Cluster Hires Winter 2008

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Cluster Hires Winter 2008

Description of Cluster Hire Initiative


Physical Climate

The publication of the IPCC Report in 2007 and the subsequent infiltration of this report through the nation and world will fundamentally change the role of scientific investigation of the climate. Climate information will be in greater demand by many elements of society. It will be imperative for scientists to adapt to this new reality - a reality that is evolving. There will be a more definitive split in scientific research. This split will be into research to investigate the basic understanding of climate change and scientific investigations to serve questions raised by other communities.

The department in partnership with other departments needs to complement the existing capabilities to represent the physical climate system. Within AOSS the atmospheric capability is strong, and ocean is represented only by the interests of J. Boyd. Atmospheric chemistry and biogeochemisty is strong. There are oceanographic interests in other departments, but we are not well integrated to address, collectively, coupled problems of climate change. The cryosphere is not represented, and there will be much activity in cryospheric science in the next 5 years. (In 2006 we interviewed a land-ice researcher. He was highly rated, but we decided that we would be placing him in isolation if we were to hire him.) Land-use and atmospheric-land interactions is not adequately represented.

Two strategic elements

  1. Strengthen the relationship with Geology, and hire researchers in cryospheric and oceanographic sciences.
  1. Recognizing that weather is the interface of climate with day-to-day world, hire researchers in regional weather-climate and atmosphere-land surface interactions.

The specifics of the position are to be determined after consideration of the issues below.

Response and Adaptation to Climate Change

The definitive nature and acceptance of the IPCC report will fundamentally change the scientific investigation of climate. There will be demands for climate information for adaptation. There will be a need to carry out experiments to investigate strategies for global geo-engineering. There will be diverse demands on weather and climate data from fields such a public health, agriculture, energy. Direct relationships of weather and climate information to policy is less direct, but important. We need to position ourselves with the ability to perform research in weather and climate, and the ability to integrate their research with other fields as both collaborators and leads on applied research topics.

The culture of climate science will shift away from physical science to the use of knowledge from physical science-based investigation by other fields. It will be necessary for the physical scientist to think of providing the best climate knowledge, climate information at any particular time, for a particular application. We have the opportunity to be leaders here.

The following specific topics are proposed as of potential interest:

  • Regional climate and regional climate change (esp. Great Lakes?)
    • Water resources
      • Energy
      • Agriculture
      • Fisheries
      • Ecosystems
      • Human consumption
    • Environmental Impact
      • Water engineering projects
      • Alternative energy
        • Hydroelectric
        • Wind farms
        • Ethanol (biofuels) and land-use
      • Coal-fired electicity
        • Air quality and public health
        • Cost of coal emissions


  • Weather and climate
    • Extreme weather and drought and floods
    • Changes in dynamics and predictability in warm-wet atmosphere
  • Adaptation to climate change
    • Water for energy
    • Impact of changing snow cover
    • Water management (drought-flood) cycles
  • Climate change and public health
    • Heat waves
    • Air quality
  • Global geo-engineering