Integrating Research on Climate Change and Hazards in the Americas
Recent disasters have drawn the world’s attention to the realities of a changing global climate, especially its implications toward increased extreme weather events, natural hazard risks, the impact of tsunamis on coastal areas, effects of sea level rise on biodiversity, rising vulnerability in rapidly growing urban areas, disaster preparation for hurricanes, drought and fire hazards and other critical issues. Public awareness has lately gained significant ground due to unfortunate high-profile catastrophes.
Meanwhile the scientific community has increasingly applied its knowledge and technologies to develop solutions to the problems caused by these events. Especially advanced geographic research and technologies, such as remote sensing, Geographic Information Systems (GIS), and Global Positioning Systems (GPS) have enabled new discoveries and complex modeling of how climate change may affect places differently, while Internet mapping and tools such as Google Earth have made information more accessible to teachers, students and lay learners. However, public understanding is still sorely lacking, the complexity and uncertainty of scientific realities continue to complicate education on the subject, and misconceptions persist within classrooms, boardrooms, and legislative arenas.
Our program has generated an integrated response from a multi-sectoral, interdisciplinary and international community of scholars and practitioners that will provide a working framework for greater numbers of current and future experts to work towards solutions in collaboration across the Americas.
Image credit: NASA