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Environment

Predicting Impacts Of Climate Change

by Britt E. Erickson
March 29, 2010 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 88, ISSUE 13

NSF, the Department of Energy, and USDA have joined forces to fund a research initiative aimed at producing the next-generation computer models for predicting the impacts of climate change on society. The $50 million-per-year grant program will fund projects that create models that predict climate-change effects over shorter time frames and at more localized geographic scales than previously possible. The program, called Decadal & Regional Climate Prediction Using Earth System Models, is intended to yield predictions that will help policymakers develop strategies for adapting to climate change at the regional level over the next 10 to 20 years. In fiscal 2010, NSF will provide about $30 million, DOE about $10 million, and USDA about $9 million for the program. Each agency will contribute funds to specific areas. For example, NSF is interested in predicting how living systems will respond and adapt to climate change. DOE is interested in resolving uncertainty associated with the indirect effects of aerosols and clouds. USDA is looking for models that can predict the effects of climate change on the production of food and renewable biofuels.

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