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DOE grant joins climate modeling with local, regional empirical data
Date:2/24/2011

Local and regional researchers collect large amounts of high quality data on climate change and its effects, but the researchers that create the economic and climate models do not always have access to this information. Now, thanks to a $2 million grant from the Department of Energy, the on-the-ground information will get to the modelers through the Penn State Institutes of Energy and the Environment.

The DOE-funded project, led by Karen Fisher-Vanden, associate professor of environmental and resource economics, seeks to bring empirical analysts and modelers together to improve the empirical underpinnings of models used in climate change policy analysis. Fisher-Vanden will create an integrated assessment modeling research program for interdisciplinary collaboration.

"Our goal is to devise a way to bring these two communities together, recognizing that the reason why we lack model-relevant empirical work is because this type of work has not been rewarded historically in the journal publication world, especially in the area of climate change impacts and adaptation," said Fisher-Vanden. "The purpose of this research is to identify and exploit synergies between empirical and modeling analyses in five key areas by bringing applied empirical researchers in the natural and social sciences together with modelers through joint research and workshops that foster communication and cross-fertilization of ideas between the two groups."

The five major scientific challenges the program will address are science and technology, impacts and adaptation, regional scale integrated assessment modeling, key intersecting energy-relevant systems and uncertainty.

It is important to understand and communicate the uncertainties in the model predictions for climate change and its impacts, according to Chris Forest, associate professor of meteorology.

"These uncertainties must be grounded in observational data and be incorporated into the models,
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Contact: A'ndrea Elyse Messer
aem1@psu.edu
814-865-9481
Penn State
Source:Eurekalert

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