Research in ISSE is concerned with society-environment interactions and with making the outcomes of our science useful to society. Our research activities and projects are grouped into the five broad multidisciplinary themes listed below. Follow the links to each theme to learn about current research projects in ISSE. (To find older projects, you can search or browse the project archives.)

ISSE Research Themes

I. Assessment Methods, Products and Tools

Development of new methods and tools for climate and weather impacts assessment builds bridges between NCAR's geophysical sciences and impacts research, and facilitates dialogue between academics and practitioners. Climate scenario development, statistical and GIS methods, and simulation tools - all are actively developed and deployed by ISSE's staff and collaborators.

II. Climate-Ecosystem-Human Interactions

Climate, ecosystems, and human society interact in complex ways. ISSE scientists are researching these interactions, to improve projections of future impacts of climate on ecosystems and natural resources (e.g., agriculture, water resources, coral reefs, fisheries, human health), and to help develop effective, forward-looking management strategies.

III. Use of Scientific Information in Decision Processes

ISSE's research bridges the gap between atmospheric and related sciences and societal decisions, by examining how scientific information is used, and how policy and management decisions are made with uncertain or incomplete information. ISSE contributes valuable insights on when, where, and how science can best be part of societal decisions.

IV. Vulnerability, Adaptation, Thresholds and Resilience

With the ultimate goal to enhance society's capacity to develop more resilient, sustainable systems, ISSE's research involves improving our understanding of social and resource systems vulnerabilities to weather events and climate change, investigating thresholds and coping ranges, and helping to determine and develop adaptation strategies. In fact, much of our research on decision-making is concerned with adaptation to weather and climate.

V. Integrated Science and Regional Applications

Regional applications require weather and climate science to be completely integrated with impacts research and decision-making, often in the new perspective of bottom-up, or user-driven, studies. ISSE scientists working on regional scales integrate fundamental research from other ISSE themes, producing integrated assessments, characterizing uncertainty, translating global climate impacts to regional environments, and producing scientific results that better respond to societal needs.

"A central lesson of science is that to understand complex issues (or even simple ones), we must try to free our minds of dogma and to guarantee the freedom to publish, to contradict, and to experiment. Arguments from authority are unacceptable."
Carl Sagan