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Center for Ocean-Land-Atmosphere Studies.

Climate change: the news is flooded with stories related to this issue, from the raging debate over whether the Kyoto Protocol is the best way to control climate change, to human-interest stories about rising ocean and flood waters and other climatological changes that are affecting vast numbers of people in almost every region of the world. Behind these stories are an increasing number of scientific reports providing new support for the premise that climate change is not a myth but a reality. One of the entities contributing to the state of the knowledge on climate change is the Center for Ocean-Land-Atmosphere Studies (COLA), based at the Institute of Global Environment and Society in Calverton, Maryland.

Scientists from a number of fields have come together at this national center of excellence, which has received funding from the National Science Foundation, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. COLA scientists conduct basic science with the goal of developing methods to predict climate variability and gauge predictability' based on the intersection of data gathered--as the center's name says--from the oceans, land, and atmosphere. COLA has a website located at http://grads.iges.orcj/cola.html to help disseminate information on the work it is conducting.

COLA scientists work with colleagues both within the United States and abroad on collaborative projects, and are actively involved in a number of national and international research and planning projects. Descriptions of the individual research programs being conducted at COLA are found on the Research page. At present COLA has five different research programs: Dynamical Seasonal Predictability, El Nino and the Southern Oscillation, Climate Dynamics, Tropical Atlantic and Indian Oceans, and The Land Surface and Climate.

For its El Nino and the Southern Oscillation program, COLA uses state-of-the-art coupled circulation models in an effort to determine the predictability of the climate phenomena known as El Nino and La Nina. These phenomena, which are global in nature, have been linked to events such as drought, flooding, and increased or decreased hurricane activity. Within the Research section, visitors can link to in-depth information on COLA's Poseidon Ocean Model and Atmosphere-Biosphere General Circulation Model, including background documentation, user information, and downloadable files. Both models have evolved a great deal since their first incarnations into multilayer tools for modeling variability in complex ocean and atmosphere systems.

Physical processes on land and their relationship to climate on a number of scales is another area that COLA is exploring. Such processes can affect climatic responses to tropical sea surface temperature at both the local and regional levels. COLA is also focusing on how desertification and deforestation are impacting climate as well. Information on COLA's Global Soil Wetness Project and another project studying climate variability over Amazonia is also available within the Research section of the site.

The Publications portion of the site lists journal articles, technical reports, and conference papers on a breadth of topics, all prepared by COLA scientists. Although the site does not offer electronic copies of the journal articles or conference papers, most of the 165 technical reports can be downloaded for free.
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Title Annotation:ehp net
Author:Dooley, Erin E.
Publication:Environmental Health Perspectives
Date:Jun 1, 2004
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