Report: Consensus Needed in Climate-Change Research Practices

(CN) – While the existence of global warming is clear, researchers urged scientists Thursday to address inconsistencies in how evidence of climate change is collected and used to inform projections.

To help standardize climate change research efforts and methods, as well as potentially stimulate action, a special issue of the journal Advances in Atmospheric Sciences highlights recent scientific work.

“Our understanding of Arctic-midlatitude linkages is still at a pre-consensus stage. It is important, therefore, to bring together the latest research results,” said Thomas Jung, co-author of the issue’s preface and a professor of climate dynamics at the Helmholtz Center for Polar and Marine Research at the Alfred Wegener Institute.

The issue examines how changes in the Arctic affect mid-latitude regions, which sandwich the equator and are capped by Earth’s poles. The regions include Europe, much of North America, North Africa and most of Asia.

Increased near-surface temperatures and considerably decreased sea ice in the Arctic are scientifically proven. However, the connection between these changes and extreme weather and climate events in the mid-latitudes remains unclear.

“The results published in the journal further present where divergence occurs,” lead editor of the special issue and preface co-author Xiangdong Zhang, a professor at the International Arctic Research Center at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, said.

The issue includes research that incorporates larger data sample sizes, focusing on regional linkages.

The issue features observational findings and modeling work on the issues associated with Arctic-Eurasian climate links. However, the results do not clarify the connection.

Areas of progress in the new research include the incorporation of different prediction models, a larger data sample size – aided by coupled model simulations – and greater focus on regional climate correlations, according to Zhang. The entire Northern Hemisphere was analyzed, rather than distinct areas.

“An important aspect of this special issue is that the problem is considered from different perspectives, including weather prediction,” said Jung, who also chairs the Year of Polar Prediction. The global initiative, under the direction of the World Weather Research Program, seeks to stimulate collaborative research that will produce better climate and weather predictions.

“The research presented in this special issue was carried out during what we call the preparation phase of the Year of Polar Prediction,” Jung said. “It will have a significant influence on the research activities during the core phase, which started in May of this year and will run until June 2019.”


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