One area of discovery that’s been growing in recent years is the study of the Earth’s climate system and the changes it undergoes over time. This is known as climate research, a type of research that involves gathering information from a variety of sources including satellites, weather stations, historical records and computer models to observe climate patterns and make predictions about the future.
As our atmosphere continues to warm, severe climate events become more frequent and entire ecosystems are at risk of being destroyed. We need climate research to guide decisions and help us take steps at the local, state, national and international levels to counteract the effects of climate change. Government officials and decision makers rely on research and the insights of climate scientists to develop effective strategies. It’s lifesaving work.
Here are examples of climate research that has contributed significantly to our understanding of climate change:
Paleoclimate research uses evidence from the Earth like fossils and erosion patterns to model past climate conditions. By studying past climate changes, scientists identified natural climate cycles and determined the current rate of climate change is much faster than anything in the past 2,000 years.
Climate modeling uses simulation to illustrate the Earth's climate system and predict future climate change. Scientists use these models to project future climate scenarios and inform policymakers about the potential impacts of climate change.
Renewable energy research such as wind, solar and geothermal power has played a critical role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and mitigating the impacts of climate change. As a result, renewable energy sources have become increasingly affordable and accessible, leading to a rapid expansion in renewable energy capacity in recent years.
Alliant Energy partners with the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) on various renewable energy research projects. EPRI delivers independent thought leadership and industry expertise. It helps the energy sector detect issues, technology gaps and broader needs to address through effective, collaborative research and development programs.
Recently, Alliant Energy worked with EPRI to apply research on sustainability, scientific foundations for climate-related risks and climate resilience. The work provided both groups with a better understanding of the risks of potential pathways to net-zero carbon emissions.
Scientists continue to offer us more information and new ways to understand and see our world. Research like this is invaluable in the effort to save our planet, our ecosystems and ourselves from the worst effects of climate change.
Grant Barton is a Communications Partner with a passion for sustainability and eco-friendly city planning. He has a diverse background in engineering, politics and international communications and hopes to apply this experience when writing and breaking down complex topics related to Alliant Energy's Clean Energy Future plans.