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Grand Challenges: Addressing Climate Challenges for a Sustainable Earth

Grant Type: Institutional Grant
Topic: Climate Change
Colleges Represented: CMNS, BSOS

Grand Challenges Grants Program


The Earth faces existential threats due to climate change. While media attention often focuses on global ramifications, communities in Maryland are already suffering the impacts of climate change. From multiple 100-year floods in Ellicott City to deadly high temperatures in Baltimore to the rising sea levels that threaten the ecology and economy of the Chesapeake Bay, it is clear that climate change is at our door whether we’re ready or not.

Monitoring, predicting, managing, and mitigating these impacts are major challenges that must be overcome in order to allow communities time to prepare for and respond to oncoming extreme events. Typically, these actions occur separately from one another, as researchers fail to involve the needs of stakeholders and stakeholders feel alienated from research. When researchers and decision-makers operate independently, there is a lost opportunity for synergistic, real solutions.

Addressing Climate Challenges for a Sustainable Earth unifies the expertise of UMD’s scientists with the immediate requirements of Maryland’s decision-makers to address the complexities of climate change. Working alongside stakeholders, researchers can assess regional needs and find innovative solutions rooted in both the real demands of the community as well as UMD’s groundbreaking research. Based in a research-to-impact philosophy, the initiative will develop outcomes that meaningfully support our region, state, nation, and world in addressing the societal impacts of climate change.

This initiative will also create impactful crosscutting experiential learning opportunities to engage students of all ages in research-related service. Students will get hands-on experience engaging with both faculty researchers and stakeholders in the state of Maryland, studying topics like climate change, greenhouse gas emissions; geospatial analysis, agriculture and pollution; and more.


PI: Ralph Ferraro (ESSIC), Interim Director, Earth Systems Science Interdisciplinary Center

Timothy Canty (CMNS), Associate Professor and Director, Marine Estuarine Environmental Sciences

James Farquhar (CMNS), Distinguished University Professor and Chair, Department of Geology

Tatiana Loboda (BSOS), Professor and Chair, Department of Geographical Sciences

Sumant Nigam (CMNS), Professor and Chair, Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Science, and Director, Maryland Mesonet

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