Despite its name, the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies has in recent years concentrated on planet Earth–mainly, its widely used computer models used by scientists around the world to measure and predict the impact of greenhouse gases on climate. This week NASA announced that the Earth Institute-affiliated center will also play a leading role in a new initiative to search for life on other planets.
Goddard Institute for Space Studies
NASA has been at the forefront of climate science, launching satellites that take the pulse of Earth’s land, oceans and atmospheric systems. But the agency is increasingly vulnerable itself to the effects of a changing climate.
NASA has named Gavin A. Schmidt to head its Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS), an affiliate of Columbia University’s Earth Institute.
Currently serving as deputy director, Schmidt takes over from long-time director James E. Hansen, who retired last year to open a separate climate science and advocacy center at the Earth Institute.
Last year was one of the warmest on record, according to analyses of global temperature data by NASA and NOAA. Both federal agencies placed 2013 among the top 10 warmest years since records began in 1880, continuing a longer-term trend of global warming.
From warmer temperatures to natural disasters such as flooding and drought, changing patterns of climate are having billion-dollar impacts on our food-growing systems. But scientists are struggling to find ways to measure and predict what may happen in the future—and to translate that into policies to help feed a bulging world population.
A major new international prize for public communication on climate-change issues has been awarded to Gavin Schmidt of the Earth Institute-affiliated NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies. The $25,000 Climate Communications Prize was announced today by the American Geophysical Union (AGU), the world’s largest organization of earth and space scientists. Schmidt, an influential climate modeler who has authored more than… read more