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When you see clouds moving across the sky, or feel the warmth of sunlight or a cool wind, you are experiencing the local weather, the immediate changing atmospheric dynamics and physics that impact our daily lives, ecosystems, and all life on planet Earth. Our daily weather can change rapidly, sometimes with extreme and hazardous results. Climate is the average of weather and it too is changing, but in ways that are now understood to be unprecedented due to the anthropogenic emission of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.
Understanding changes and improving the predictability of weather and climate from local to global scales requires observations over sufficiently long time periods, conceptual and numerical models, analysis of dynamics, pressure systems, cloud and radiation processes, and atmospheric trends, likelihoods, and probabilities.
Berkeley climate and weather researchers study atmospheric processes across a range of space and time scales. We work to better understand and quantify phenomena such as local fog occurrence, extreme heat, snowpack amount, and planetary radiation budgets and uncertainties. Many of us contribute scientific results to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, providing state, national, and international policymakers with the scientific basis needed for impact assessments and planning adaptation strategies.
Meteorology is a fascinating and diverse field, with growing opportunities. It helps to serve decision makers, and society in general, on how to prepare for future change. And regional weather and climate is where most socio-economic and ecologic impacts are realized — where the “rubber meets the road.”
Below are stories relating to weather and climate.
Máté Ádámkovics tells us about weather on Saturn and Titan.
On September 18, our talk was given by Prof. Tony Barnosky, and was entitled "Nature in the Hot Seat".
The reality of global warming means that nature as we know it--the species we love, the ecosystem services that sustain us, and the wild places where we seek solace--is under siege as never before. Besides adding its weight to other long-recognized ecological threats, global warming is impacting nature in ways previously unimagined and potentially lethal, not only to myriad species, but to entire ecosystems. Daunting as saving nature is under such circumstances, it well within our grasp if we act now to slow greenhouse gas emissions, and to implement new conservation philosophies and policies that recognize that we, and all other species, now live in a globally warming world.
The latest issue of the online magazine ScienceMatters@Berkeley has been published! It contains articles about the work done by Cal scientists to study how much carbon is in the ocean, how cells detect intruding bacteria, and why some twins aren't as identical as they look. Check out the latest issue here.
The latest issue of the online magazine ScienceMatters@Berkeley has been published! It contains articles about the work done by Cal scientists to study how California's landscape will change, ways to fill in gaps in historical climate data, and the use of viruses to fixed damaged genes in the eye. Check out the latest issue here.
Our talk on February 20, 2010 was given by Prof. John Harte from the Energy and Resources Group at UC Berkeley, and was entitled "Predicting Climate Change on a Green Planet: The Daunting Challenge".
Ecosystems and Climate are linked by feedback mechanisms that can hugely influence future global warming. Prof. Harte reviewed results from analysis of past climate change, from ongoing climate manipulations in ecosystems, and from observations of ecosystems along climate gradients, and showed that climate-ecosystem feedbacks are often large and positive. Because current IPCC projections do not include many of these feedbacks, future warming is likely to be considerably more intense than is currently anticipated. Unfortunately, there are huge gaps in our current understanding of future ecosystem responses to global warming, and therefore in our understanding of climate change itself.
These Cal scientists are striving to understand the complex behavior of the Earth's climate.
UC Berkeley is committed to reducing its impact on the climate and to helping you do the same.
What's the latest in climate research?
The Climate Gap: Climate Change and America's Poor. A new study from UC Berkeley has found that low-income communities and people of color in the United States will suffer the most from the health and economic consequences of rising global temperatures. (July 2009; image: Flickr user HB Art (cc: by-nc-sa))
If you'd like to learn more about the current state of climate science, you should take a look at what the Lawrence Hall of Science has to offer. One online exhibit, Global Warming: Is the Science Settled Enough for Policy?, examines this complex question with climatologist Stephen Schneider, using the Science on a Sphere® visualization system.
The world's climate is changing and California is now being affected in both dramatic and subtle ways. Watch the KQED QUEST episode here.