National Science Foundation releases comprehensive report on global impacts of climate change

May 14, 2009

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has released a report on global climate change, entitled "Solving the Puzzle: Researching the Impacts of Climate Change around the World," that describes how, over nearly 60 years, NSF-funded researchers have found signs of a changing climate in nearly every corner of the globe, from the icy expanses of Earth's polar regions to its equatorial ecosystems.

Climate change research and education has been identified as a Presidential priority area for NSF, and the report's release coincides with the recent announcement of the President's fiscal year 2010 budget for NSF, which includes an increase of approximately $250 million for climate research, which would double NSF's investment in climate research.

The report explores the contributions and on-going activities of NSF-funded researchers in science and engineering fields including ecology, glaciology, atmospheric science, behavioral science, and economics. The report addresses the climate change "puzzle" piecewise--devoting chapters to the sky, sea, ice, land, life and people components of Earth's climate system.

Each chapter includes research highlights that capture the findings of several NSF-funded investigators, from those who have discovered new evidence of Earth's changing climate, to others who have developed cutting-edge approaches for reducing the human influence on Earth's climate, in research areas such as alternative energy and economics.

NSF-funded researchers have revolutionized the way we understand the Earth system as a whole because they've reached across disciplinary boundaries to study questions that extend beyond any one field of science or engineering. Because of the complexity of Earth's climate, this research involves contributions from nearly every field of science, math and engineering.

NSF has also launched a Foundation-wide Climate Change Education program aimed at improving K-12 to graduate education in climate change science and increasing the public's understanding of climate change and its consequences.

These new investments build on the long history of world-class research and education efforts described in the report.

The report was published by NSF's Office of Legislative and Public Affairs. The online version can be found at A PDF version of the report is available at

National Science Foundation

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