Welcome to the AMS Policy Program's memo project. Here you can find brief introductions (no more than 2 pages) to key topics in weather, water, and climate. The views expressed are those of the author alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of the American Meteorological Society, its members, or sponsors.
- The Dangers and Consequences of Climate Change
The consequences to people from climate change have four overarching characteristics: 1) the consequences are already occurring and will almost certainly get worse; 2) larger and faster climate changes have greater consequences; 3) very serious and catastrophic consequences are more likely than most realize; and 4) we could respond in ways that lessen the consequences and broadly benefit people by reducing the amount and speed of climate change, and/or by improving people's ability to deal with unavoidable impacts.
These four overarching characteristics of the consequences to people from climate change are well-established, unlikely to change with any additional information, and could inform decision-making on the issue.
- Options to Reduce the Consequences of Climate Change
Options to reduce the consequences of climate change generally fall into four broad categories: 1) mitigation—efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions; 2) adaptation—increasing society’s capacity to cope with changes in climate; 3) geoengineering or Earth manipulation—additional, deliberate intervention in the Earth system that tries to counteract some of the impacts of greenhouse gas emissions; and 4) pursuit of additional knowledge—efforts to understand more about the climate system, our impact on it, the consequences, or the response options themselves.
- How Trustworthy Are Scientific Assessments of Climate Change?
Scientific evidence relating to the climate system and the impact that people might be having on it spans dozens of fields of study and includes work from tens of thousands of individual scientists. The evidence comes from decades of intensive research and is based on observations, field and laboratory experiments, and model simulations.
This memo considers best practices in the assessment process, compares best practices with recent high-profile climate assessments, and identifies overarching scientific conclusions.
- Water and the Coasts: Opportunity, Vulnerability, and Risk Management
Water is simultaneously a resource and a threat. It is centrally important to every aspect of socioeconomic wellbeing and water becomes a hazard when there is too much, too little, or if the quality is poor. The opportunities and challenges posed by water are especially acute at the coasts, which are both major resources and often highly vulnerable to extreme events. Coastal communities are also particularly sensitive to changes in land use, population distributions, and climate. This memo identifies seven ways to enhance coastal risk management.
- The Radio Frequency Spectrum and Weather, Water, and Climate: Uses and Challenges
The weather, water, and climate community relies on the radio frequency spectrum for two vital functions: (1) to observe the earth (e.g., with satellites, weather radars, and wind profilers) and (2) to transmit data about the earth system to meteorologists, hydrologists, emergency managers, and other scientists throughout the country. These uses of radio frequencies benefit a wide range of social and economic sectors by supporting operational services that protect life and property and by helping advance scientific understanding of the earth system.
- Earth Observations, Science, and Services
Earth observations, science, and services (Earth OSS) inform and guide the activities of virtually all economic sectors and innumerable institutions underlying modern civilization. This AMS Policy Program memo describes Earth OSS and illustrates how Earth OSS are a fundamental component of efforts to meet basic human needs including food, shelter, energy, health and safety. At the same time, the opportunities for societal benefit from Earth OSS are increasing.
- Climate Change–The Basics
As a public issue, climate change boils down to four overarching findings: 1) climate is changing, 2) people are causing climate to change, 3) human caused climate change poses serious risks to society, and 4) we have numerous options for managing climate change risks.