In the first issue of 2010, Nature [subscription] makes some predictions about the year ahead. What key events may come from the research world in 2010, asks Richard van Noorden? The answers range from a completed Neanderthal genome to the discovery of a potentially hospitable planet. Of the forecasts for 2010, the following should be of interest to readers of Climate Feedback:
Stopping species loss
The United Nations has proclaimed 2010 the International Year of Biodiversity, to culminate in an October summit in Nagoya, Japan, that hopes to establish strategies to prevent biodiversity loss — probably by setting out ways to try to halt the current decline by 2050. New ideas are sorely needed: this year, 120 countries will miss a goal set by a 2002 accord to achieve a ‘significant reduction’ in biodiversity loss
An Antarctic time machine
An ice core from Antarctica could provide the sort of year-by-year climate records already gathered in the Northern Hemisphere from Greenland. The West Antarctic Ice Sheet Divide Ice Core project is in the final stages of pulling up a 3.4-kilometre-long climate record that covers the past 40,000 years in enough detail to compare how the north and south polar regions warm up, or chill, in relation to one another.
Mexico City: the new Copenhagen
Starting in late November, Mexico will be the venue for the next major round of United Nations climate-policy wrangling, where an overdue formal agreement to succeed the Kyoto Protocol on climate change may finally be hammered out. Before then, attention will focus on the action that individual countries need to take on their commitments, on climate legislation in the United States and on international standards to monitor emissions and verify promised reductions.
Climate computing heats up
Expect increasingly realistic climate models from several recently launched supercomputers, including the Earth Simulator II in Yokohama, Japan, and Blizzard in Hamburg, Germany. As some of the world’s 40 most powerful computers, they will improve on two of the largest uncertainties of current simulations: resolving local eddies in ocean circulation, and providing long-term forecasts of cloud behaviour. Blizzard will also incorporate Earth’s carbon cycle into its climate models.
You can read Richard’s full list here.
What other breakthroughs and milestones would you list for climate science and policy in 2010? Send us your predictions for the year ahead in the comments section and I’ll post any interesting ones up top.