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New commentary published: Climate research must sharpen its view

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A new commentary in Nature Climate Change calls on the climate research community to sharpen its focus on the fundamental questions that will need to be answered for societies to successfully respond to the challenges posed by anthropogenic climate change. The commentary is the result of a workshop organized by the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP), followed by a side event co-organized by the International Council for Science (ICSU) at COP22 in November 2016.

In the paper, the authors argue that the challenges ahead can be encapsulated in a few simple yet powerful questions:

  • Where does the carbon go?
  • How does the weather change with climate?
  • How does climate influence the habitability of the Earth and its regions?

Even though these questions sound simple, they pose profound scientific challenges, the authors say. At the same time, they point to what societies need to know to be able to make informed decisions about what is ahead.

The commentary is the result of a process started by a WCRP workshop that brought together a group of climate scientists to explore the future frontiers of climate research. This was followed by a side event convened on the opening day of COP22 by the International Council for Science in partnership with the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR), the Inter-American Institute for Global Change Research (IAI), the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP), and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Working Group I. The aim of the side event was to identify key pressing issues in fundamental climate research following the Paris Agreement.

To read the full commentary, please go here.

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