Science & Policy

As the scientific dialogue on the degree of climate warming continues, the critical question surrounding potential global change has now become: How do we rise to the challenge of mitigating and adapting to substantial human interference of the climate system? PAOC researchers work in interdisciplinary teams to address the challenge of balancing worldwide economic growth with realistic and practical environmental stewardship.

800px-Shanghaiairpollutionsunset_0.jpg (Med)As part of its collaboration with other MIT research groups, PAOC maintains an active research partnership with MIT’s Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change. These activities cohere around a single guiding principal: science and policy have to work together. At the core of this underlying research strategy is cutting-edge research in the global human and earth systems, and the integration of this research through consideration of: policy/management, feedback and response of the various sub-systems, innovation and technology, and the probabilities that we can assign to our knowledge in these areas – all of these are necessary ingredients to quantifying climate risk. Among the questions we seek to answer are:

  • How effective and costly would specific policy measures be in alleviating climate change?
  • What are the advantages and risks of waiting for better scientific understanding of such change?
  • How will the oceanic and terrestrial uptake of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases be affected by changing climate?
  • What nations, regions, and economic sectors are most likely to be affected?

To tackle such issues requires our analysis and model-development facilities to be as close to the frontier of the scientific and socio-economic disciplines addressing them as possible, while maintaining the ability to perform the types of multiple calculations that are needed in order to understand both uncertainties in the human-climate system and implications of proposed policies.

Centers & Initiatives


The Climate Modeling Initiative is an open-source collaborative based at MIT which has developed a modeling infrastructure for the study of the atmosphere, ocean and climate of the Earth.

Center For Global Change Science

The Center for Global Change Science (CGCS) seeks to better understand the natural mechanisms in ocean, atmosphere and land systems that together control the Earth's climate, and to apply improved knowledge to problems of predicting climate changes. ...

MIT Joint Program On The Science and Policy of Global Change

As part of its collaboration with other MIT research groups, PAOC maintains an active research partnership with the Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change. The MIT Joint Program integrates natural and social science to produce analy...


Ron Prinn's Group

Professor Ron Prinn's group works on incorporating the chemistry, dynamics, and physics of the atmospheres of the Earth and other planets, and the chemical evolution of atmospheres. We are also the pioneers of estimating global emissions of non-CO2 g...

Noelle Selin's Group

Our group research focuses on using atmospheric chemistry and integrated modeling to inform decision-making strategies on air pollution and climate change. We are currently doing work in three main areas: Impacts of Air Pollution and Climate Change, ...

Chien Wang's Group

Chien Wang's group works on various issues related to atmospheric aerosols, clouds, and tropospheric chemistry, and studies the climate impacts of aerosols and anthropogenic pollutants.