulations on a very rapid timescale and would facilitate exploration of couplings to CCSM. We plan to

  • Add and refine components of the iPETS model, including improved representation of spatial land use change, emissions, and mitigation of non-CO2 greenhouse gases, and more detailed representation of key energy technologies
  • Design and execute new simulations to evaluate different mitigation strategies and emissions pathways
  • Explore new ways of linking integrated assessment models to Earth system models and incorporate impacts and adaptation into integrated assessment models