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Decision-Support Resources Development & Related Research on Human Contributions and Responses
Additional Past Accomplishments:
The following are selected highlights of recent research supported by CCSP participating agencies (as reported in the fiscal year 2008 edition of the annual report, Our Changing Planet).
The National Research Council's Committee on the Human Dimensions of Global Change.An important source of scientific expertise and judgment on societal issues related to global change is the Committee on the Human Dimensions of Global Change (CHDGC) of the National Research Council (NRC). The committee was formed in 1989, to help guide U.S. research on the interactions between human activity and global environmental change. The CHDGC focuses on two main tasks: developing the intellectual basis for progress in understanding human-environment interactions, and advising on future research directions. Recently completed and soon-to-be-completed studies include:
New Alaska Center for Climate Assessment and Policy.1A new Regional Integrated Sciences and Assessments (RISA) effort focused on Alaska was launched in September 2006. The new Alaska Center for Climate Assessment and Policy (ACCAP) will synthesize data and information to quantify the effects of changes in seasonality of weather and climate on Alaskan people and ecosystems, determine stakeholder needs for enhanced information, conduct research to facilitate product enhancement, and assess vulnerability and adaptive capacity of various Alaskan sectors. Transportation will provide the initial focus for these activities. Federal partners include NOAA and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management; other partners include nongovernmental organizations, state agencies, tribal governments, and the private sector.
National Integrated Drought Information System Program Office.In support of the Western Governors Association report, Creating a Drought Early Warning System for the 21st Century: The National Integrated Drought Information System, and the National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS) Authorization Bill signed in 2006, the interagency NIDIS program office has been established. The goal of NIDIS is to create an interagency and interstate coordination program to (1) improve public awareness of drought and attendant impacts, (2) improve the capacity of counties and watershed organizations to reduce drought risks proactively, and (3) provide guidance on filling information gaps including those for monitoring, forecasting, and impact assessments as needed. The interagency NIDIS Implementation Plan, which addresses these three goals, was released in 2007.
Climate Change Impacts on Agricultural Efficiency in Central America.Over the last decade, there has been engagement in developing criteria and tools for assessing the potential effects of climate change and climate variability on agricultural systems, natural ecosystems, and other systems and sectors worldwide. The present task is to apply those tools in key regions to provide policymakers and practitioners in various affected countries with the means to anticipate, mitigate, and/or adapt to changes in the mean values and potential extremes of a changing climate. An exploratory study of the effects of climate change on agricultural efficiency in the state of Costa Rica will be undertaken. Costa Rica lies at the center of the climate-sensitive Isthmus of Central America. One scenario product that will be developed in this research effort involves the use of global climate models to determine how storm tracks may change in both the Pacific and Caribbean subregions of Central America.
Environmental Public Health Tracking Network.2CCSP scientists have been working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and partners in environmental public health to provide environmental data products that would be of benefit to the Environmental Public Health Tracking Network (EPHTN). EPHTN will establish a national network of local, state, and Federal public health agencies to track trends in priority non-infectious health effects. This effort is being undertaken as part of the Health and Environment Linked for Information Exchange in Atlanta (HELIX-Atlanta) project. This effort is demonstrating a process for developing a local environmental public health tracking (surveillance) network. In a 2006 report, it was found that augmenting the EPA Air Quality System (AQS) observations with NASA Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS)-derived PM2.5 (particulate matter that is 2.5 µm or smaller in size) observations increases the temporal and spatial resolutions of fine particulate estimates. The report also found that such augmentation also increases the accuracy in estimating concentrations of an environmental hazard such as PM2.5, which is absolutely critical for environmental public health tracking. High concentrations of PM2.5 are associated with adverse health reactions (e.g., respiratory and cardiovascular problems).
Representation of Expectations in Assessment Models.One source of divergence among alternative economic models in assessments of emissions mitigation is the way the models represent expectations of future developments—that is, whether current decisions are based on future as well as current conditions (i.e., the model is forward-looking) or each time period is analyzed independently (i.e., recursive dynamic). To provide a basis for studying these differences in approach, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change has completed the development of a forward-looking version of its Emissions Prediction and Policy Analysis (EPPA) model, which was originally developed in a recursive-dynamic form. Application of the two versions to the same set of mitigation proposals allows a direct comparison of methods. In terms of timing of mitigation efforts, the two versions show similar results but the macroeconomic effects of mitigation are smaller in the forward-looking model because it optimizes over time, and smoothes out bumps in the consumption path. Solving the forward-looking model is computationally demanding, and to do so requires simplifications that reduce the model dimensions, such as the number of regions, sectors, or time steps. The fact that the recursive and the forward- looking versions give similar results in terms of mitigation allows for continued use of the recursive model where a longer time horizon or greater regional detail is required.
New Local 3-Month Temperature Outlook.3A new climate forecast product, the Local 3-Month Temperature Outlook (L3MTO), was released in 2007. This product represents years of development by climate services personnel utilizing climate forecasting best practices from the Climate Prediction Center. This product also leverages extensive research from the RISA program on communicating probabilistic information to diverse decisionmakers to help them make economically, socially, and environmentally sound decisions. L3MTO is presented in various levels of complexity for different types of users. It incorporates copious help documentation as well as users’ guides. Comments and feedback have been used to improve L3MTO and will continue to be addressed in the future. Plans call for expansion of the product suite to include precipitation in the near future. Figure 13 provides an example of this product.
Projected Energy Usage in a Warmer Future.4
Gradually increasing temperatures will create a greater demand for air conditioning and, in turn, a greater demand for energy and greater demand for coal to fuel power plants to produce the needed energy. A recent analysis of the effects of future projected climate change on energy usage and costs for the period 2000 to 2025 uses a numerical economic model driven with output from a climate model. The economic model includes data on building codes and census figures from every county in the United States, along with expected population changes during the time period. The coupling of a global climate model with output at regional scales with state-of-the-art economic modeling to assess the effects of future climate change on energy use makes this study noteworthy.
Additional Past Accomplishments:
References1) See uaf.edu/accap.
2) Rosen, R., A. Chu, J.J. Szykman, R. DeYoung, J.A. Al-Saadi, A. Kaduwela, and C. Bohnenkamp, 2006: Application of satellite data for three-dimensional monitoring of PM2.5 formation and transport in San Joaquin Valley, California. In: Remote Sensing of Aerosol and Chemical Gases, Model Simulation/Assimilation, and Applications to Air Quality [Chu, A., J. Szykman, and S. Kondragunta (eds.)]. Proceedings of SPIE - International Society of Optical Engineering, 6299, doi:10.1117/12.681649.
3) See weather.gov/climate/l3mto.php.
4) Hadley, S., D.J. Erickson III, J. Hernandez, C. Broniak, and T.J. Blasing, 2006: Responses of energy use to climate change: A climate modeling study. Geophysical Research Letters, 33, L17701, doi:10.1029/2006GL026131.
5) See climate.noaa.gov/cpo_pa/risa.