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Grand challenges in climate research

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Published in Frontiers in Environmental Science. 2013, vol. 1
Abstract Despite large scientific progress in the last two decades, many domains of uncertainty still remain as to the functioning of the climate system. The reduction of these uncertainties would be unlikely to radically change the fairly robust conclusion that contemporary climate change is to a significant degree driven by anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases. However, furthering our understanding of climate- relevant processes would improve not only the predictive capability of climate models at space and time scales useful to decision- making, but also help reduce criticisms when communicating on climate issues. The outstanding issues that need continued scientific focus are today collectively termed as “grand challenges,” since many of these issues have been addressed over many years by many research teams, but still have large uncertainties associated with them. The World Climate Research Program (WCRP), one of the flagship domains of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) has identified a number of these challenges that are currently receiving enhanced scientific attention that will be outlined in the next section. Indeed, the CLIVAR (Climate predictability and variability) program of the WCRP has proposed the definition that “A Grand Challenge is both highly specific and highly focused identifying a specific barrier preventing progress in a critical area of climate science.” In addition to the fundamental science issues identified by the WCRP, two further issues are identified as grand challenges in this paper, namely those associated improved communication of science, and those linked to access to environmental and socio- economic data for research purposes.
Keywords Regional climate modelingCloud processesSea level riseCryosphere and climateCommunicating on climate issues
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Research groups Climatologie
ISE Pôle Sciences
ISE Climat
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BENISTON, Martin. Grand challenges in climate research. In: Frontiers in Environmental Science, 2013, vol. 1. https://archive-ouverte.unige.ch/unige:31019

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Deposited on : 2013-11-13

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