Decision-makers need scientific information, human context to guide meaningful action
Benjamin Preston, deputy director of the Climate Change Science Institute at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, has co-authored a chapter in the book Successful Adaptation to Climate Change: Linking Science and Policy in a Rapidly Changing World. In the chapter, titled “Water, seas, and wine: Science for successful climate adaptation,” Lauren Rickards of Melbourne University, Suraje Dessai of the University of Leeds, Ryan Meyer of the California Ocean Science Trust, and Preston argue it is no longer sufficient for researchers to carry out studies and then merely hand off the results to decision-makers who then use them to improve their decisions.
The Climate Change Science Institute at Oak Ridge National Laboratory worked with the US Geological Survey to develop BISON - Biodiversity Information Serving Our Nation. BISON is a web-based Federal resource for finding species in the U.S. and its territories. BISON offers more than 100 million mapped records of nearly every living species nationwide, and the vast majority of the records are from specific locations, not just county or state records. The Core Science Analytics and Synthesis (CSAS) program of the USGS developed BISON as an integrated and permanent resource for biological-occurrence data from the United States. BISON will leverage the accumulated human and infrastructural resources of the long-term USGS investment in research and information management and delivery.
Virginia Dale, a member of the Climate Change Science Institute and the Center for BioEnergy Sustainability at ORNL, has been recognized by the United States Regional Association of the International Association for Landscape Ecology with the Distinguished Landscape Ecologist Award. This award is given to individuals whose long-term scientific contribution has helped to define the field of landscape ecology.
Virginia's work at ORNL has been at the center of landscape ecology since the 1980s. She is an ORNL Corporate Fellow and the leader of the Landscape Ecology and Regional Analysis group. She has co-authored seven books and nearly 200 publications covering topics in land use change and climate change (and the interaction between the two), forest management, bioenergy, ecological modeling and biodiversity conservations.
On April 22, the Climate Change Science Institute at Oak Ridge National Laboratory hosted leading atmospheric scientist Ben Santer, one of the authors on the groundbreaking 1995 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report that concluded humans exert a discernible influence on global warming. Santer delivered a presentation to ORNL researchers and staff on his career in climate science and his pursuit to communicate the causes of climate change and scientists' research methods to the public.
“The clear portrayal of science in the public sphere is worth fighting for,” Santer said. “Over my lifetime, I’ve seen signals showing public awareness and understanding of these issues.”
The Scientific Advisory Board of the Climate Change Science Institute at Oak Ridge National Laboratory met March 5-7, 2013, on the ORNL campus to discuss research accomplishments and future directions. A dozen SAB members heard from CCSI researchers engaged in Earth system modeling; data integration, dissemination, and informatics; study of terrestrial ecosystems and carbon cycling; and exploration of impacts, adaptability, and vulnerability of people, property, and ecosystems to climate change. A subsequent poster session allowed more CCSI scientists to share their work with the SAB members. The SAB will issue a report to the ORNL Laboratory Director on their findings. Shown, clockwise from top, are Dan Ricciuto briefing the board on the Climate Science for a Sustainable Energy Future project; Mariya Absar explaining assessments of the effect of climate change on crops in the Southeastern United States; Colleen Iversen describing the Spruce and Peatland Responses Under Climatic and Environmental Change project; and Marcia Branstetter, left, speaking with Abigail Gaddis about pinpointing precipitation. Photo credits: Dawn Levy
U.S. economic losses from extreme weather could at least double by 2050, according to an Oak Ridge National Laboratory analysis published this month in the online edition of the journal Global Environmental Change.
"A side effect of America's growth has been the tendency to put more people, infrastructure and assets in harm's way, and when a storm comes through, that increased exposure drives up economic losses," said author Benjamin Preston, deputy director of ORNL's Climate Change Science Institute, who studied historical data from more than 3,000 U.S. counties and used predictive modeling in the assessment. Preston works in impacts, adaptation, and vulnerability science, a field devoted to analyzing the effects of climate change on people, governments and industries.
Oak Ridge National Laboratory scientist urges further research in limits to adaptation
Despite international efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, it is unlikely the rise in average global temperature will stay below 2 degrees Celsius. As climate change impacts larger numbers of people—from their hobbies to their businesses to their health—researchers and policymakers must decide how to deal with its negative effects.
Oak Ridge National Laboratory researchers and director deliberate on disappearing glaciers
Data from the HIAPER Pole-to-Pole Observations (HIPPO) study of greenhouse gases and aerosols are now available to the atmospheric research community and the public. These comprehensive datasets include the first high-resolution vertically resolved measurements of over 90 unique atmospheric species from nearly pole-to-pole over the Pacific Ocean, measured during a two-year series of five month-long missions spread throughout the annual cycle. The datasets will provide opportunities for research across a broad spectrum of Earth sciences, including those analyzing the evolution in time and space of the greenhouse gases that affect global climate.
Sujithkumar Surendran Nair, Shujiang Kang, Wilfred ‘Mac’ Post, Stan Wullschleger and colleagues published a review article on bioenergy crop models in the GCB Bioenergy journal. This paper has been recognized as one of the top 15 most downloaded articles for 2012 in the journal GCB Bioenergy. The article reviewed crop models that have been developed or adapted for simulating bioenergy crops. The bioenergy crops considered were herbaceous energy crops (switchgrass, miscanthus, and sugarcane [Saccharum officinarum] or energy cane [Saccharum spp.]), perennial woody crops (hybrid poplar Populus spp.] and willow [Salix spp.]), and crassulacean acid metabolism (CAM) crops adapted to arid lands (Agave and Opuntia).