Research Activities

The list below summarizes current research projects undertaken by NCAR's Climate and Global Dynamics Laboratory (CGD) that integrate research on human and earth systems. These projects include work on crop modeling, tropical cyclone damages, decadal climate variability, urban heat risks, wildfire, regional impacts and adaptation, and spatial population and urban growth modeling. 

Click on the heading for a project to be taken to that project's page to learn more. To add or update information on a project, email Emily Laidlaw.

Crop Modeling in the Community Land Model

Contact: Peter Lawrence

The CLM crop model was developed to improve the fully coupled simulations of the Community Earth System Model (CESM1) and to help begin answering questions about changes in food, energy, and water resources in response to changes in climate, environmental conditions, and land use within the CESM modeling framework.

Damages from Tropical Cyclones

Contact: Andrew Gettelman

NCAR researchers are collaborating with researchers at ETH in Zürich to estimate the economic impact of tropical cyclones using NCAR's Community Earth System Model (CESM) climate model and a tropical cyclone damage model. This work accounts for the effects of both climate change and the built environment using high resolution climate models and a detailed model of damages to the built environment.

Ecological and Societal Impacts of Decadal Climate Variability

Contact: Gokhan Danabasoglu

A NSF EaSM II project led by Gokhan Danabasoglu on decadal climate variability includes investigations of ecological and societal impacts of near-term variability. The studies make use of decadal prediction (DP) simulations performed using the Community Earth System Model (CESM1), including a recent set of DPs with biogeochemistry (BGC) enabled in the ocean component.

Global Water Cycling

Contact: Kevin Trenberth

The Global Water and Energy Exchanges (GEWEX) Project is an international scientific project focusing on all aspects of water, and its overarching science questions include how changes in land surface and hydrology may influence changes in water availability and security.

Heat Risks in Urban Areas

Contact: Keith Oleson

Extreme heat is a leading cause of weather-related human mortality in the United States and in many countries worldwide. Vulnerability to extreme heat is amplified in large cities due to the urban heat island effect and socioeconomic diversity. Several NCAR-led projects have focused on understanding extreme heat, human health, and urban vulnerability in present and future climates.

Human Dimensions of NCAR's Community Land Model

Contact: Keith Oleson

NCAR's Community Land Model (CLM) addresses several aspects that enable the study of two-way interactions between human activities at the land surface and climate including land cover/land use change, agricultural practices, and urbanization. Learn more about this work.

Modeling Wildfire

Contact: Leiwen Jiang

A global fire model in the Community Land Model (CLM) has been developed to quantify and understand the interactions among fire, climate, vegetation, human activities, and the carbon cycle. The fire model, when coupled to the Community Earth System Model (CESM), also represents the interaction between fire and atmosphere chemistry/aerosols.

Regional Impacts and Adaptation in Agriculture and Urban Systems

Contact: Brian O'Neill

An NSF EaSM 2 project led by Brian O’Neill is developing new linkages between human and earth system models to investigate possible climate change impacts in China, India, and Brazil. The study is focusing on impacts in agriculture, forests, and urban areas, and will also evaluate possible adaptation options.

Societal Impacts and Emissions Pathways

Contact: Brian O'Neill

The Integrated Assessment Modeling (IAM) group, within the Climate and Global Dynamics Laboratory at NCAR, develops and applies integrated models of human and earth systems to help understand how key aspects of society may evolve in the future and how they might interact with a changing climate.

Spatial Population and Urban Growth Modeling

Contact: Brian O'Neill

New methods and projections are being developed to anticipate possible future changes in the spatial distribution of both population density and of urban land cover. These spatial development patterns are determinants of both vulnerability to impacts as well as to emissions and land use.