Climate Change Science Institute at ORNL

In recent months, ORNL Director Thom Mason and Deputy Lab Director Thomas Zacharia have talked about pulling all the laboratory’s climate-related resources together under an organizational umbrella to make it all work more effectively.
That has taken place with the formation of the Oak Ridge Climate Change Science Institute, directed by James Hack, with David Bader as deputy director.
Below is the internal announcement:

Date: September 11, 2009
To: Leadership Team, Level 2 and Level 3 Managers
From: Thomas E. Mason, 4500N, MS-6255 (576-2900)
Subject: Organizational Announcement

Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) has formed the Oak Ridge Climate Change Science Institute to develop, coordinate, and execute the programs of the Laboratory’s multi-agency, multi-disciplinary climate change research partnerships. Dr. James J. Hack, Director, and Dr. David C. Bader, Deputy Director, will lead the Institute in promoting and focusing our efforts in climate change science through greater integration across a wide range of disciplinary areas. ORNL efforts in climate change science
currently employ more than 100 staff members who will maintain their current organizational affiliations while supporting the Institute.
The Institute will carry out the following activities:
• Integrate scientific projects in modeling, observations, and experimentation with ORNL’s
powerful computational and informatics capabilities to answer some of the most pressing global change science questions
• Produce transparent and accessible quantitative scientific knowledge to address climate change consequences, mitigation actions, and the need for future societal adaptation
• Foster and enhance collaborations among scientists conducting research in Earth System Modeling (ESM), atmospheric and climate dynamics, algorithm and numerical methods research, biogeochemical cycles and ecosystem modeling, ecosystem dynamics, and data science.
Through the fusion of modeling, data, and observations, the Institute will explore complex questions such as the analysis of vulnerability and adaptability to climate change impacts and the effectiveness of options to mitigate future climate change.
At the core of the Institute is an earth system modeling enterprise that will apply the scientific capabilities of our staff and our leadership-class computational facilities to project future climates and provide the basis for assessing likely impacts, potential adaptations to changes in the environment, and the effectiveness of various mitigation options. ORNL data capabilities are a key enabling technology to enhance the ESM efforts. ORNL’s carbon cycle and ecosystem science programs will combine the
development and improvement of terrestrial land surface models with the deployment of new measurements and experiments to focus on the critical scientific gaps and uncertainties needed to improve the quality of global climate projections by using the most complete formulations for the terrestrial carbon cycle.
The broad scope of knowledge and expertise required to address the Earth system analysis problem dictates that the Institute establish collaborations with other national laboratories, federal agencies, and universities and research institutions engaged in this effort.

The memo was signed by Martin Keller, Associate Laboratory Director, Biological and Environmental Sciences; Jeffrey Nichols, Associate Laboratory Director, Computing and Computational Sciences; Deborah R. Stairs, Director, Human Resources; Thomas Zacharia, Deputy for Science and Technology; and Thomas E. Mason, Director.

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About Frank Munger

Senior Writer Frank Munger covers the Dept. of Energy's Oak Ridge facilities and many related topics — nuclear weapons, nuclear waste and other things nuclear, environmental cleanup and science of all sorts. Atomic City Underground is, first and foremost, a news blog, but there's room for analysis, opinion and random thoughts that have no place else to go.