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The role of targeted climate research at the IRI

Lyon, Bradfield; Giannini, Alessandra; Gonzalez, Paula Leticia Manuela; Robertson, Andrew W.

Advances in our fundamental understanding of the physical climate system provided the necessary scientific underpinnings for the routine production of reliable seasonal climate forecasts and ultimately, the birth of the International Research Institute for Climate and Society (IRI). While recognizing that the successful adoption of climate information into various decision-making settings requires an iterative approach between the developers and users of that information, since its inception the IRI has also recognized the critical role of basic climate research in generating new climate knowledge. Given its mission, such basic research targets specific regions and questions that are framed by practical considerations of how climate variations are impacting, or may impact, various sectors of society. Analogous to its role in underpinning the development of seasonal forecasts, an enhanced understanding of relevant aspects of the physical climate is viewed as a critical input to the larger process of developing effective strategies for the management of climate-related risks. Here, four examples of targeted climate research undertaken at the IRI are presented covering a range of time scales, from sub-seasonal variability to long-term climate trends. A diverse set of geographic locations is considered, which includes the Sahel, southeastern South America, the Philippines and Indonesia. These four examples were selected to indicate
the broad range of use-inspired basic research questions that have been addressed in regions where the IRI is engaged in a broader set of activities to develop actionable climate information. While many institutions are engaged in basic climate research, having the expertise and capacity to do so within the IRI provides it with the necessary flexibility to target its work towards specific climate-related questions in specific regions of the world.


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Earth Perspectives

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