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Workshop Summaries

Facilitating Climate Change Responses: A Report of Two Workshops on Insights from the Social and Behavioral Sciences

The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, understanding the need for policy makers at the national level to entrain the behavioral and social sciences in addressing the challenges of global climate change, called on the National Research Council to organize two workshops to showcase some of the decision-relevant contributions that these sciences have already made and can advance with future efforts. The workshops focused on two broad areas: (1) mitigation (behavioral elements of a strategy to reduce the net future human influence on climate) and (2) adaptation (behavioral and social determinants of societal capacity to minimize the damage from climate changes that are not avoided).

Facilitating Climate Change Responses documents the information presented in the workshop presentations and discussions. This material illustrates some of the ways the behavioral and social sciences can contribute to the new era of climate research.

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Describing Socioeconomic Futures for Climate Change Research and Assessment: Report of a Workshop

The implications of climate change for the environment and society depend on the rate and magnitude of climate change, but also on changes in technology, economics, lifestyles, and policy that will affect the capacity both for limiting and adapting to climate change. Describing Socioeconomic Futures for Climate Change Research and Assessment reviews the state of science for considering socioeconomic changes over long time frames and clarifies definitions and concepts to facilitate communication across research communities. The book also explores driving forces and key uncertainties that will affect impacts, adaptation, vulnerability and mitigation in the future. Furthermore, it considers research needs and the elements of a strategy for describing socioeconomic and environmental futures for climate change research and assessment.

Describing Socioeconomic Futures for Climate Change Research and Assessment explores the current state of science in scenario development and application, asserting that while little attention has been given to preparing quantitative and narrative socioeconomic information, advances in computing capacity are making development of such probabilistic scenarios a reality. It also addresses a number of specific methodological challenges and opportunities and discusses opportunities for a next round of assessments.

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Frontiers in Understanding Climate Change and Polar Ecosystems: Summary of a Workshop

The polar regions are experiencing rapid changes in climate. These changes are causing observable ecological impacts of various types and degrees of severity at all ecosystem levels, including society. Even larger changes and more significant impacts are anticipated. As species respond to changing environments over time, their interactions with the physical world and other organisms can also change. This chain of interactions can trigger cascades of impacts throughout entire ecosystems. Evaluating the interrelated physical, chemical, biological, and societal components of polar ecosystems is essential to understanding their vulnerability and resilience to climate forcing.

The Polar Research Board (PRB) organized a workshop to address these issues. Experts gathered from a variety of disciplines with knowledge of both the Arctic and Antarctic regions. Participants were challenged to consider what is currently known about climate change and polar ecosystems and to identify the next big questions in the field. A set of interdisciplinary “frontier questions” emerged from the workshop discussions as important topics to be addressed in the coming decades. To begin to address these questions, workshop participants discussed the need for holistic, interdisciplinary systems approach to understanding polar ecosystem responses to climate change. As an outcome of the workshop, participants brainstormed methods and technologies that are crucial to advance the understanding of polar ecosystems and to promote the next generation of polar research. These include new and emerging technologies, sustained long-term observations, data synthesis and management, and data dissemination and outreach.

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Permanent link to this article: http://nas-sites.org/americasclimatechoices/other-reports-on-climate-change/workshop-summaries/


Linkages Between Arctic Warming and Mid-Latitude Weather Patterns

Read a summary and highlights of a 2013 workshop on the connections between Arctic warming and mid-latitude weather patterns, to discuss gaps in understanding, and to explore future research needs.

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