Climate Change and Sustainability: Connecting Atmospheric, Ocean and Climate Science with Public Literacy

By Batteen, Mary Louise; Stanton, Timothy Peter et al. | Forum on Public Policy: A Journal of the Oxford Round Table, Summer 2008 | Go to article overview

Climate Change and Sustainability: Connecting Atmospheric, Ocean and Climate Science with Public Literacy


Batteen, Mary Louise, Stanton, Timothy Peter, Maslowski, Wieslaw, Forum on Public Policy: A Journal of the Oxford Round Table


Introduction

Climate has changed throughout Earth's history, sometimes slowly, sometimes abruptly. An example of a slow change is a movement of tectonic plates, while an example of an abrupt change is a volcanic eruption. Organisms have either adapted to the changes or have ceased to exist. From a human perspective, climate change can profoundly influence civilization. In particular, climate can play a key factor in whether societies thrive or perish. To make responsible decisions about adaptations to climate change including sustainability, the public must understand the operation of climate and causes and effects of its change. This understanding can result in building sustainable communities and societies that are resilient to both natural and human-caused climate changes

The trouble with gaining this understanding is two-fold involving a scientific and a public perspective. Let us address the scientific perspective first.

From a scientific perspective, the dynamics of coupled atmosphere, ocean and climate processes responsible for climate change are complex and are still being systematically investigated. Besides the complexity of coupled interactions between the atmosphere, ocean, ice and land, which can lead to climate change, there is the complexity of understanding the dynamic role of each of the above climate components. For example, the role of the ocean in climate change has become recognized as an increasingly important element of climate research since at least the 1980s (e.g., Batteen, 1984). What gives the oceans the potential for exerting a strong influence on climate and its variations is the large heat capacity, coupled with the global redistribution of heat and other properties by ocean currents acting over time scales much longer (i.e., years or decades compared to days or weeks) than atmospheric processes. An added complexity is that ocean eddies (e.g., Gulf Stream rings) could be important mechanisms for transporting heat. As a result, the role of ocean eddies in climate is also becoming an increasingly important element of climate research.

To allow the systematic exploration of the contribution by eddies to the ocean heat transport and also the effect of eddies on the ocean general circulation, eddy resolving ocean numerical models have been suggested as appropriate tools for the investigation of the ocean's role in climate since the late 1970s (e.g., Holland, 1978; Batteen, 1984). Due to computational limitations, however, eddy-resolving three-dimensional ocean models have usually been restricted to regional scales while global ocean models have usually been coarse, non-eddy-resolving models. Note that eddy-resolving, near-global models have become more common since the 1990s (e.g., Semtner and Chervin, 1992). Furthermore, the global ocean models may or may not include the polar regions such as the Arctic Ocean.

As a result, global ocean models either are not eddy-resolving or do not include the two polar regions. Due to the vast expanse of the ocean, there also remain limited direct field observations so that complex processes such as air-sea interaction remain poorly understood. Analysis and subsequent understanding of field observations play a big role contributing to significant improvements in climate models. As a result, the dynamics of ocean processes as well as coupled atmosphere, ocean and ice processes responsible for climate change remain challenging for models and continue to be systematically investigated with both numerical models and field observations.

Besides the scientific perspective on climate change, there is the public perspective. In particular, one needs to learn enough about climate change and processes driving its change to ensure human life remains sustainable. As a result atmospheric, ocean and climate literacy programs that can connect the science with the public are necessary to help close the gap between science and the general population. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Climate Change and Sustainability: Connecting Atmospheric, Ocean and Climate Science with Public Literacy
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.