· CCSI will be recognized as an international leader in seasonal to decadal to century-scale predictions of climate change relevant to global and regional scales.
· We will provide in-depth interpretation and synthesis information to increase the availability and usability of climate predictions for research on climate change impacts and assessment.
· ORNL research will continue to be at the forefront in understanding climate-carbon cycle feedbacks, and in determining how terrestrial ecosystems respond to changes in temperature, atmospheric CO2 concentrations, and precipitation.
· CCSI will be recognized internationally as a strategic partner of climate change research and impacts institutes and top tier universities.
OUR SCIENTIFIC CHALLENGES
There is a growing demand for scientific insights regarding climate change, its consequences, and how disparate organizations from local communities to national government and international agencies can best respond to challenges in both adaptation and mitigation of climate change. The questions being asked are less about how much warming may occur, but rather specifics about extreme events such as heat waves, droughts, floods, or rapid sea-level rise. The answers to these questions calls for a new generation of comprehensive, high-resolution Earth system models that predict the physical, biogeochemical, and coupled chemical evolution of the climate system.
These models are needed to provide projections at fine spatial scales so that impacts can be estimated at scales relevant to state and local resource managers and policymakers. To deal with the projected impacts effectively, it will be necessary to provide information to decision makers that support adaptation planning and mitigation actions. Decision makers need the most reliable climate change projections available, along with estimates of their reliability, in weighing the cost of adapting policies, practices and legacy infrastructure against the losses in nature and managed ecosystems, the built environment and human health.
FROM THE LEADERSHIP
On a daily basis, ORNL scientists engage in fundamental research that spans scientific domains from Earth system modeling, climate dynamics, algorithm and numerical methods research, carbon cycle and ecosystem modeling, data analytics and visualization, climate change data science, ecosystem processes, and the analysis of climate change impacts and options for adapting to and mitigating future climate change.
Since the 1980s, ORNL has been a key partner and leader in developing high-performance computational platforms, scaling climate code for maximum throughput, and using these in climate change science, terrestrial ecosystem responses to environmental change. In addition, ORNL has curated important environmental data during this same time period and has unique holdings that can be interrogated to address many climate change questions.
It is the ability to integrate not only our diverse staff and our world-class resources but our ability to provide the real-time, continuous feedback among our research themes that differentiates ORNL’s contributions by further perfecting the models, experiments and analysis to provide true benefit to climate change policy and decision makers.
Institute operations are based on the core values of collaboration, transparency, accessibility and quantification.
Relevance: All of our work must be relevant to the needs of society and our stakeholders. When we are confronted with choices, we will always seek to shape our choices based on the needs and interests of our stakeholders.
Collaboration: Climate science is intrinsically multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary. Therefore, significant progress can only be achieved through sustained and authentic collaborative efforts.
Transparency: The potential consequences of climate change are grave - avoiding the worst of the consequences will require substantial investment. For society to have the confidence to make investments based on advice from the climate community requires that our methodologies for gathering data and climate simulation be available and subject to rigorous review in the peer-reviewed literature and elsewhere.
Accessibility: Society invests significant resources in climate science and is eager for information that can inform policy. Therefore, we must make our data and models widely and easily available so that society receives the maximum benefit from its investment.
Quantification: Quantitative knowledge on climate change is far more valuable to the community and to policy makers. Therefore, we will strive to place meaningful estimates of uncertainty on all information we provide and will strive to communicate confidence and uncertainty in ways appropriate to the audience.
To support our mission and realize our vision, CCSI will remain dedicated to these principles.