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IEA Greenhouse Gas R&D Programme

67 JG imageScientists at the Laboratory of Dynamic Meteorology in Paris, in a recent article published in Nature (see, have stated that clouds are key to understanding climate change, but they also state that more realistic models of cloud formation are needed. To help solve the modelling issue they are reaching out, as it is their belief that climate science needs more mathematicians and physicists. “Talented physical scientists are needed to help resolve mysteries that are crucial to modelling the climate — and, potentially, saving the planet, such as the ways in which clouds are formed” says Sandrine Bony.

The group have been actively publishing what they see are the grand challenges in magazines such as Physics Today. They hope that by identifying the need to create more realistic climate simulations, this will appeal to physicists to choose Climate Science over Cosmology or Astrophysics.
Will this work? Whilst it seems physicists applaud the group’s effort to raise interest in climate science, it remains to be seen whether physics students will heed the call.

Paul Linden, a fluid-dynamics researcher at the University of Cambridge, UK says that;

“We offer courses in climate science and our students do recognise the importance of the field,”

However, he also is quoted as saying that classical subjects with a long history such as cosmology, are just more attractive, particularly at his university.

“Most physics students would rather study with someone like Stephen Hawking, who is a member of our faculty.”

Seems like it mjosirt be a tough road in some cases to attract the physicists to the cause of climate modelling, but let’s hope the group in Paris do succeed as this is an important area of research and a big gap that needs to be closed.