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Study: Major return on investment from improving climate observations

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A well-designed climate observing system could help scientists answer knotty questions about climate while delivering trillions of dollars in benefits by providing decision makers information they need to protect public health and the economy in the coming decades, according to a new study published today.

The flip side is also true, said Elizabeth Weatherhead, a scientist at the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Studies (CIRES) at the University of Colorado Boulder in Boulder, Colorado and lead author of the new study. The cost of failing to invest in improving our ability to predict and plan for droughts, floods, extreme heat events, famine, sea level rise and changes in freshwater availability could reach hundreds of billions of dollars each year, according to the new study accepted for publication in Earth’s Future, a journal of the American Geophysical Union.

“Improving our understanding of climate not only offers large societal benefits but also significant economic returns,” Weatherhead said. “We’re not specifying which measurement or observing systems to target, we’re simply saying it’s a smart investment to address the most pressing societal needs.”…More

Article Category
Research Articles

Designing the Climate Observing System of the Future

Betsy Weatherhead, Bruce A. Wielicki, V. Ramaswamy, Mark Abbott, Thomas Ackerman, Robert Atlas, Guy Brasseur, Lori Bruhwiler, Antonio Busalacchi, James H. Butler, Christopher T. M. Clack, Roger Cooke, Lidia Cucurull, Sean Davis, Jason M. English, David W. Fahey, Steven S. Fine, Jeffrey K. Lazo, Shunlin Liang, Norman G. Loeb, Eric Rignot, Brian Soden, Diane Stanitski, Graeme Stephens, Byron Tapley, Anne M. Thompson, Kevin E. Trenberth, Donald Wuebbles
First Published:
| DOI:
10.1002/2017EF000627
Open Access

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