Tag Archives: earth and life sciences

Happy National Teacher’s Day!

To celebrate National Education Week, we created a list of recommended books and resources to teach climate change. Check out these top titles from NAP, climate change videos, and information from the Division on Earth and Life Studies. Continue reading

Sharing Water: Making Decisions About Sustainable Water Management

Water: we need it every day, and use it in countless ways. As the world enters the second decade of the 21st century, the human community finds itself searching for new paradigms for water supply and management in response to expanding populations, sprawling development, climate change, and the limits of existing conventional supplies.

The following websites, video, and NAP reports present the issues and problems we face to make water available both now and in the future. Continue reading

Scientific Opportunities in Antarctica: Risks and Benefits of Exploration

Exploration of Antarctica has been in the news recently, as a rescue effort is underway to reach a Russian research vessel trapped in ice. Covering nearly 14 million km² (an area approximately 1.4 times the size of the United States), Antarctica is the coldest, driest, highest, and windiest continent on Earth. While it is challenging to live and work in this extreme environment, this region offers many opportunities for scientific research. The Polar Research Board of the National Research Council has produced a number of reports about exploration of this region. These books discuss environmental and scientific protection standards needed to responsibly explore this unique environment and suggest important areas of research for the United States to achieve success for the next generation of Antarctic and Southern Ocean science. All are free to download.

Exploration of Antarctic Subglacial Aquatic Environments

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Exploration of Antarctic Subglacial Aquatic Environments: Environmental and Scientific Stewardship162 pages | Paperback | Price: $34.42Antarctica is renowned for its extreme cold; yet surprisingly, radar measurements have revealed a vast network of lakes, rivers, and streams several kilometers beneath the Antarctic ice sheet. Sealed from Earth’s atmosphere for millions of years, they may… [more]

Future Science Opportunities in Antarctica and the Southern Ocean

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Future Science Opportunities in Antarctica and the Southern Ocean230 pages | Paperback | Price: $45.00Antarctica and the surrounding Southern Ocean remains one of the world’s last frontiers. Covering nearly 14 million km² (an area approximately 1.4 times the size of the United States), Antarctica is the coldest, driest, highest, and windiest continent on… [more]

Frontiers in Understanding Climate Change and Polar Ecosystems

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Frontiers in Understanding Climate Change and Polar Ecosystems: Summary of a Workshop86 pages | Paperback | Price: $18.90The polar regions are experiencing rapid changes in climate. These changes are causing observable ecological impacts of various types and degrees of severity at all ecosystem levels, including society. Even larger changes and more significant impacts are… [more]

Antarctica

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Antarctica: A Keystone in a Changing World164 pages | Hardcover | Price: $34.20Antarctica is the center from which all surrounding continental bodies separated millions of years ago. Antarctica: A Keystone in a Changing World, reinforces the importance of continual changes in the country’s history and the impact of these… [more]

Frontiers in Polar Biology in the Genomics Era

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Frontiers in Polar Biology in the Genomics Era186 pages | Paperback | Price: $35.10As we enter the twenty-first century, the polar biological sciences stand well poised to address numerous important issues, many of which were unrecognized as little as 10 years ago. From the effects of global warming on polar organisms to the potential for life… [more]

Climate Change Resources

A report released today from the National Research Council reiterates the pressing need for substantial action to limit the magnitude of climate change and to prepare to adapt to its impacts. Read about the America’s Climate Choices series below.

1x1-Spacer America’s Climate Choices, which builds on the four previous America’s Climate Choices panel reports, reaffirms that the preponderance of scientific evidence points to human activities as the most likely cause for most of the global warming that has occurred during the last several decades. Furthermore, the risk of dangerous climate change impacts is growing with every ton of greenhouse gases emitted into the atmosphere.

America’s Climate Choices makes the case for implementing strong federal policies that establish coherent national goals and incentives, and that promote strong U.S. engagement in international-level response efforts.

America’s Climate Choices Panel Reports:

Advancing the Science of Climate Change
Adapting to the Impacts of Climate Change
Limiting the Magnitude of Climate Change
Informing an Effective Response to Climate Change

Understanding Earth's Deep Past
Understanding Earth’s Deep Past: Lessons for Our Climate Future
Prepublication Available

There is little dispute within the scientific community that humans are changing Earth’s climate on a decadal to century time-scale. By the end of this century, without a reduction in emissions, atmospheric CO2 is projected to increase to levels that Earth…
Details

Climate Stabilization Targets
Climate Stabilization Targets: Emissions, Concentrations, and Impacts Over Decades to Millennia

Emissions of carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels have ushered in a new epoch where human activities will largely determine the evolution of Earth’s climate. Because carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is long lived, it can effectively lock Earth…
Details

Ocean Acidification
Ocean Acidification: A National Strategy to Meet the Challenges of a Changing Ocean

The ocean has absorbed a significant portion of all human-made carbon dioxide emissions. This benefits human society by moderating the rate of climate change, but also causes unprecedented changes to ocean chemistry. Carbon dioxide taken up by the ocean…
Details

Verifying Greenhouse Gas Emissions
Verifying Greenhouse Gas Emissions: Methods to Support International Climate Agreements

The world’s nations are moving toward agreements that will bind us together in an effort to limit future greenhouse gas emissions. With such agreements will come the need for all nations to make accurate estimates of greenhouse gas emissions and to monitor…
Details

Monitoring Climate Change Impacts
Monitoring Climate Change Impacts: Metrics at the Intersection of the Human and Earth Systems

The stresses associated with climate change are expected to be felt keenly as human population grows to a projected 9 billion by the middle of this century, increasing the demand for resources and supporting infrastructure. Therefore, information to assess…
Details

Surface Temperature Reconstructions for the Last 2,000 Years
Surface Temperature Reconstructions for the Last 2,000 Years

In response to a request from Congress, Surface Temperature Reconstructions for the Last 2,000 Years assesses the state of scientific efforts to reconstruct surface temperature records for Earth during approximately the last 2,000 years and the…
Details

Assessment of Intraseasonal to Interannual Climate Prediction and Predictability
Assessment of Intraseasonal to Interannual Climate Prediction and Predictability

More accurate forecasts of climate conditions over time periods of weeks to a few years could help people plan agricultural activities, mitigate drought, and manage energy resources, among other activities; however, current forecast systems have limited…
Details

Understanding Climate's Influence on Human Evolution
Understanding Climate’s Influence on Human Evolution

The hominin fossil record documents a history of critical evolutionary events that have ultimately shaped and defined what it means to be human, including the origins of bipedalism; the emergence of our genus Homo; the first use of stone tools; increases in…
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Global Climate Change and Extreme Weather Events
Global Climate Change and Extreme Weather Events: Understanding the Contributions to Infectious Disease Emergence: Workshop Summary

Long before the “germ theory” of disease was described, late in the nineteenth century, humans knew that climatic conditions influence the appearance and spread of epidemic diseases. Ancient notions about the effects of weather and climate on disease remain…
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Evaluating Progress of the U.S. Climate Change Science Program
Evaluating Progress of the U.S. Climate Change Science Program: Methods and Preliminary Results

The U.S. Climate Change Science Program (CCSP) coordinates the efforts of 13 federal agencies to understand why climate is changing, to improve predictions about how it will change in the future, and to use that information to assess impacts on human systems…
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Science for Climate Change Decision-Making

Earlier this month the World Meteorological Organization announced that the year 2010 is almost certain to rank among the top three warmest years since the beginning of instrumental climate records in 1850. WMO’s data show that 2001-2010 is the warmest ten-year period on record. In November WMO reported that concentrations of the main greenhouse gases have reached their highest levels recorded since pre-industrial times.

This year, the National Research council produced a number of studies that directly address climate change and its effects. Advancing the Science of Climate Change reviews the current scientific evidence regarding climate change and examines the status of the nation’s scientific research efforts. It also describes the critical role that climate change science, broadly defined, can play in developing knowledge and tools to assist decision makers as they act to respond to climate change. The report explores seven cross-cutting research themes that should be included in the nation’s climate change research enterprise, and recommends a number of actions to advance the science of climate change—a science that includes and increasingly integrates across the physical, biological, social, health, and engineering sciences.

Advice on prudent short-term actions and long-term strategies to deal with the effects of climate change can be found in the companion reports Limiting the Magnitude of Future Climate Change, Adapting to the Impacts of Climate Change, and Informing an Effective Response to Climate Change.These titles and others from the Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate provide information and direction for research and decision making.

Advancing the Science of Climate Change Advancing the Science of Climate Change

Climate change is occurring, is caused largely by human activities, and poses significant risks for–and in many cases is already affecting–a broad range of human and natural systems. The compelling case for these conclusions is provided in Advancing the…
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Adapting to the Impacts of Climate Change Adapting to the Impacts of Climate Change

Across the United States, impacts of climate change are already evident. Some extreme weather events such as heat waves have become more frequent and intense, cold extremes have become less frequent, and patterns of rainfall are likely changing. The…
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Limiting the Magnitude of Future Climate Change Limiting the Magnitude of Future Climate Change

Climate change, driven by the increasing concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, poses serious, wide-ranging threats to human societies and natural ecosystems around the world. The largest overall source of greenhouse gas emissions is the burning…
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Informing an Effective Response to Climate Change Informing an Effective Response to Climate Change

Global climate change is one of America’s most significant long-term policy challenges. Human activity–especially the use of fossil fuels, industrial processes, livestock production, waste disposal, and land use change–is affecting global average…
Details

Climate Stabilization Targets Climate Stabilization Targets: Emissions, Concentrations, and Impacts over Decades to Millennia

Emissions of carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels have ushered in a new epoch where human activities will largely determine the evolution of Earth’s climate. Because carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is long lived, it can effectively lock the Earth…
Details

Verifying Greenhouse Gas Emissions Verifying Greenhouse Gas Emissions: Methods to Support International Climate Agreements

The world’s nations are moving toward agreements that will bind us together in an effort to limit future greenhouse gas emissions. With such agreements will come the need for all nations to make accurate estimates of greenhouse gas emissions and to monitor…
Details

Monitoring Climate Change Impacts Monitoring Climate Change Impacts: Metrics at the Intersection of the Human and Earth Systems

The stresses associated with climate change are expected to be felt keenly as human population grows to a projected 9 billion by the middle of this century, increasing the demand for resources and supporting infrastructure. Therefore, information to assess…
Details

Assessment of Intraseasonal to Interannual Climate Prediction and Predictability Assessment of Intraseasonal to Interannual Climate Prediction and Predictability

More accurate forecasts of climate conditions over time periods of weeks to a few years could help people plan agricultural activities, mitigate drought, and manage energy resources, amongst other activities; however, current forecast systems have limited…
Details

When Weather Matters When Weather Matters: Science and Service to Meet Critical Societal Needs

The past 15 years have seen marked progress in observing, understanding, and predicting weather. At the same time, the United States has failed to match or surpass progress in operational numerical weather prediction achieved by other nations and failed to…
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Global Sources of Local Pollution Global Sources of Local Pollution: An Assessment of Long-Range Transport of Key Air Pollutants to and from the United States

Recent advances in air pollution monitoring and modeling capabilities have made it possible to show that air pollution can be transported long distances and that adverse impacts of emitted pollutants cannot be confined to one country or even one continent….
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Uncertainty Management in Remote Sensing of Climate Data Uncertainty Management in Remote Sensing of Climate Data: Summary of a Workshop

Great advances have been made in our understanding of the climate system over the past few decades, and remotely sensed data have played a key role in supporting many of these advances. Improvements in satellites and in computational and data-handling techniques…
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Take 5: Top 5 Books on Earth and Environmental Science

The scientists and engineers on your list may not always be the easiest people to shop for during the holidays. It should come as no surprise that we have recommendations. Take five and finish your holiday shopping with our most-recommended books for earth scientists and environmental specialists.

Ocean Acidification Ocean Acidification: A National Strategy to Meet the Challenges of a Changing Ocean

The ocean has absorbed a significant portion of all human-made carbon dioxide emissions. This benefits human society by moderating the rate of climate change, but also causes unprecedented changes to ocean chemistry. Carbon dioxide taken up by the ocean…
Details

Informing Decisions in a Changing Climate Informing Decisions in a Changing Climate

Everyone–government agencies, private organizations, and individuals–is facing a changing climate: an environment in which it is no longer prudent to follow routines based on past climatic averages. State and local agencies in particular, as well as the…
Details

Surface Temperature Reconstructions for the Last 2,000 Years Surface Temperature Reconstructions for the Last 2,000 Years

In response to a request from Congress, Surface Temperature Reconstructions for the Last 2,000 Years assesses the state of scientific efforts to reconstruct surface temperature records for Earth during approximately the last 2,000 years and the…
Details

America's Energy Future America’s Energy Future: Technology and Transformation: Summary Edition

Energy production and use touch our lives in countless ways. We are reminded of the cost of energy every time we fill up at the gas pump, pay an electricity bill, or purchase an airline ticket. Energy use also has important indirect impacts, not all of which…
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Landscapes on the Edge Landscapes on the Edge: New Horizons for Research on Earth’s Surface

During geologic spans of time, Earth’s shifting tectonic plates, atmosphere, freezing water, thawing ice, flowing rivers, and evolving life have shaped Earth’s surface features. The resulting hills, mountains, valleys, and plains shelter ecosystems that…
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Eight New Books: Health Care, Mental Health Counseling, and more…

Another Monday brings us another roundup of the new books on the NAP website in the past week. As always, any books that have Free PDFs are labeled as such below.

As a side note, we set up a simple contact form here on Notes From NAP. If you have any suggestions or feedback, we’d love to hear it at notes.nap.edu/contact. Are these lists of the new publications on our site useful to you? Are there other features you’d like to see?  Fill out the form and let us know!

Featured Publication

Accounting for Health and Health Care: Approaches to Measuring the Sources and Costs of Their Improvement (prepublication)

It has become trite to observe that increases in health care costs have become unsustainable. How best for policy to address these increases, however, depends in part on the degree to which they represent increases in the real quantity of medical services as opposed to increased unit prices of existing services. And an even more fundamental question is the degree to which the increased spending actually has purchased improved health.

Accounting for Health and Health Care addresses both these issues. The government agencies responsible for measuring unit prices for medical services have taken steps in recent years that have greatly improved the accuracy of those measures. Nonetheless, this book has several recommendations aimed at further improving the price indices.

All New Publications This Week

Conducting Biosocial Surveys: Collecting, Storing, Accessing, and Protecting Biospecimens and Biodata (prepublication)

Waste Forms Technology and Performance: Interim Report (final)

Provision of Mental Health Counseling Services Under TRICARE (final)

Defending Planet Earth: Near-Earth Object Surveys and Hazard Mitigation Strategies: Final Report (final)

Understanding the Changing Planet: Strategic Directions for the Geographical Sciences (final)

NOAA’s Education Program: Review and Critique (final)

Evaluation of Biomarkers and Surrogate Endpoints in Chronic Disease (final)

Earth and Life Studies Video: Landscapes On The Edge

The Division on Earth and Life Studies (DELS) has debuted a new video this week. Landscapes On The Edge: New Horizons For Research on Earth’s Surface explores how Earth’s surface processes interacted to create the landscapes of today and how changing processes will shape Earth’s surface in coming years. Dr. Dorothy Merritts describes the research agenda laid out in the recent National Research Council report Landscapes on the Edge: New Horizons for Research on Earth’s Surface.

Read the full report here and subscribe to our videos on YouTube.

Nine new books: emergency care, obesity prevention, engineering innovation, and more

Nine new publications—both pre-publications and final versions—hit the website last week, and as usual, we’re rounding them up here. Stay tuned to Notes From NAP. In the next few weeks, we’ll be writing about some of our most popular publications in addition to these weekly lists of what’s new.

Featured Publication

Regionalizing Emergency Care: Workshop Summary (prepublication)

During medical emergencies, hospital staff and emergency medical services (EMS) providers, can face barriers in delivering the fastest and best possible care. Overcrowded emergency rooms cannot care for patients as quickly as necessary, and some may divert ambulances and turn away new patients outright. In many states, ambulance staff lacks the means to determine which hospitals can provide the best care to a patient. Given this absence of knowledge, they bring patients to the closest hospital. In addition, because emergency service providers from different companies compete with each other for patients, and emergency care legislation varies from state to state, it is difficult to establish the necessary local, interstate, and national communication and collaboration to create a more efficient system.

In 2006, the IOM recommended that the federal government implement a regionalized emergency care system to improve cooperation and overcome these challenges. In a regionalized system, local hospitals and EMS providers would coordinate their efforts so that patients would be brought to hospitals based on the hospitals’ capacity and expertise to best meet patients’ needs. In September 2009, three years after making these recommendations, the IOM held a workshop sponsored by the federal Emergency Care Coordination Center to assess the nation’s progress toward regionalizing emergency care. The workshop brought together policymakers and stakeholders, including nurses, EMS personnel, hospital administrators, and others involved in emergency care. Participants identified successes and shortcomings in previous regionalization efforts; examined the many factors involved in successfully implementing regionalization; and discussed future challenges to regionalizing emergency care. This document summarizes the workshop.

See the rest of this week’s new publications

New Video: A New Biology For The 21st Century

A great new video from the Division of Earth And Life Sciences joins our growing stable of videos on the National Academies YouTube channel.

The official description:

“Following the release of a National Academies report on the future of biological science, three of the study’s authors discuss its key findings. A New Biology for the 21st Century identifies how biology can help meet challenges like feeding a growing population, providing adequate health care, generating energy to meet increasing demands, and coping with global climate change. In this video, Dr Phillip Sharp, Dr. Anthony Janetos, and Dr. Keith Yamamoto explain the study’s goals and conclusions.”