On Friday, February 23, 2013, I attended a Symposium on “Climate Change,” organized by the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) and co-sponsored by the AAAS, NAS, NASA, NOAA and NSF. The symposium was held at the Cosmos Club in Washington, DC.
The JSPS goes back to 1932, when it was established with an imperial endowment as a core funding agency to support the advancement of science. Recently, it was converted to an independent administrative agency that supports research programs at universities, awards fellowships to young scientists, and supports international research activities.
The JSPS organizes symposia and workshops on a variety of topics. The theme of this symposium, “Climate Change,” was very timely. The scientific program was organized by Professor Akimasa Sumi (DSc Geophysics, 1985, University of Tokyo), Vice President, National Institute of Environmental Studies in Japan.
The talks were organized around three themes: Atmosphere (coordinated by Akimasa Suni), Water (coordinated by Taikan Oki, Institute of Industrial Science, University of Tokyo), and Land (coordinated by Jayant Sathaye, Lawrence Berkeley Lab), although the boundaries were not always strictly maintained. The talks covered a broad spectrum of issues, ranging from GCMs to hydroclimate variability, water, natural resources, land cover, extreme events, risks, adaptation, mitigation, and social change. Some speakers elaborated on themes presented in IPCC AR4, other speakers covered new territory, anticipating IPCC AR5. There was a strong emphasis on regional problems, mostly related to China, India, Brasil, and California. The program can be found here.
The symposium was attended by about 100 people, representing academia, government departments and agencies, professional societies, professional publications, and private companies. It was a day well spent; the presentations were informative, and I made several new contacts.
Let me conclude with a personal observation. I was surprised to see that all the speakers and organizers of this symposium were male, with one exception (the NSF Program Director, who gave the concluding remarks at the end of the symposium). If I did not know any better, I could have concluded that climate science is the domain of men. Please, pay more attention to diversity.