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Founded within the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences in 1986, the Earth System Science Center (ESSC) maintains a mission to describe, model, and understand the Earth's climate system. ESSC is one of seven centers supported by the Earth & Environmental Systems Institute.

The climate can be viewed as a complex interacting set of components including the oceans, atmosphere, cryosphere, and biosphere. Within the ESSC, we are engaged in studies that aim to understand both these individual components, and the interactions between them.

Our approach involves:

 

Highlights...

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Hurricane Gonzalo in October 2014.  Image courtesy of NASA/Earth ObservatoryESSC predicts relatively inactive North Atlantic Hurricane Season in 2015
ESSC director Dr. Michael Mann, alumnus Michael Kozar, and researcher Sonya K. Miller have released the 2015 North Atlantic Hurricane Season forecast. The prediction is for 7.5 +/- 2.7 total named tropical cyclones, which corresponds to a range between 5 and 10 storms with a best estimate of 8 named storms.
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AMO Pattern (image credit Giorgiop2 (Own work) via Wikicommons)Interaction of ocean oscillations caused 'false pause' in global warming
ESSC researchers Dr. Byron Steinman, Dr. Michael Mann, and Sonya K. Miller have penned a paper in Science that ascribes the recent slowdown in the overall climate warming to oscillations in the oceans, specifically a downward trend in a multi-decadal cycle in the Pacific ocean.
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NASA awards $30M grant to Penn State to help answer climate questions
ESSC Scientist Dr. Ken Davis will lead a NASA-funded mission to measure and quanitfy carbon-related greenhouse gas sources and sinks in order to improve our ability to predict and manage climate changes. The project is named "Atmospheric Carbon and Transport-America".
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Fine-scale climate model projections predict malaria at local levels
Research by ESSC director Dr. Michael Mann and others has shown that downscaling of climate model projections can inform malaria risk at finer scales than the original model resolutions. This work was done in collaboration with others in entymology and international health research.
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PDF of the paper >>