About - Earth Science & Climate Change

The warming of the earth's surface has highly adverse consequences for all life forms on the planet and is a global policy challenge. At the same time, local environmental degradation has more immediate impacts on social well-being and requires policy reforms.

The Earth Science and Climate Change Division has core competencies in environmental monitoring and modelling, impact assessment, and policy analysis. State-of-the-art air quality models have been used in the Division for suggesting measures to improve air quality at urban and regional scales. The group has also been active in advocating policies for clean and sustainable transport in the country. Energy–environment relationships in urban, industrial, and rural settings have received continued interest in a number of research studies that involved both quantitative modelling and participatory fi eld-based methods. Over the years, the Division has built expertise on establishing and assessing the environment–health linkages which have been instrumental in driving policies worldwide. In the context of climate change research, the Division focuses on climate modelling; impacts, vulnerability and adaptation assessment, policy analysis, climate change mitigation 17 Annual Report 2012–13 and greenhouse gas (GHG) inventorization, and capacity building and outreach as its key thrust areas. The climate modelling work is focused on addressing the gaps in understanding the timing and extent of the effects of climate change and developing a better understanding of climate variability and climate change at different spatial and temporal scales in an effort to effectively link climate science to policy research. It uses state-of-the-art global and regional climate models such as CCSM 3.0, CESM 1.0, GFS, and Met Office Unified Model (GCMs) and PRECIS, WRF and COAWST (regional coupled) (RCMs), to linking these regional climate projections to various Impact Assessment Models such as ADCIRC (for storm surge and coastal circulation), SWAT (for water resources), DSSAT (for agriculture), IBIS (for forestry), and DIVA (for coastal zones). It has a five TFLOP high-performance computing architecture which helps in performing these model simulations. The work on impacts and vulnerability assessments focuses on key sectors such as water, agriculture, and health through engagement with multi-stakeholders including policy-makers as well as local communities.

The research also focuses on various aspects of adaptation such as identifi cation, prioritization, monitoring and evaluation, and capacity-building for policy-makers and other stakeholders on different issues related to impacts, vulnerability assessment, and adaptation. The group also focuses on policy analysis and recommendations on climate change and sustainable development at national and international levels, including analysis and innovation for global climate policy negotiations from developing country perspectives on mitigation, adaptation, technology, and fi nance; analysis, recommendation, and consultancy on market mechanisms, including CDM and emerging new market mechanisms; generation and analysis of data on GHG emissions, including carbon footprinting; focused analysis, innovation, and consultancy on negotiating, designing, and implementing nationally appropriate mitigation actions (NAMAs); and focused analysis and innovation on climate fi nance at the national and international level.

The Division also gives importance to ecosystems and ecosystem services by focusing on emerging issues related to climate change and forests, as well as issues of longstanding interest, such as participatory natural resource management, natural resource economics, productivity enhancement, and biodiversity conservation and management.

The Division has been regularly carrying out capacity-building programmes for various stakeholders on different subjects such as air quality modelling, indoor air quality measurements, bio-statistics, etc. Recently, the Division has started extending its research and capacity-building activities to other developing countries and emerging economies, including a major e-learning programme on the science and policy of climate change. A strong research-based collaborative programme is already in place for Africa. A number of international collaborations with institutions of global repute have ensured that there is exchange of knowledge and expertise and strengthening of the core competencies within the Division.