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World in Dire Need of Climate Change Preparedness Research, Scientists Warn

Nov 08, 2013 12:50 PM EST

Greater research needs to be done in order to help people everywhere adjust to the changes global warming has and will continue to unfold, researchers writing in the journal Science argue.

The new article serves as an outline for such research, offering suggestions and measures that ought to be taken in order to ensure the public is as prepared as possible for a shifting global climate. 

In particular, the report outlines four main challenges in preparing for climate change. These include: understanding the information necessary to make decisions about climate change adaption, identifying vulnerabilities such as the economy or environment, improving forecasts and climate models, and providing adaptation-related technology, policies and management.

"Adapting to an evolving climate is going to be required in every sector of society, in every region of the globe. We need to get going, to provide integrated science if we are going to meet the challenge," co-author Richard Moss of the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) said in a statement.

Starting with who and what are most vulnerable to change, and integrating efforts across a wide variety of disciplines, such as social and climate science and engineering, are both necessary if the world hopes to mitigate the effects of climate change as effectively as possible, according to the researchers.

"Science for adaptation starts with understanding decision-making processes and information needs, determining where the vulnerabilities are, and then moves to climate modeling," Moss said. "A final step tracks whether adaptation is effective."

Moss points to a collaboration between US water utilities, university scientists, and private firms in order to develop more resilient water systems as evidence of what needs to happen throughout the world.

"This research is motivated by a practical challenge, ensuring reliable water supplies. Among the scientific advances that will be required is better integration of weather and climate models to improve decadal climate information to help people plan," Moss said. "We will make a virtue of necessity."

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