Sparked by the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize that was shared by Al Gore and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the reality of global warming finally got through to the majority of the world’s population. Most people think of climate change as something that occurs only gradually, however, with average temperature changing two or three degrees Celsius over a century or more; this is the rate at which ‘forcing’ mechanisms operate, such as the accumulation of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere due to the burning of fossil fuels or widespread changes in land use.
…Collins, who heads the Climate Science Department in ESD, is the principal investigator for IMPACTS, which will bring together the work of experts in physical, chemical, and biogeochemical climate processes and in computer simulations of the whole Earth system. Argonne, Los Alamos, Lawrence Berkeley, Lawrence Livermore,
…Collins coordinated the development of the most recent version of the Community Climate System Model (CCSM), one of the leading models underpinning the physical science basis of the IPCC’s 2007 climate change assessment; the IMPACTS program will be based on CCSM and will add new capabilities and new diagnostics for processes that could initiate abrupt climate change. CCSM, called by Science magazine “the nation’s foremost academic global climate model,” has long been supported by both DOE and the National Science Foundation.
…The IMPACTS team will initially focus on four types of ACC:
1) instability among marine ice sheets, particularly the West Antarctic ice sheet;
2) positive feedback mechanisms in subarctic forests and arctic ecosystems, leading to rapid methane release or large-scale changes in the surface energy balance;
3) destabilization of methane hydrates (vast deposits of methane gas caged in water ice), particularly in the
4) feedback between biosphere and atmosphere that could lead to megadroughts in