Climate variability

Climate Variability and Change Focal Area

The CVC measures and models the dynamic systems of the Earth and their evolution over time.

The Climate Variability and Change (CCV) focus area supports research to better understand the general state of the Earth’s climate and the physical processes that affect it. The CVC supports focused, interdisciplinary research to better describe, understand, and predict the ways in which Earth’s ocean, atmosphere, land, and ice will interact and influence Earth’s climate over a wide range of scales. time. To do this, CVC supports the development of climate datasets and computer models that leverage observations from relevant NASA and non-NASA platforms, including satellites, aircraft, and ships. These datasets include observations of sea surface height, temperature and salinity; ocean currents and vector winds; extent and thickness of sea ice; glacial topography, movement and mass change; aerosol and cloud processes that affect the Earth’s energy balance; and more. Through this work, CVC hopes to better predict changes in Earth’s climate, from sub-seasonal time scales to multi-decadal time scales.

HVAC research questions

CVC answers the following general questions:

How to improve predictions of climate variability and change?

Satellite data

What is the role of atmospheric composition and clouds in the climate system?

Image of Antarctica

What changes are occurring in the mass and extent of the Earth’s ice cover?

earth picture

How does the global ocean circulation vary at various temporal and spatial scales in response to climate variations?

Satellite ocean data

How is global sea level affected by natural variability and human-induced changes in the Earth system, and how can we predict these changes?

HVAC related missions

The table below lists all land missions relevant to the Climate Variability and Change focus area in all phases.

CVC Mission Board.png

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Research programs

Cryospheric Science Program

The Cryospheric Science Program supports basic research on Earth’s land and sea ice to understand how and why it evolves. Additionally, the program seeks to understand how changes in polar ice will affect global climate, sea levels and the polar environment. Supported studies use space-based, aerial and other remote sensing techniques to understand the factors controlling the retreat (shrinkage) and advance (growth) of global land and sea ice and how polar ice interacts with the ocean, atmosphere, solid Earth and solar radiation. The program sponsors several polar initiatives designed to encourage an integrated approach to cryospheric science issues, such as the annual PARCA meeting, the NASA-ESA Snow on Sea Ice Initiative (NESOSI), and the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) meeting.

Modeling, analysis and prediction program

The MAP program supports Earth system modeling and data assimilation to simulate past and present conditions on Earth and help predict them in the future. These models examine all aspects of the Earth on various time scales, including changes that occur over days, months, and decades to hundreds of years. The program uses observations from satellites, aircraft, and ground-based instruments and feeds them into models to better understand the atmosphere, hydrosphere, biosphere, geosphere, and cryosphere as individual and integrated systems. This approach makes it possible to validate satellite observations and improve current models of the Earth system. WFP supports this work through both directed funding from the Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) Model E and the Global Modeling and Assimilation Office (GMAO) GEOS 5 models, as well as through annual grants under space research opportunities. and Earth Sciences (ROSES).

Physical Oceanography Program

The Physical Oceanography Program supports research on the role of the ocean in climate variability. The ocean modulates our planet’s climate and weather by storing and transporting large amounts of heat, water, moisture, and carbon dioxide, and by exchanging these elements with the atmosphere. This continuous exchange influences climate and weather patterns on the globe by releasing heat that fuels the overlying atmospheric circulation, aerosols that impact cloud cover, and humidity that determines the fate of the global hydrological cycle, and by absorbing and storing atmospheric carbon dioxide for millennia. . NASA’s Physical Oceanography Program supports fundamental research and analysis activities that enable the development of NASA’s current and future physical oceanography satellite missions and the scientific interpretation of the data derived therefrom.

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Scientific Meetings and Conferences

No meetings or conferences are scheduled at this time.

Research and Funding Opportunities

Solicited program items relevant to the CVC are made public through the NASA Research Opportunities in Space and Earth Sciences (ROSES) Research Announcements (NRA) on the Integrated System website NASA Requests and Proposals Review and Evaluation (NSPIRES). Past, open and future solicitations can be searched and viewed on NSPIRES.

2018/2019 solicitations of interest to the climate variability and change community:

NASA research resources, related programs and partnerships

Access NASA data related to climate variability and change and learn more about Center-level CVC programs and partnerships at the links below:

Policy and planning documents
Distributive Active Record Centers (DAACs)
NASA Center Programs
  • Ames Research Center Division of Earth Sciences, Global Ecosystems Research
  • Global Modeling and Assimilation Bureau (GMAO)
  • Goddard Institute for Space Studies, Climate Impacts Research Group
  • GISS, Global Climate Modeling Group
  • Goddard Space Flight Center, Climate Research Laboratory
  • GSFC, Laboratory of Cryospheric Sciences
  • Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Climate Science Center
  • JPL, Cryospheric Sciences Group
  • JPL, Ocean Circulation Group
  • JPL, Estimation of Ocean Circulation and Climate
  • Langley Science Branch, Climate and Weather Research
  • Marshall Space Flight Center, World Center for Hydrology and Climate
Interagency and international partnerships

Contact CVC

David Considine
Climate Variability and Change Focus Area Lead
Head of the Modeling, Analysis and Prediction program
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Nadya Vinogradova Shiffer
Physical Oceanography Program Manager
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Thorsten Markus
Head of the Cryospheric Sciences program
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Kaitlin Harbeck
Senior Cryospheric Science Support Scientist
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Jessica Hausman
Physical Oceanography Support Scientist
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