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Advancing the Science of Climate Change

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This title is part of the America's Climate Change project, the National Research Council's most comprehensive study of climate change to date.

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Climate change is occurring, is caused largely by human activities, and poses significant risks for--and in many cases is already affecting--a broad range of human and natural systems. The compelling case for these conclusions is provided in Advancing the Science of Climate Change, part of a congressionally requested suite of studies known as America's Climate Choices. While noting that there is always more to learn and that the scientific process is never closed, the book shows that hypotheses about climate change are supported by multiple lines of evidence and have stood firm in the face of serious debate and careful evaluation of alternative explanations.

As decision makers respond to these risks, the nation's scientific enterprise can contribute through research that improves understanding of the causes and consequences of climate change and also is useful to decision makers at the local, regional, national, and international levels. The book identifies decisions being made in 12 sectors, ranging from agriculture to transportation, to identify decisions being made in response to climate change.

Advancing the Science of Climate Change calls for a single federal entity or program to coordinate a national, multidisciplinary research effort aimed at improving both understanding and responses to climate change. Seven cross-cutting research themes are identified to support this scientific enterprise. In addition, leaders of federal climate research should redouble efforts to deploy a comprehensive climate observing system, improve climate models and other analytical tools, invest in human capital, and improve linkages between research and decisions by forming partnerships with action-oriented programs.


Suggested Citation

National Research Council. 2010. Advancing the Science of Climate Change. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.

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Publication Info

526 pages |7 x 10
  • Paperback: 978-0-309-14588-6
  • Ebook: 978-0-309-15592-2

Table of Contents

skim chapter
Front Matter i-xxii
Summary 1-16
Part I 17-18
1 Introduction: Science for Understanding and Responding to Climate Change 19-26
2 What We Know About Climate Change and Its Interactions with People and Ecosystems 27-82
3 A New Era of Climate Change Research 83-90
4 Integrative Themes for Climate Change Research 91-150
5 Recommendations for Meeting the Challenge of Climate Change Research 151-180
Part II: Technical Chapters 181-182
6 Changes in the Climate System 183-234
7 Sea Level Rise and the Coastal Environment 235-256
8 Freshwater Resources 257-270
9 Ecosystems, Ecosystem Services, and Biodiversity 271-290
10 Agriculture, Fisheries, and Food Production 291-308
11 Public Health 309-322
12 Cities and the Built Environment 323-332
13 Transportation 333-348
14 Energy Supply and Use 349-376
15 Solar Radiation Management 377-388
16 National and Human Security 389-400
17 Designing, Implementing, and Evaluating Climate Policies 401-420
References 421-474
Appendix A: America's Climate Choices: Membership Lists 475-478
Appendix B: Panel on Advancing the Science of Climate Change: Statement of Task 479-480
Appendix C: Panel on Advancing the Science of Climate Change: Biographical Sketches 481-490
Appendix D: Uncertainty Terminology 491-492
Appendix E: The United States Global Change Research Program 493-496
Appendix F: Geoengineering Options to Respond to Climate Change: Steps to Establish a Research Agenda 497-500
Appendix G: Acronyms and Initialisms 501-504



Climate Change: Lines of Evidence

This video follows Part 1 of the booklet, Climate Change: Evidence, Impacts, and Choices. It explains the current scientific consensus about the causes of climate change.


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