Integrated assessment of climate change

Understanding the relationships between human activities, potential changes to the Earth’s climate, and the resulting ecological and economic impacts and other effects on human welfare from these changes requires an interdisciplinary perspective involving the physical, biological, social and political sciences. Policy makers, responsible both for identifying possible national response strategies to concerns about climate change and for negotiating international conventions and protocols, can benefit from tools that enable them to examine these relationships and to evaluate alternative approaches for dealing with policy related questions about future climate change. Integrated Assessment Models (IAM) provide an integrated view of human interaction with the physical world.

Faculty and students in the department are developing models that integrate human users into a climate modeling system. These models are contributing to our understanding of biogeochemical and biophysical processes and interactions with human systems, such as land use changes, as well as climate change impacts due to the evolution of atmospheric GHG concentrations and proposed emission control policies. These models are also being used to examine the relationships between climate variability and change to human and natural environments from the human perspective, development and applications of methods for testing and evaluating climate and climate impact predictions and their uncertainty characterization, and critical issues linking relevant Earth system processes over a variety of spatial and temporal scales. Due to the quality, reliability and significance of these model results, they have been used in international assessments by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). These assessments are relied upon by the U.S. and other nations to develop mitigation policies related to climate and to stratospheric ozone. Do you want to contribute?

Want to learn more? See our faculty websites.