Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Climate data and billion-dollar decisions

UA geoscientist Jonathan Overpeck is co-author on two high-profile papers published in the past week. In an issue of Science dedicated to "Dealing with Data" he addresses the challenges of dealing with increasing volumes and complexities of climate data and public access to them [right, climate change models depending on what actions are taken].

"Our understanding of how the climate system functions is built on a foundation of climate data, both observed and simulated. Although research scientists have been the main users of these data, an increasing number of resource managers (working in fields such as water, public lands, health, and marine resources) need and are seeking access to climate data to inform their decisions, just as a growing range of policy-makers rely on climate data to develop climate change strategies. Quite literally, climate data provide the backbone for billion-dollar decisions. With this gravity comes the responsibility to curate climate data and share it more freely, usefully, and readily than ever before."
Today, Arizona Daily Star reporter Tom Beal describes an article in Climatic Change Letters by Jeremy Weiss of UA, Overpeck and colleague Ben Strauss, in which they conclude that "If global temperatures continue to rise and polar ice continues to melt, 9 percent of the land in our coastal cities and towns will be beneath sea level by the end of the century."

Ref: Climate Data Challenges in the 21st Century, Jonathan T. Overpeck, Gerald A. Meehl, Sandrine Bony, and David R. Easterling, Science 11 February 2011: Vol. 331 no. 6018 pp. 700-702, DOI: 10.1126/science.1197869

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous9:22 AM

    See my comments on the sea level paper:
    Jonathan DuHamel